Does it currently feel like everyone around you is losing weight?
There’s always some sort of ‘reason’ to lose weight isn’t there. It’s new year, it’s spring and the change of wardrobe is coming out, it’s summer and you’re getting ready for your ‘beach body’, then you getting ready for Christmas. And off we go again.
At the time of writing this it’s January. Peak diet pressure season! The ads are all over the TV, the leaflets are coming through the door. Diet clubs are everywhere. Maybe even the celebs you’ve thought are upholding the body positive message seem to be slipping away from it (I’m looking at you Lizzo).
And here you are, working hard to keep your mindset positive. To do intuitive eating because you know it is the best thing for you. To become more body confident and appreciate yourself more, for who you are, without needing to lose weight.
But it’s so hard. The pressure is big, and you feel it. You feel that pressure throughout the year but NOW it seems all your friends, family & colleagues are adding to the pressure because everyone around you is losing weight. Every woman & their dog is on the new year new you health kick, and they are losing weight. They’re ‘doing well’.
By the way, if you’d like to listen to this one as a podcast episode, you can do that here…
The Halo Effect
You may not realise it, but you will actually feel the pressure more when it’s people around you having those results. There’s this thing called the Halo Effect, and the Halo Effect is basically a phenomenon that occurs when other people take action because of someone else’s actions. Studies have shown this applies to weight loss. When people around you are losing weight, it has this effect on you too.
This could be because of motivation, wanting the same results, confidence, or learning the methods. But whatever it is for you, it’s no wonder it feels tougher right now.
So let’s put all of this into context
Let’s take back the power, and come back to that progress you’ve made in your mindset around all of this.
For starters, what does ‘doing well’ really mean?
When we think of people ‘doing well’ in terms of dieting and weight loss we usually think of things like:
- Big weight loss
- Willpower around food
- Sticking to a new exercise plan
- Looking happier in themselves
- Buying new clothes
What that actually translates as though is more often than not:
- Very restrictive eating
- Looking like they have willpower but actually they are struggling, and binge eating, evening eating, secret eating, or having ‘cheat days’
- Over exerting themselves, with a plan that isn’t sustainable
- Outwardly happy and may be enjoying it, but it will be short lived.
- Yes, buying new clothes, but I’ll bet they will add to the collection of yo-yo clothes that sometimes fit and sometimes don’t.
So when you look at what the reality is, are they really ‘doing well’?
Remember too, that big early weight loss isn’t fat loss. More often enough it’s a big shed of water too. When you restrict food on a diet, more often than not it’s the carbs that are cut most, and this forces the body to use the glycogen stores in the body. Every glycogen molecule has 3 water molecules attached to it, so as you use the glycogen you’re losing a lot of water.
That initial fast weight loss doesn’t Look so impressive now does it!?
Those early losses do not last. The eating habits, the restriction, the exercise, the not socialising, not eating out, not having the food you enjoy…. it doesn’t last. Boredom sets in, novelty wears off, exercise becomes a chore.
And of course these add to what we already know to be problems in dieting, such as the body’s drive to be its natuarl weight set point, the way the body tries to counteract the restriction by making you binge, and the long term effects of weight cycling.
But even if we know all of that, when the pressure is there it doesn’t stop us wanting those losses that others are having.
So how do we deal with the emotions & comparison when everyone around is losing weight?
First, I want you to know that it is ok to want to lose weight. When the world around you is shouting from the rooftops that you should be thinner, smaller, you can see why you would.
The world is not geared up for bigger bodies. They are an afterthought. Facilities, clothes shops, theatres & cinemas, transport are all more suited to the smaller, cis sized person. So if you want to lose weight I get it. It is normal. Your feelings are real, and they are valid.
Remember why you stopped dieting
Remember why you chose intuitive eating. Remember why you decided to work on improving your body confidence.
- Was it to stop binge eating?
- Was it to eat a better variety of foods?
- Was it to understand how your body wants you to eat, rather than mindlessly following a plan?
- Was it to have a better relationship with exercise?
- Was it to feel better about your body?
- Was it so that you could learn how to look in the mirror and like what you see?
- Was it to feel more confident all round?
- Was it to stop thinking about food every…. waking…. moment?
- Was it to right the message that fat bodies have no place in the world and show people the truth?
How many of those do you want? Do you want them more than wanting to follow a diet plan?
Use your emotions
You might be feeling a range of things right now. Jealousy, anger, upset, frustration, loss, desperation. Use those emotions as a strength and power. Turn them from a negative to a positive. use them as tools to help you buck the trends and be your own person.
And get angry at diet culture. Get mad at the messaging. Use that fire in your belly to start doing what you want and need for yourself.
If you’re feeling up to it start spreading those messages too. Talk about it with friends, family and colleagues. Talk about it on social media. People talk about their diets all the time. It’s so boring. Change the conversation to something much more interesting.
Set boundaries with what is and isn’t acceptable talk around you
Protect your progress. Protect your mindset.
If people are talking about their eating habits and it’s triggering for you, ask them not to (or remove yourself from the conversation). If people talking about how much ‘better’ it is now that they are thinner is upsetting you, ask them not to.
And even if it isn’t upsetting, let them know some truths. Start educating them. One person today and before you know it the world’s views are changing.
Find a place where you can express your feelings. It’s good to find people that you can share your emotions with, and also get support from and build an alliance with.
My Facebook group is a place to do that. Come and be with great people who get it.
And if you want a more close knit community, and my support, why not join my group coaching membership, Eat From Within.
Celebrate your wins
All of them. No matter how small. They’re important.
When you’re on a diet you celebrate the weight loss, the inches lost, the willpower, that sort of thing. It can be hard to know what to celebrate once you don’t have a diet. I have a podcast episode on what you can celebrate as an intuitive eater. It’s episode 51 – 10 ways to measure success as an intuitive eater. Take a look, then come into the group and tell me what you’re celebrating.
Maintain your own good body image and beliefs
Remember what you know and believe to be true around food and body image. Follow body positive social media. Talk with like-minded friends. Read blogs and articles that are size inclusive. Make it a daily practice.
January is a time-where everyone is on a self improvement kick. You can still do that, but in a different way.
Start to learn more about yourself. Get really interested in what your thoughts and beliefs are, why you have them, what they mean. Do they help or hinder you? If they help, keep them. If they hinder you, can you change them?
Self development can be so empowering. My journal prompts subscription is a great way to do that work. I’ll drop a new journal prompt into your emails every day, and it will help you consider the way you view life. The prompts are all designed around wellbeing and this is a great time to join and start that new daily bit of self exploration. It really will change the way you see things. You can join that here: Note To Self.
And at the end of the day, don’t panic
It’s January. The buzz will die down, the advertising will wain, the pressure will ease, and people will start to fall off their wagons (because their motivation won’t be as long lived as they currently believe it is!).
Meanwhile, you’re all good. You didn’t get on a wagon to fall off of.
You were just continuing your intuitive eating and body confidence journey, living stress free (around food at least!), and enjoying everything that a body positive attitude to life has to offer.
Let’s do things differently this year. I’d love to celebrate your new and improved wins with you.
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