Rejecting the Diet Mentality is the first of the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, and arguably the most important and most difficult one to adopt in the journey to becoming an intuitive eater. We are constantly surrounded by oft well-intentioned messages that teach us that thinner is better, or that our weight is a proxy of our health or lifestyle habits. It’s no surprise then, that many intuitive eating and Health At Every Size practitioners invest a lot of time and energy in breaking down these myths.
But what happens after you finally get it? What if you see that weight loss is statistically improbable, that dieting is associated with weight gain and that it’s crucial to let go of the weight loss dream in order to truly heal? What if you’re truly ready to focus on your health, and not the number on the scale, the measuring tape or the clothing tag?
The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating are written loosely in order – the first principle/step is to reject the diet mentality, and adding joyful movement and gentle nutrition are the last principles/steps, once people have given themselves unconditional permission to eat, learned to honour their hunger, made peace with all foods and eat in a way that satisfies them. The specifics of the in-between generally varies from person-to-person, depending on their individual needs. Working with a dietitian or therapist specializing in intuitive eating can help facilitate the journey of listening to your body’s needs and finding pleasure and satisfaction from eating again.
If you’re looking for a little extra guidance, however, I would point you toward Principle #8: Respect Your Body.
Why Body Respect and Not Body Love?
The idea of loving your body can seem daunting and unreachable when there are literally entire industries that are sustained by our insecurities and hatred towards our bodies. It also doesn’t help that the term “body positivity” or #bopo has often been hijacked by people who are conventionally beautiful, marginalizing the voices of those who aren’t. This often leaves the concept of body love feeling fake, empty and focused on appearance. Instead, I like starting with respect, trust and acceptance – to me, it feels more moderate and substantial.It's hard to jump from body hate to body love. Start with respect, trust and acceptance. Click To Tweet
What Does It Look Like to Respect My Body?
If you are ready to take the next step in your intuitive eating journey, I invite you to turn around and ask yourself that exact question. Often when we are so caught up trying to follow different diets and calorie counts, we lose what really matters when it comes to health – taking care of us.
Several weeks ago, I did a presentation on Intuitive Eating and asked the group to brainstorm ways to respect their body. I was blown away by the number and diversity of responses. The group mentioned taking care of physical health, through nourishment, movement and sleep, as well as taking care of mental health, through meditation and social interaction. The group also talked about shutting out voices that disrespect the body, like unfollowing certain accounts on social media and turning around negative self-talk with gratitude for what our bodies do for us.
So, what does it look like to respect your body? To trust it? Accept it?
I recently listened to a presentation by registered dietitian and Intuitive Eating co-author Elyse Resch, who said, “I believe that you have all the internal wisdom within you to know how to eat. It’s just my job to help you trust that.”
So, what’s the next step for you?