miércoles, 4 de enero de 2012

When Good Friends do Bad Diets

Greetings from Disney World! If you have sent me an e-mail, facebook, twitter, or have a comment in moderation I’m very sorry – there was an issue with the internet in my hotel and I’ve been offline for over 24 hours. I didn’t think I was going to make it- it was touch and go there for awhile- but never fear, it’s solved now and I’ll catch up somehow. I talked a bit about my New Years Resolution Revelations a couple of days ago, today I want to talk about what to do when our friends make resolutions that don’t make sense to us.
I have a lot friends who are on diets. Friends who read my blog and tell me how much they like what I say. Friends who are smart and good at math. Friends who read the research on dieting (for a bunch of research you can check out this post.) I have friends on food restriction diets, reconstituted soy protein diets, weight watchers, Atkins etc. One of my Size Acceptance friends asked me if it bothers me.
Not at all.
We hear a lot about taking the road less traveled by - which is the one I’ve decided to take. You can also take the one that is (currently) most traveled by – and that, too, will make all the difference. Either way it’s always our choice.
I’ve talked in this blog about my take on inspiration. You can read the full post here – basically I believe that you can never really inspire or empower anyone. All that I think any of us can do is present an option (or embody an option) and people can choose to walk toward it or away from it – in essence we can provide the stimuli but then people do the hard work of inspiring/empowering themselves. So all I ever want to do is present an option. I’m not a fan of telling people that I think their dieting choice is wrong, because I don’t find it appropriate for other people to do that to me. Size Acceptance is a different thing to be – it’s a civil rights issue and to me civil rights are up for debate or a vote – every body deserves basic human respect, and basic human respect means all humans – not just the humans who behave the way you think they should. The Health at Every Size option, however, is not a civil rights issues. It is a health practice that people can take or leave.
I do think it’s important that people have access to the facts. If they have the ability to find out that dieting gives them only a 5% chance of being thinner (and that there is no guarantee that better health will accompany that thinness) and that there is a 95% chance that they will end up less healthy and as heavy or heavier than when they started, and if they still think that intentional weight loss is a good idea, then that’s their business and I support their choice – not because I think it’s smart or makes sense, but because it’s not my job to make that choice for other people I expect my choice to practice HAES to be respected whether or not other people think it’s smart or makes sense.
In the spirit of presenting an option (since this is my blog), I ditched the diet and weight loss mentality and started to live from a Health at Every Size perspective (which is, in a nutshell, focusing on healthy behavior and not on weight) and, based on my experience, here is my option:
  • You could love yourself, right now, as you are.
  • Your relationship with your body could be healed. You could start being grateful to your body for everything it does instead of buying into a bunch of marketing designed to make you feel like that you are the wrong shape and size and that you are flawed and unattractive.
  • You could reject the diet industry and the message that makes them $60,000,000,000 a year and decide to pursue health through healthy behaviors, and stop worrying about what shape or size it comes in.
  • You could stop confusing health and weight, and you could stop trying to solve health problems with body size interventions.
  • You could take the time to learn what food and drink and movement and how much you and your body like (by trial and error if necessary) instead of allowing someone else (Jenny Craig?) to decide that for you.
  • You could decide that you are the only person who gets decides how you feel about yourself. It’s called SELF-esteem. Not my-mom-esteem, or my-boss-esteem…
  • You could love yourself right now. Right. This. Second.
  • You could decide that there is nothing in the world that can stop you from loving yourself and your body because that’s what you choose to do and because you are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
That’s my option. It’s not easy at first – or at least it wasn’t for me. It’s been a journey I have found it richly worth it, in terms of both my physical and mental health. You could try it out and if you don’t like it, you could go back – you could choose something else. I’m not about making other people’s choices for them. My choices have lead to a place where I have health, happiness and where I love my body, and I love how I look naked and I am happy. I hope everyone else’s choices get them exactly where they want to go.
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