Escaping from the desire for weight loss may sound frightening. Because as we discussed in part 1 of this post (you can find that here), diet culture and weight loss is big business and they do not have our best interest in mind. They are out for themselves and no good comes from them. I believe they are evil in living color.
But escaping diet culture can be hard. I won’t sugar coat anything because you deserve honesty. It can be a long and arduous process. I promise you though that it’s worth it in the long run.
Escaping diet culture and unshakable desires for weight loss usually starts with stepping through the door of accepting your current body size. If that sounds hard and counterintuitive to the way you’ve been living everyday for possibly a very long time, then you have a good grasp of what I’m asking you to do.
There are three first steps you can take to begin the process of stepping away from this desire for weight loss.
First up, to escape the desire for weight loss, you need to learn the concept of size diversity.
Size diversity is based on the same principles as all diversity in humans. It’s as real and scientifically valid as the diversity of skin color because it’s about our genetics. Just like our skin color varies and is similar to our parents and ancestors, so is our size. Our genetics to a great extent determine how tall we will be, how wide our shoulders will be, how round or oval or big or small our heads will be.
Your genetics also dictate what balance looks like in YOUR body. Hint: It’s different from everyone else. Genetics balance how much fat you carry and where you carry it. Genetics determines your metabolism. Both fat stores and metabolism impact hormone levels. Keeping hormones in balance is crucial for emotional stability and mental focus. And your genetics are what keeps all this in balance and fine tuned. I’m oversimplifying, but you get the idea. Basically, you are the way you are because this is the way God made you.
I hope you are grasping the concept that you are YOU. You are not supposed to be someone else. God made you YOU. You are never going to be the same size and shape as anyone else.
I want you to take a few minutes and think about that. Sit and noodle on it for a little while. Pray about it. Ask God why He gave you THIS body. Doing this has perhaps been one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Because He helped me to see how MY body, in all its strengths and weaknesses, is so helpful for me in my journey.
Next, if you want to escape the desire for weight loss, you need to raise your level of awareness.
You raise your awareness about your desire for weight loss. You raise your awareness of diet culture and all the impacts it is having on you. Once you’re aware of these two things, you won’t be able to ever be unaware of them again. Raising your awareness means that you’ll start to notice diet culture and weight stigma showing up in the world around you. The more you notice, the more opportunities you have to slow down and make a conscious choice about moving forward.
The question I had and one I’m frequently asked is “how do I go about increasing my awareness?” When I first started my journey to unlearn diet culture, I wasn’t leaning on anyone but myself. And it was hard. Harder than it needed to be. If I could go back and have a do-over, I’d immediately bring God into it.
So I guess my short answer is that I suggest you pray. Ask God to show you where diet culture is showing up in your life. Ask Him to show you how it’s impacting your thinking and your feelings. And ask Him to alert you to your thoughts and desires about weight loss. I’m going to tell you though, the devil may be invisible but he’s real. And he will make these thoughts sneaky and hard to find. Keep searching and keep praying.When you have God on your side, you are armed with battle gear even the devil can’t overcome.
Finally, you need to arm yourself with battle gear.
New understanding of your body design, awareness of weight loss desires, and cognizance of the presence of diet culture messaging is great, but it’s not enough. Without some sort of defense you will lose this battle. So the third step I want you to take is to arm yourself with His word.
Find scripture that resonates with you, empowers you, and reminds you that you’re never alone in any of this. I have included a few of my favorite below, but I encourage you to step into your Bible and spend some time there learning about how God has been there for others when they’ve been faced with struggles and battles of their own. Between Job, David, Moses and many others, there are ample examples of people who suffered and struggled, but they all teach us to not stay stuck in our struggle. (12) They teach us to persevere and praise God because He is good and faithful. I pray you take strength from their stories.
So what will YOU do? Will you continue to buy into diet culture and long for weight loss or will you shake your head no, choose to believe differently, and ask God for His divine guidance as you venture on this journey towards food freedom and making peace with the body He designed just for you? I’d love it if you would share a prayer in the comments.