I’ve heard this so many times: “Your talk of normal eating and body love is all good and fine — but I need to lose weight.”
This is what I have to say to you: You don’t.
Even if you’ve just gained lots of weight. Even if you’re super uncomfortable in your body. Even if you believe that your extra weight is causing misery and pain, you don’t need to lose weight.
You want to lose weight. You do not need to lose weight.
There is a big difference there, and there is a lot of peace that can come with realizing this difference.
Here are seven myths that the diet industry perpetuates that make you feel like you need to lose weight:
1. Higher weight is bad for my health.
This is a huge one — We take this as an indisputable truth.
But it’s just not true. Habits and health are independent of weight. You can improve your health and not lose a pound. You can lose weight and your health can get worse. Weight and health problems are more correlation than causation.
2. Overweight and obese people die earlier.
False, they have longer life expectancies.
3. I’ll be healthy once I lose weight.
I’ve covered this above, but just to give a personal anecdote: I was diagnosed with a weight-caused hormonal problem. I lost weight and it didn’t help shit. Weight was the scapegoat cause, but I have shown myself now that the health problem is independent of my weight.
4. No one will find me attractive if I gain weight.
I know why that feels true. The media tells you that incessantly. We believe it. It feels like a truth.
It’s not. People are attracted to all body types. There are so many big ladies and men who are happily dating, in relationships, and in marriages, all with healthy sex lives. It’s just not true.
5. I won’t like myself if I gain weight.
Yeah, we are taught that. But it’s fully learned. Therefore, it can be fully unlearned. You can love, accept, and appreciate yourself and your body now, independent of your weight.
6. I can’t do the things I want if I gain weight.
Eat? False. Dance? False. Model? False. Act? False. Start a successful business? False. Be happily married? False. Relax? False. Be healthy? False (see above).
The only thing you can’t be if you aren’t skinny, is skinny.
Problem is, we falsely believe that being skinny will make us happy. That that’s what we really want…
7. Being skinny will make me happy.
This is such a pervasive belief, but one of the most untrue things you will ever believe.
Being skinny makes no one happy. Lots of people think it will because they remember being happy when they lost weight that one summer. I felt that way too.
But that happiness was not from the skinniness, you just thought it was. The happiness was actually because you finally thought you were worth all the things you’re already worth now — at your current weight.
Look, healthy habits and self-care and nutritious food and exercise are all good for you. No one is advocating that you stop taking care of yourself.
But we need to shift what taking care of yourself looks like. Constant attempts at being skinny are not the highest form of self-care — they are arguably incredibly out of touch with your intuition and can be detrimental to your health instead of helpful.
I understand you want to lose weight. This culture can be cruel to bigger bodies. But you do not need to lose weight, not for your health or for your happiness.
I’m just here, standing on this corner, waving my arms and shouting at you all to consider accepting yourself where you are right now, and see what awesome things might happen when you drop the fight.