Have you ever been pranked with a Chinese Finger Trap? If you’re not familiar with them, take a look at this sweet, short video of a little girl with her fingers stuck in one 💕.
Your fear of gaining weight or your desperation to lose it (or both) is just like this! It’s keeping you locked into diet mentality and a dysfunctional relationship with food. The irony is that in order to feel relaxed around food you need to let go of trying to lose weight.
When you believe that you have to control your food to control your weight, you become locked into a pattern of all-or-nothing thinking around food and obsessiveness about what, when and how much to eat. It feels like a scary rollercoaster ride, where you have periods of feeling safe and in control, followed by periods of feeling like you’re in free-fall (binge eating). When you feel safe and in control, you’re well aware that this is only temporary. The next plummet into the abyss is just around the corner and you know it.
It’s the furthest thing from peace.
What you’ve learned through diet culture, is that:
- your body isn’t acceptable unless it fits into a very narrow predefined size (which only about 4% of people naturally embody)
- you can control your body size with enough willpower and the right knowledge (which strangely changes as frequently as the weather)
This means that you keep striving for that ideal believing that not only is it possible, it’s also healthier for you (artificially suppressing your weight is not healthy for you, whatever your size).
The absurdity of it is that the more you try to control and force the outcome you want the more locked in you become.
Just like a Chinese Finger Trap.
And just like a Chinese Finger Trap, the way to get free is to lean in towards yourself, relax and stop struggling.
Yes, you heard me right.
The solution is to stop struggling and to stop trying to control your body
We are led to believe through diet culture that weight control is a simple matter of calories in versus calories out. But the reality is way more complex than that. There are over 100 genes involved in weight control. These genes control our ghrelin (hunger) and leptin (fullness) hormones. They control how our bodies process nutrients, how we use that energy, how our bodies adapt to periods of starvation (aka dieting) and overfeeding and so much more. Studies have shown that people eating exactly the same amount and types of food and doing exactly the same exercise have different weight outcomes.
Bottom line: there is very little of our weight outcome that is within our conscious control. Would you agree that there is no point trying to control something that isn’t within your long-term control?
Our bodies are intelligent. They can regulate themselves if we only let them. The diet culture rules we fall prey to rob us of our trust in our own bodies’ ability to do this.
Does this mean you’ll lose weight if you stop trying to control your weight?
Honestly, I don’t know.
Some bodies do. Some bodies don’t.
Because dieting (which is like a famine to the body) forces adaptations on our metabolisms to keep us alive. There are many factors which govern whether or not our metabolisms can reset to factory settings 😜: how many diets you’ve been on; how stringent they were, the duration of the diets, over what period of time, how old you were when you started dieting, how old you are now, whether you have other co-existing factors like illnesses, trauma history, your ability to cope with stress, self-care behaviours – plus things I/we don’t yet know have an impact.
It seems counter-intuitive
Leaning in, relaxing and stopping to fight with something that has caused so much pain in your life does indeed seem counter-intuitive. Our natural instinct is to fight or flee in the face of adversity.
And yet, it works.
When we can find the courage to trust our bodies to guide our eating decisions, everything calms down.
When we can relax a little and lean into what is arising for us such that we begin to explore what’s going on internally, we cultivate greater trust in ourselves and in our bodies to meet our needs (be they physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or social).
And after some time, you look back and wonder how on earth you got so tangled up in the first place because it all seems so much simpler now.
Truly, it’s possible.
Need help from an expert?
If you’ve had enough of being on and off a diet, feeling ashamed of your body and how you eat, binge eating or emotional overeating — you’ve come to the right place.
I’ll help you discover how to let go of all the food rules, trust your own body and reclaim your innate worthiness — so you can live your life unapologetically and focus on what really matters to you.