Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD, LD says we have a weight problem in this country -- but it's not what you think. The Nutrition Therapist, Educator and Activist joined us to explain – and to help us stop struggling with our weight for good!
Stop Battling Your Weight for Good:
We’ve got a weight problem in this country, but it’s not what people think. The weight loss paradigm is a failed paradigm. Bodies react negatively to food restriction and dietary restraint. The most consistent effect of weight loss at two years is weight gain (Mann et. al., 2007)
Change rooted in shame doesn’t last. The behaviors that many adopt in the name of weight loss are not sustainable long term. Most people approach change from all the wrong angles.
Weight loss attempts follow a predictable pattern.
It’s hard to take care of something you don’t like. We cannot hate ourselves into a version of ourselves that we love.
- Stop investing in a failed paradigm.
- De-center weight. Become aware of and reduce body checking behaviors.
- Reject the dieting mind and focus on weight-neutral self-care practices.
- Maintain the pleasure in eating and movement activities.
- Do things for and with your body as opposed to to and on your body.
Let this by your guiding question: If you woke up tomorrow and lived in a weight-inclusive, body positive world, where you never had to worry about being judged for how your body presents to the world, where all bodies were welcome, what would you want to do to take care of yourself?
Here are some of the “wrong angles” people use for change:
- Viewing the body as something that needs to be tightly controlled
- They try to make giant leaps instead of small, sustainable changes
- They approach change with rigidity and perfectionism
- Relying on will power
- Judging success and whether a plan is “working” by the number on the scale
- Believe that one meal or one day of eating has the power to heal or kill you. (People often shift to the screw it plan when they think they’ve blown it - the body benefits from what we do consistently and predictable over time.
- Looking to outside “experts” to tell you what, when and how much to eat
- Giving up pleasure in the name of health
- Approaching change with a dieting mind
Here are some examples of “body-checking” behaviors:
- stepping on the scale
- scrutinizing the body in the mirror (often naked)
- comparing your body to other people in the room
- feeling for bones/fat
- holding on to old clothes and trying them on to see how they fit
Here are examples of self-care practices:
- Setting boundaries at work and around other commitments
- Spending time with people
- Giving your body the consistent message that food is available (not getting too hungry)
- Moving your body ways that bring you joy
- Consistent sleep habits
- Finding time for play and rest
- Playing outdoors
How to maintain the pleasure in eating and movement activities --
Many people give up pleasure in the name of “health/weight” and when things are not enjoyable, they are not sustainable
When eating tastes good and it makes you feel better, you are far more likely to sustain dietary changes.
What forms of movement connect you to childhood play? What activities make you smile and feel joyful? Do those.
Examples of things that are for and with your body (good) and examples of on and to your body (not ideal):
For and with = compassionate self care practices, eating food that tastes good and makes you feel better, allowing pleasure to remain in your life, treating the body like the loyal, wise companion that it is. It’s hard to take care of something you don’t like.
To and on = treating the body like a machine that can be tightly controlled, seeing the body as an enemy, compensatory practices to make up for your so-called mistakes in eating, engaging in aggressive forms of movement that you dislike solely for the purpose of cosmetic fitness