Of Course It’s OK that You Want to Lose Weight'Health At Every Size® is not anti-weight loss, it is anti-pursuit of weight loss.' —@bodypositivephd Click To Tweet
Earlier this week I attended a webinar hosted by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) titled “When Your Client Says, ‘But I Need to Lose Weight!’” which still remains the #1 reason people see dietitians, including dietitians who have proclaimed for years and years that they use a weight-neutral, body positive, Health At Every Size® approach. (I think the word “diet” in dietitian throws people off.)
One of the key takeaways for me from this webinar was that I was making a common mistake that many healthcare practitioners make when they first adopt this philosophy.
I’ve been so pumped about discovering my truth and uplifted by all the support I have received that I blissfully ignored that weight stigma and the thin ideal are still the dominant voices. I thought that everyone would see what I saw when it comes to how harmful dieting and pursuing weight loss can be.
I was wrong.
Instead, I made people feel like I was ignoring their very real and very valid desire to lose weight. I made people feel like I was turning them away, that I was no longer going to help them. I made people feel dismissed, abandoned, unheard, confused and guilty.
And for that, I deeply and sincerely apologize.
There’s Nothing Wrong with Wanting to Lose Weight
It’s completely normal to want to lose weight. In fact, about half of us do. I’m sure even more of us want to change something about our body, with or without a change in the number on the scale.
The reality is, this desire doesn’t just come about in a vacuum. People don’t just decide that they want to be a certain weight, or look a certain way, at random.
“You want something deeper. You really want what you think weight loss will bring to your life.”
Perhaps it’s preventing or managing an illness. Returning to a weight that you associate with being happier, more energetic. Perhaps you want happiness, confidence, love, or just to not feel like people are staring at you wherever you go.
Tell Me More…
I accidentally made this space feel like it’s about “trying to lose weight vs. not trying to lose weight”, when in fact, we share the same goal: improving your health and wellness.
One of the phrases that drives my practice is, “Curiosity, not judgment.” I made you feel like I was judging you for wanting to lose weight, when I should’ve sat back and gotten curious—what is really motivating that desire? What is your story?What is really motivating your desire to lose #weight? #curiositynotjudgment Click To Tweet
Although I disagree that weight loss can bring you love, happiness, energy, etc. (and even if it did, the baggage that comes with trying to lose weight is not worth it), I would be happy to support you in achieving your desires in other ways.
While you may think all dietitians do is tell you what to eat, if your concerns have anything to do with your relationship with food and eating, it’s our job to help you. Sometimes it is about changing what, how much, when or how you eat. Sometimes it is about changing the way you think about food, eating, nutrition, health and your body. It can even be about connecting you with other resources or professionals, or simply creating a safe space for you to talk.
Either way, I am here for you.