What?! Roz is going on a diet!? Huh!?
Ok, ok, for those of you who know my work as a Registered Psychologist, I successfully help people break free from dieting and body image struggles. So why am I hiring Nadine Dumas, a Fitness Nutritional Coach, to “diet” me? Because in the world of Body Positivity, I strongly believe it is missing a voice in the specific area of Body Transformation and Self-Love.
Body positivity encourages people to be okay with how they look and feel today. It is about taking on the attitude of accepting your body, regardless of your shape, size or weight. Whether in person or through online therapy, there is help available to help you through your struggles.
Body Positivity is about throwing away the notion of being “perfect” and instead, knowing “beautiful” exists in and from your own body. Body Positivity is to accept yourself, exist as you are, without fear or self-criticism.
I want to take it one step further and emphasize that body positivity is also about your attitude not only towards your body image, but also towards your emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and social health – the 5 pillars of what make up my company, Holistic Body Love.
A pattern I’ve been noticing with my clients, and in social media regarding body positivity, as people are in process of learning to love themselves, they tend to go through a rebellion stage from the dieting mentality. I call this the pendulum effect, where dieting mentality is based on fear of fat, not feeling good enough, and self-loathing. Then as people are breaking away from dieting mentality, they swing to the other side of the pendulum, which I coined rebellion mentality. This is when individuals tend to indulge in foods that they were not allowed to eat while in dieting mentality. How this differs from the restrictive/rigid eating, binge, guilt/shame, then self-punishment cycle is that now, these individuals are in process of self-love so it’s coming from a place of learning to appreciate, respect and eventually love yourself while breaking food rules that ran their life for years! This is a very necessary, healthy and normal part of learning to break out of diet mentality and find freedom with food. It’s not uncommon to go overboard at first on these foods because they are learning to work through breaking rigid, restrictive and limiting food beliefs.
However, the problem is that people can get stuck in the rebellion mentality, which includes continuing to over eat foods that may not actually nourish their bodies and health. Many chronic, yo-yo dieters have damaged their metabolism from the years of dieting, they may actually have health issues such as low energy, high blood pressure, diabetes, high glucose levels, poor cardiovascular health—and the list goes on. Even if an individual may not have serious inner health issues, they may feel unsatisfied with their excess weight because it gets in the way of them functioning better in their life.
The problem I’ve noticed is that people believe “If I want to transform my body, then I can’t really be loving myself” or they are fearful of swinging back into the dieting mentality, so they stay stuck in rebellion mentality or feel ambivalent about being there. This is fantastic—now the individual is ready for the next step, which is moving towards flexibility, balance and moderation. Now, the pendulum swings in the middle, notice it is still swinging, as it’s not ideal to be stagnant, and this is the place where the foundation is Unconditional Self-Love and Self-Worth.
People always inspire me so in return, I love inspiring people and although I do not believe I need to transform my body because I love it unconditionally, I believe I have the right to transform my body. This is the ideal place to be in regards to experimenting with making tweaks to your body, because you are already comfortable inside with who you are. Because old core beliefs of not feeling ‘good enough’ have shifted to knowing you are ‘good enough’ and that your worth is not tied to your body’s size, shape or weight. Changes on the outside will not shake those old limiting core beliefs. You’ll still have positive self-talk and even more patience with results. I will not feel like I’m more worthy of a person when my body has transformed into a different shape after these twelve weeks. The outside gains may be muscle, strength, power and athletic performance, however, the inside gains will be a deepening of perseverance, joyful discipline, confidence in taking on new challenges, and self-love.
As a project to demonstrate and inspire others, I want to show people how to transform their body (whether that’s fat loss, muscle gain- some kind of body composition change) and have their relationship with food in the background and self-love in the foreground. Diet mentality fails to include some vital ingredients: mindfulness, self-compassion, emotional regulation, positive self-talk, self-worth, inner confidence and self-love. It’s the main reason people cannot maintain their weight loss once they’ve achieved their goal. They got there by beating themselves up, being constantly anxious and obsessed with food and their body. I know this to be true, because I personally have been there. I was someone who chronically tried to perfect my body for over a decade, going so far as to do a bodybuilding competition in 2008. I had my perfect body, and yet, I was the unhappiest and most anxious I’ve ever been. After that show, I did lots of self-work and healing, and today, this lead me to truly live in one of my purposes to empower people in their relationship with food, body image, weight loss, and health.
So I want to inspire and empower others as they are working towards unconditional self-love while transforming their body inside and out.
3 Tips to get started on body transformation and self-love:
1) Engage in joyful discipline: Setting up your life to succeed and live in alignment of that intention. An exercise I often suggest to clients is that every morning before getting out of bed, focus on your intention for the day that will bring you happiness, and check in with yourself a few times throughout the day to see if you’re still living in accordance of that intention. If not, adjust so that you are, by asking yourself, “What is one small thing I can do right now to align again with my intention?”
2) Work on having self-compassion for your inner critic: We all have an inner critic! Notice how much self-talk is positive vs. negative. Catch yourself when you engage in negative self-talk and interrupt it by saying, “Be kind to myself”. This interrupts the neural pathway in your brain that’s set up for this negative self-talk, and creates a new neural pathway for positive self-talk instead!
3) Feel into your feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they are: Acknowledge your feelings and honor them by engaging in self-care activities that will help those feelings shift. Journal about your negative feelings and keep a gratitude journal to acknowledge the positive shifts too.
My Fitness Coach, Nadine Dumas and I are going to blast the Diet Industry with a Massive Dose Of Self-Love! Follow us on my blog, Pausitivity, which you can find through my website at www.holisticbodylove.ca!
Rosalyn is founder of Holistic Body Love and a Registered Psychologist in general private practice at Aspirations Inc. Counseling & Training Center. She has a unique specialization in Holistic Nutritional Psychology, and a Masters in Marital and Family Therapy. She empowers people in their relationship with food, body image, and weight concerns.