Dieting culture: Why it’s okay to NOT want to lose weight

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THIS JUST IN: It’s perfectly okay to love your body just the way it is! You don’t have to lose weight, you don’t have to constantly be on a diet and you don’t have to always eat the lower calorie version of foods. 

You may be thinking…”Wait, Sara, you post about and celebrate your own weight loss journey and the weight loss successes of your clients.” And that’s because I wanted to lose weight for my health and fitness goals and my clients have their personal goals as well. But I am a huge advocate in thinking for yourself, doing YOU and not comparing yourself to others. So, if you love your body just the way it is, then don’t change it! 

Dieting culture can be harmful to mental health

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I am big on mental wellbeing. Counting calories/macros, weighing food and constantly thinking about what you’re eating may not be healthy habits for some people to form. And that’s okay! If you have a history of disordered eating or unhealthy habits when it comes to food and exercise, it may be very detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing to track macros or count calories.

Food and weight in our society

Most people, especially those with disordered eating patterns, have emotional connections with food and eating. Food, of course, is a requirement for life, but it is also tied to so many things in our culture – holidays/celebrations, comfort, hobbies and more. Another part of diet culture is defining foods as “good” or “bad.” As I wrote in this blog post, food is food. It’s all about moderation.

Although I believe this is beginning to change, our society has historically praised people, more often women, on being “thin” versus healthy. Whenever my clients tell me that that their goal is to be “thin” or “skinny,” I urge them to think about being strong, healthy and lean versus skinny. If “skinny” is truly their goal, I am not the right nutrition coach for them! To me, “skinny” equals weak and taking up little space. The times have changed, ladies! We want to be strong, and we want to take up space!

Being healthy without dieting

Tracking macros, the strategy I teach clients, is not synonymous with dieting. Yes, many people track macros to lose weight, but it is also a tool for maintaining and gaining weight. For the past couple months, I have been tracking my macros to ensure I am eating enough food to adequately fuel my workouts and running. But again, tracking your food in an app, weighing or measuring your food or simply thinking about food all day may not be healthy for some. Here are some simple things you can do to stay healthy without dieting or tracking your food:

  • Drink a lot of water
  • Stay active
  • Prioritize protein at every meal
  • Eat food high in fiber such as fruits, veggies and legumes

If you want to lose weight in a healthy sustainable way, cool! If you don’t, also cool! Don’t be swayed by what people on Instagram are doing or what society tells you you should look like. DO YOU!

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