Desiring a smaller body even though we’re working on recovery, or we’re trying to stop dieting, or trying to do Intuitive Eating is a very real dilemma we can find ourselves in.
It brings up all sorts of struggles;
“Am I doing this right?”
“I’m not supposed to want this anymore, but I do still want a smaller body.”
“Is this the right thing for me?”
“Can I keep going if I want to weigh less?”
Freedom from the oppression of dieting is about getting clear on the desire to have a smaller body or weigh less.
What drives the desire for a smaller body?
Wanting a smaller body is less about what you think your body can’t do at a certain weight and more about dealing with a culture that doesn’t really care about the natural diversity of humans.
Diversity in regards to size, ability, gender, race, sexuality, what we say we value and what we actually show we value, and how wounded most of us are by those various forms of oppression.
The promise of less pain
How many times have we seen ads like; “Go from tired and frumpy to happy and confident with XYZ plan/pill/potion, etc?”
Of course, we want to feel good and energized, to escape our boredom and not be in pain (physically, mentally and emotionally).
Of course, we want to feel accepted and loved and valued by others.
When we don’t have those things and a very well marketed diet or lifestyle plan comes along promising to deliver those transformations in the form of a smaller body, it can be very attractive.
It’s a normalized way to connect and fit in with others
When you’re doing the dieting things to get a smaller body like everyone else, you’ve got something to bond and connect over. You’ve got things you can easily talk about.
So, when people (friends, colleagues, family) are talking about their diets or their food or whatever, it’s really hard to not want to get sucked into all of that, or not believe that you should be doing it too, just because they are.
We want to avoid conflict
If you were to trust your body and get to know it and yourself, your courage is going to trigger other people’s fear of having not yet done the same. It will make others feel guilty because people DO know deep down that judging others is wrong.
How to be with the desire for a smaller body
How can you be with the desire for a smaller body and still stay true to your recovery and healing and connection with yourself?
Consider the costs
You can take a step out for a second and consider that maybe all these people dieting are not right. That their joy, or feeling lighter, or ‘healthier’ doesn’t come without costs. There’s no real contentment in always striving for a smaller body. Just drive and hypervigilance and obsession.
Are they costs you’re willing to pay?
Do some reflection
Here are some questions to ask yourself and reflect on:
- Is what they’re doing (my mom, my aunt, my friend, my team at work) actually supportive for me?
- What is it that I feel is going to happen if I stop pursuing weight loss?
- What does that mean about me?
- What is the desire for a smaller body trying to contain?
Be curious and open that it’s not just about weighing less so you don’t have to buy new clothes. Or that it’s easier in a lot of ways to “fit in”.
Noting that of course, it IS harder in a larger body to have access to clothes, to utilize resources, chairs, transportation and to be FULLY SEEN as a HUMAN. That is fully grieved by me and one of the reasons I speak out about these biases.
If you were to burn the bridge of trying to purposefully lose weight or avoid your more natural weight, you WILL find that healing and restoring the scared parts that used weight and eating as a way to ground yourself is much easier.
That’s uncomfortable. But you’re up for it. Keep your eyes on true health, which is the care you give yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Not the faux health of using a certain body size to try to earn the world’s approval or avoid the wounds of being human.
Just start where you are.
With much compassion and love,
If you have a situation that all the reading, waiting and figuring it out yourself hasn’t fixed, let’s set up a free clarity call.
P.S. Enjoy the video below where I talk more about slowing down and getting clear on the desire to weigh less.