Updated: Jun 3
Stepping away from the diet culture that has plagued women (and some men, of course) and caused incredible physical and psychological damage is GOOD.
It's good as long as a much needed mental switch occurs along with it, not just the grasping of the concept.
To embrace the theory that dieting inevitably causes more harm than good is the first step, but there needs to be follow through.
Inner work needs to be done to change the person who has decided to embrace the concept.
Otherwise, it is still the person who looked to diets as the answer.
They will then look to the Undiet for the answer, too.
This will show up as jumping onto, with great gusto and good intentions, the culturally popular "Love Your Body", or "Intuitive Eating", or "Size Doesn't Matter" or some kind of combination of these examples.
And for sure embracing the concept of Undieting is a first step; and a noble, difficult shift in thought!
But if we think we can go from decades of dieting, and therefore thinking there is something wrong with the way we look, to suddenly accepting let alone loving our body.....not a chance without some deep inner work.
If we think we can suddenly eat intuitively after decades of looking to a popular fad diet for the answers to how, when, what and how much to eat...not a chance again.
If the deep inner work to make the appropriate shifts and growth isn't done, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Failure with the same taste of failing at a yet another diet.
Even though it is the Undiet.
Because it is still is a diet in our mind.
It is still looking to a "movement", "concept", "plan" for the solution to make us feel worthy, sexy, accepted, beautiful, confident, whole.
It is a pendulum swing in theory, but not in how we feel about ourselves or where the solution lies.
And, to make matters worse, the pressure is on to "Love Your Body" all the time.
No matter what you are wearing, eating, feeling, doing.
Ridiculous! How can we be expected to do that?!
And with "Intuitive Eating" the pressure is on for your body to cue you to only eat healthy, or else there is something seriously wrong with you!
You are doing Intuitive Eating wrong.
You can't tell me that if your body is asking you to eat a bag of Doritos and a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream for dinner, and then maybe a glass of wine or two later that evening that you'll not feel pangs of guilt and shame.
Not to mention feeling super shitty physically too!
It is the equivalent of doing a diet, following all the rules and regulations, and gaining 3 pounds. It is the same feeling of letting yourself down, screwing it up. Again.
But hey! If your body tells you to eat a kale salad with a shot of wheatgrass juice (or whatever is trending in the super food world), you are doing it right!
You will feel that same 'high' you get when you step on the scale and lose 5 pounds from dieting.
It is the same mentality showing up in what is now a much more socially accepted fashion.
So the whole well intentioned, "fuck the diet industry" movement backfires miserably.
The only way it will work - as it should and will - is if you insert the word UNCONDITIONAL before the word LOVE.
Body love, intuitive eating and not concerning yourself with your size or the size of others is fantastic and it will happen if and only if you love yourself and your body unconditionally.
Until you do, no Diet or Undiet will work in your favour.
Exploring and then owning unconditional love for your body is the deep inner work that will bring you your answers.
It's a tough and long process (for most of us).
But the payoff is unbelievable!
To unconditionally love your body is to acknowledge its worth.
It is seeing it as something you respect and care for, seeing it as worthy of this respect and care.
It allows you to find those sought after feelings of safety and belonging within yourself.
It's like coming home and really feeling: "This is home."
However, this doesn't mean you're in love with your body all the time!
Think about someone in your life that you feel you love unconditionally: a family member, a close friend...or if humans don't do it for you: a beloved pet.
Even though you love them so much and with no conditions (meaning you accept them wholly), you will still snap at them, get annoyed with something they are doing or disagree with something they are saying.
They don't need to be perfect (whatever that is in your eyes) in order to earn your love, right?
You never lose sight of their WORTHINESS of your love and respect.
This will prompt you to forgive quicker, show more compassion towards them, want to right any wrong you may have done towards them, and attempt to understand them better.
You don't judge or criticize. Or if you do, you apologize for doing so.
You want the very best for them.
You want to work with them towards developing a healthy and loving relationship.
You can do this with your body, too.
