I feel really passionate about helping people to improve their relationship with their bodies and food. I believe that the wisdom to care for our body is within each of us, and through mindfulness practices we can tune-out the external experts and resume a practice of honoring our body. I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.
One sunny day I was driving around, bopping to the radio, thinking about the new mindfulness workshop I’m facilitating in the coming weeks. On comes a commercial for a different workshop on mindfulness—but with a few noticeable differences. While a mindfulness practice can help us to quiet the external noise and focus on turning inward--- theirs came with a promise to “finally help you achieve your weight loss goals.”
“MOTHER EFFER!” I shout as I pound my hands on the steering wheel. “Stop co-opting our wellbeing with your weight loss bullshit!”
It’s tempting to hop on that train of dangling the ever-elusive weight loss carrot in front of unsuspecting folx and make an easy buck. Certainly, my pocket books would be much fuller if I took this approach. But at what point does the pursuit of a buck stop and human-kind resume?
Research shows that dieting does not work. On a level—we all know this. Most of us have ridden the diet roller coaster with our weight cycling up and down and up again. We feel repeatedly disheartened and blame ourselves for this so-called failure. (You’re NOT a failure---the diet is) I invite you to pay attention to who is making money from this shame. Many moons ago, a teacher of mine posed the question: “Are you a healer, or are you a dealer?” It’s stuck with me ever since. Think about it. Asking that simple question may help cut through the BS much quicker.
In a world filled with apparent “dealers” I find myself sprinting to stay ahead of the lingo so I can describe what I do in a more authentic way. Whether its mindfulness, intuitive eating, well-being, life-enhancing movement practices, or all forms of self-care – the diet industry is using these terms, once associated with wellness and healing, to market a quick way to shed pounds.
Anything that is based in control, elimination, or restriction, is a diet---no matter what it’s called. If the purpose is to control the size of your body (i.e., weight loss)---it’s a diet. If it’s a lifestyle change that eliminates foods X, Y and Z---it’s a diet. If it ever includes the words “cheat day” or involves counting---it’s a diet.
My hope for you is this: a reprieve from dieting and marketing that makes you feel “less than” or not worthy. I hope you can turn inward to your own inherent wisdom and tune out the diet talk of external “experts”. You can start today by listening to your body. What FEELS right? Which foods nourish you? What relationships fulfill you? What types of movement enhance your life? Do those.
I know it sounds scary, but be brave dear-hearts. I’ve got your back.
RanDee Anshutz is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Massage Therapist practicing in Bend, Oregon. As a Health at Every Size (HAES) provider she strives to help EVERYONE in EVERY BODY achieve optimal health.