The fixation on weight loss is a collective defense against so many things such as; presence, acceptance, connection, imperfection, and receiving messages from our bodies. People are often very perplexed, or even angry, when I explain I am weight inclusive, as the drive to lose weight is such an on-going fixation in so many lives. However, the focus on weight loss is shame inducing and shame based. I cannot work effectively in a broken system. Being weight inclusive opens up space to steer the conversation deeper, beyond the false refuge of weight loss, and this can bring up fear. I can hold plenty of space for those still yearning for the final elusive absolution that weight-based approaches offer. I have been there, the healing never came through focusing on my weight. I often sit with people who want to diet, to start another cleanse, to weigh themselves, to get their worth somewhere other than deep down inside of themselves.
So many of us at a very young and tender age were taught to focus on the size, shape, and weight of our body instead of on our true yearnings, our pains, our joys, or the important messages our bodies held for us. I have infinite compassion for the wall of shame that lives around this issue. Your wall might be thick, heavy, and solid or ready crumble. Either way, acknowledging it exists is the first step. When you can show your pain and shame to a trusted other, the wall will begin to come down. This may include navigating through the ways you have judged others, and yourself, based on body size…the ways perhaps you have applauded others in their efforts to control and disconnect from their bodies to get them to a certain size. As you release all of this, you may find the pain goes even deeper into an anguish as the lies of the weight loss culture become clearer and the horror of just how many are trapped in its grip. I still have anger and rage rise up around the harm being done daily. I am learning how to continue to be skillful with this powerful energy, to gracefully answer the call to bring awareness to weight stigma. I will continue to use my voice, compassion, and knowledge to offer weight inclusive services and counsel to those looking to step out of the shame cycle around weight. In addition to embracing Intuitive Eating, another big step in leaving the cycle is to stop making value-based judgements or comments on other bodies or your own. Firmly committing to these two practices:
Stop dieting for weight loss
Stop commenting on the body size of other people
This can change your life forever. This is a shift to a place with firm, compassionate boundaries where there is little room for weight stigma to flourish.
Truthfully, all of this can feel like such freedom on one hand and on the other a risky struggle to shed light on collective denial and pain. How do we loosen the weight focused shackles that have kept us imprisoned? We must keep telling our stories, using our voices, and fiercely advocating for weight inclusive care for everyone.
All we have is this moment, and in this moment, people of every size have right to be seen, heard, and accepted. All bodies are unequivocally deserving of care and respect.