Can you be Body Positive and want to Lose Weight at the same time?
This is a loaded topic with a million and one opinions out there.
The fact is, there is no right or wrong answer. It's a personal choice.
You are autonomous. Yet everyone will push their opinions on you.
There is no argument about being an athlete and having high fitness goals and being body positive. Being a corporate executive and having high career goals and being body positive. Being a parent. Being an actor. Being successful at anything. Yet somehow there IS an argument whether you can have a goal to lose weight and be body positive.
My opinion? Yes, you can be both body positive AND want to lose weight... however this is a LOADED yes.
These two things are NOT polar opposites, and in fact CAN go hand in hand.
As a coach, one of my main goals is to take my clients' either/or mindset and turn it into a yes/and. To find solutions for you so that you CAN have both things. You don't have to choose. Here's what I mean.
The fact is, there a million and one reasons why you might want to lose weight.
Perhaps you want less pain & inflammation in your body, maybe you're managing a chronic health condition, or you have athletic or fitness goals that may be easier to reach if you carried a little less weight. Maybe you are working on reducing your chances of certain lifestyle diseases commonly associated with a higher body weight (ie. Type 2 Diabetes).
Many people shouting from the rooftops that you should NOT want to ever reduce your body's size are doing so because they assume that you only want to lose weight for looks or because society is telling you that you must.
Remember, just like nobody gets to tell you how to style your hair or do your makeup, nobody gets to tell you what body shape & size you should be.
The way I see it, your body is always evolving, so if you'd prefer to lose weight for personal or health reasons, then you can do that.
By the same token, if you DON"T want to lose weight, then don't. This is 100% a personal choice. If you are truly happy being the size you are, then just be!
But before you take this yes and run with it right back to the diet bandwagon, pause for a moment.
Remember how I said it was a LOADED yes??
Here's the loaded bit that comes with it.
In my opinion, you CAN be body positive, love yourself, and want to lose weight as long as you're checking in with these four pillars of body positive weight release first.
Understand that every body has a uniquely happy weight.
We are ALL different. Some bodies will naturally be slimmer, while others will be curvier. Some women are at a healthy weight at 110lbs while others are at 170lbs. There are a whole host of factors associated with this (height, body type, bone density, etc.) but the fact of the matter is that your body is supposed to be different from mine.
Your body is at it's happy weight when you are living a life that lights you up, eating food that energizes you, moving your body with passion, and loving your life. Whatever size your body naturally sits at is probably where it wants to be.
Don't force your body to be what it's not. Some of us are naturally a size 2. Others naturally a size 10 or 18. It's all good.
If you have to stop eating all of your favourite foods, workout for 3 hours a day and feel restricted, stressed out and are hating your life just to lose weight, then your body does NOT want to do it! That is not a happy place.
Create a lifestyle that lights you up, eat the foods that work best for you, and work with your body to find your happy place.
Keep your health & well-being the priority
When you love your body, you want to do everything you can to care for it! This means that when you are looking to release weight the body positive way, it's all about working WITH your body.
Tuning into your body instead of tuning out. Listening to your intuition and gut wisdom. Focusing on being healthy & working WITH your body, not ON your body.
What does working WITH your body look like?
Steering clear of fad diets and strict militant workouts.
Focusing on whole food nutrition and learning how to eat intuitively.
Healing your relationship with food, and adding SO MUCH goodness to your lifestyle (through nutritious food, feel good movement, stress busting activities, seeking out fun, laughing a lot, and sleeping well) that your body naturally begins to re-regulate to it's happiest and healthiest weight.
This is a BIG learning curve for many, yet if you truly want to be in a loving relationship with yourself and find your happy weight, it is pivotal.
Check in with your mental health.
Losing weight is hugely triggering for many. If you have a history of an eating disorder, if you tend to become obsessive about food, struggle with depression, or you easily fall into the guilt/shame side of things around your eating behaviours, it IS still possible for you to walk this path and find your happy weight. I do however strongly recommend working with a trained professional to guide and assist you.
Weight loss for some is no big deal, for others it is a huge deal. Neither is right or wrong, just ensure that you are seeking out the support and guidance you need to help you maintain your physical and mental health through the process.
Know that your worth, your happiness, your confidence and your success will not change when your body changes.
These things ALL comes from your mind. If you're chasing self-worth, self-respect, confidence, or happiness in a smaller pant size, you will come up short every time. They may feel a bit improved in the short term, but long term you'll still be looking to no avail.
If you're hoping to find these things in a smaller body without doing the inner work to transform them, you will be sorely disappointed. In that smaller body your insecurities, fears, shame, and questions will still be present. They are yours, they don't belong to your body.
You are equally worthy, capable, and able to exude confidence at a size 6, 16, 26, bigger or smaller. This is not something that goes hand in hand with your size. This is a mindset, an attitude, and an approach.
If you consider yourself body positive and have a drive to lose weight, know that you are not wrong. They are not mutually exclusive. You CAN have both.
This is about understanding WHY you want to lose weight, looking at your MINDSET and ENERGY around weight loss, and ensuring that the focus remains on your mental health and overall well-being.
Larger or smaller, your body is your home. It deserves love, care and respect always.