You have to.
You will then approach all your eating, exercising, and resting decisions based in love and respect.
If you do something that you consider a fuck up, you will be willing to try and understand why and forgive yourself sooner.
And when you find yourself not really liking your body at any given time (because of course that will happen) or maybe criticizing it or judging it - you will still see its WORTHINESS.
And you will forgive yourself for it, and understand why you are doing it, and make attempts to repair, learn from, and build your relationship for the better.
This underlying, unconditional love is a commitment, not just a feeling.
It's a solid decision. You are committed to the work of building an ongoing, ever changing, forever growing relationship filled with love and respect.
It is you making the conscious decision to remind yourself that you want to, and have decided to, see your body's worthiness of your attention and care.
Then, making the healthier decisions will come naturally.
You are going to WANT to eat better, move better, sleep better, work better, relationship better - everything better!
Because you love your body as you do a beloved person or animal in you life.
You want what is best :)
Kudos for seeing the Diet Industry for what it is - total bullshit.
Now be sure that you are not applying the same version of the you (the one who looked for the solution from the outside) to the Undiet Industry!
The next step is to work on seeing your worth.
This doesn't mean you suddenly don't want to be thinner or fitter, or that you don't want to change some eating habits that you see as not so good.
It's okay to want to look better, whatever that is to you! That has nothing to do with your worthiness of your own love and respect.
We need to separate these two things.
This also doesn't mean that you don't need to apply some discipline and order to your meal planning and choices. You may have to. Switching shit up and making some potentially big changes can be good and productive!
What it does mean is that even though you aren't happy with the way you look won't make you love yourself less.
You can be unsatisfied with the way you look and still love yourself. Yep.
It's all good. They aren't the same thing.
I love my body. I have such great respect for it. I marvel at all it is capable of doing! And, for the most part, I take good care of it.
But I see things when I look in the mirror that I definitely don't like!
Things that I want to work on. Maybe. Some days yes, some days no!
It's just not that big of a deal anymore. Because I am safe and loved and comforted. By me.
And I am respected and cared for by me, so I know I won't "fall off the deep end" and become so unhealthy that I can hardly walk or take care of myself, or simply not give a shit about my appearance anymore. We all want to look a certain way and that is normal and just fine. We just cannot base our worthiness on it.
When you show up to life in this way, you will then make all the decisions necessary to get to where and how you wanted to be in the first place (back when you were looking to an outer concept for the answer).
The answer is in YOU.
It is always in YOU! The work is challenging to be sure, and most of the time we need a trusted, supportive guide to get us through some of the real tough shit.
The payoff is incredible.
Imagine being in a peaceful relationship with your body.
One full of harmonious love and respect.
You can do it!
First: Choose the one person (or pet!) that you know you love unconditionally. (If you don't have anyone, please contact me because I can help with that big time!)
Second: The next time you hear your inner voice putting yourself down for looking a certain way ask yourself: "Would I talk to my beloved in such a way? Would I be so mean, critical and judgemental?"
Third: Consider what you would say to that person or pet if they looked a way you didn't approve of. Chances are you wouldn't utter a word. Chances are you would just continue to love them.
Fourth: Make the commitment to feeling that way about your body.
Fifth: Stop the shitty self talk.
Sixth: Know that you want to change for the better and that the way towards that is through respectful, gentle, loving guidance. Not bullying, mean self talk.
Seventh: Keep repeating steps one through six until it sticks. You will feel the switch, the shift. It will happen if you keep at it.
Then - and only then, decide what your behaviour is going to be.
Once you are in the embrace of unconditional self love, go forth and create the new you!
If, on any given day, you choose a healthier behaviour that brings you closer to your next best version you will cheer yourself on as you would your beloved.
If it isn't so great a choice, you will shine some compassion and care your way. You will look for the understanding of why and be committed to helping get there next time.
And so it goes. Never all "good", never all "bad".
All of it is based in love and respect.
Either way, you are being an awesome, caring human being to the most important person in your life: YOU!