Hey Y’all, so long story short, lately, I feel a bit like a butterfly hatching from their snug cocoon. Of course, I’m not saying I’ll emerge as perfectly formed as a butterfly but I’m human so bumps and bruises along the way can be expected, right? There is a part of me that is dying to shed the cocoon. I want to spread my wings and practice in a way that feels right in my soul. I want (you) my clients to soar along next to me as we embark on an adventure of feeling wonderful about our bodies, enjoying life and practicing gratitude every day. On the other hand, I’m scared out of my mind. I have grown accustomed to the safety, dependability and familiarity of the cocoon. The ‘you’re a dietitian so you can tell me what to eat so I will lose weight’ cocoon, practicing traditional dietetics. Sitting in an office answering the call of those struggling to lose weight. “Help me!” They cry. “I’m on my way!” I respond while grabbing my food models and 1800 calorie meal planner. I have the knowledge, I took the biochem class, I know about human physiology and body mass indexes and I know the difference between a Twinkie and a turnip. Guess what though, you have more or less the same knowledge I do! Maybe you didn’t take human metabolism 101 in college, but you know what you should be eating and what you shouldn’t be eating! That leaves me trying to figure out how to get you to change your eating habits and if I could do that, well then that would be a pretty awesome super power!
It’s taken me working with a thousand clients to finally realize that I can not change someone. I can tell someone to just eat a celery stick instead of ice cream but I CAN NOT expect them to say, “Of course! You are so smart! I would have never thought of that! I’ll see you in two weeks.” Actually, sometimes patients do say that but the likelihood of them actually doing that long term is pretty much nil. I can not convince someone to treat a body that they loathe with kindness and self care, and without those it is impossible to change your body. True story.
I’ve been asking you, my patients, my loves, to have the cart pull the horse! And it’s been just about as successful. For that, I’m sorry. Yes, some of my clients have lost weight, some of them have improved their blood pressure or cholesterol levels. However, the few clients I had that were willing to go “off script” with me were the ones that made true transformations.
I wonder how many more of my patients would have been successful
had I focused on wellness rather than weight?
So that leads me to here. I know that having body positivity is the first ingredient to change. How then, do I get people to come to see me, if I don’t promise weight change? What about my own weight? If I let go of the control over what I eat, will I gain weight? I can see glimpses of blue sky and fresh air, but this cocoon sure is cozy and warm. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, here is what I know for sure. Dieting does not improve your self confidence, happiness, self-compassion or even health. Yes, you read that right, dieting does not improve health – long term. Your worth is not dependent on the size of your body. You are important and add value to this world regardless of your size or shape. Please don’t let a number on scale determine your mood, worth or fabulousness!
I’ve decided to make my practice centered around health, wellness, body positivity and self care rather than weight and I hope you will join me as we venture in to this new frontier!
Look for “Body Positivity, the Answer so Many of us Seek” in the next blog.