In this episode we will be looking at just how outdated calorie counting and the diet culture really is. We’ll be taking a little look at the history of dieting and how it’s turned into an industry of body shaming, fat shaming, stereotyping bodies, racism and body policing.
Our bodies are more than just energy processors and eating is not just about calories in vs calories out.
I first spoke about nutrition a while back, in episode 2, you can check it out if you’re keen to have a listen to learn about how I support my crew with approaching how they eat holistically.
Every person’s body responds differently to food.
There are a huge amount of factors involved with how food influences our bodies, our moods and our general well being.
These include the way we think about the food we eat both before and after we’ve eaten it.
Fat shaming, body shaming and body policing have a long history and date as far back as ancient greek times.
Back in those days people who were deemed as overweight were judged and ridiculed by the general population. They were thought of as having a mental imbalance and seen as unattractive.
Really, not much has changed in this regard in the past 2000+ years.
People’s desire over the years to diet or use aides to lose weight are well documented. Diet pills, weight loss diets, weight loss soaps and even cigarettes have been pushed as ways people can lose weight, be more accepted and seen as attractive and equal to folks that perpetuate the skinny = worth culture.
The fitness and diet industry are built on perpetuating peoples shame and self judgement while at the same time pushing the “solutions” mainly training and dieting as the way to “fix” people who are overweight.
There is an unending list of dieting fads that people can access and to be honest most of them are unsustainable and can actually lead to people gaining more weight long term.
When it comes to how you eat, it really needs to be approached in a holistic way. Restrictive diets, diet cycling, yoyo dieting and supplementing do more harm than good.
If you want to change your body shape (for your own reasons, and no one else’s) then you need to think about how you want your relationship with your body and with eating to be.
One of the best practices that you can follow is a very simple one. It begins by building an awareness of how you feel after you’ve eaten.
You can begin to build this awareness by eating all of your meals slowly. By taking your time when you eat, you’re giving your brain and stomach the chance to talk to each other.
Start by setting yourself a small, achievable goal for example, taking 10 minutes to eat a meal.
You can set a timer for this if that helps. Once you can consistently take 10 minutes to eat a meal you can begin to add time to that.
Slowly build up to taking around 20 minutes to eat a single meal.
This is a powerful practice because it gives you control of how you want to feel. If you eat certain things and find that as you’re eating them or afterwards you are feeling bloated, tired/lethargic, nauseous or experience any type of discomfort, this is your body letting you know that it is having some troubles processing these foods.
Awareness of these experiences means you have a choice when you eat certain foods as to how you are allowing yourself to feel.
Over time as you learn more about how your body responds to all sorts of different foods, you can begin to make more informed choices about what you want to eat.
If you are someone that has experienced a challenging relationship with food or have faced eating disorders either currently or in the past, it would be worth having a chat with a good nutritionist about your eating before you begin to make any changes there.
Whatever you decide to do, I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember that restrictive diets, supplements, diet pills and other practices that focus solely on weight loss without taking your mental and physical well being into account are likely going to be unsustainable and even harmful to you long term.