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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In the Name of Health?

In my coaching practice, I see lots of women who say they want to lose weight "for health reasons". Sometimes, this is a valid reason, so, then I ask them what health concerns they have. Then, they look a little confused. "What do you mean?" I then reiterate the question, and ask them specifically about their blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, liver profile, sleep habits, relationships, work/life balance, etc. The majority of the time, most of these markers are within the normal range. (This is typical with women who say they want to lose 10-30 lbs.)
Then, I say, "You told me you wanted to lose weight to be healthier, yet you seem to be healthy already. So, why do you REALLY want to lose weight?"
The answer: We have been taught to associate skinny/thin with healthy. In fact, we are so deeply entrenched in this cultural notion that we are willing to engage in UNHEALTHY measures (extreme caloric restriction, diet pills, excessive exercise) to achieve a "healthy body". These women aren't consciously lying to themselves about why they want to be "thin". They really believe what they have been told!
Does that sound a little misguided to you?
Sometimes skinny/thin DOES equal healthy if THE PERSON IS GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TO BE SKINNY. Not all of us are and that is okay. Don't try to make a cat a dog. If you have to resort to unhealthy measures in an attempt to be skinny, that is exactly what you are trying to do and you will find nothing but frustration and misery.
We need to learn how to pick apart these cognitive distortions about what is healthy and what isn't. We need to learn how to embrace our own unique body type and honor it by feeding it well and giving it ample amounts of movement and rest.
There is nothing healthy about trying to be something other than who you are. There is nothing healthy about self-hate.

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