“‘Body Positive,’ means being willing to love yourself!”

Body Positive and Intuitive Eating

Advertisements And Realistic Expectations

As we quickly approach the end of the Holiday Season, I notice that my email inbox is quickly becoming consumed by diet tips and programs designed to, “help {me} set the most effective weight loss goals for 2017.”   As a vegan runner, diet is an important part of my training.  Yes, even vegans have to pay attention to holiday related weight gain!

Vegan weight gain is a reality and a teacher.  In fact, I initially became vegan for weight loss reasons.  It did not take long before I realized that any change in weight after going vegan was only temporary.  Getting my weight down required much more – thus I became a runner.  However, even running revealed her limitations over time.  Dammit!

The Food Psych Podcast – The Compassionate Approach

Recently, I stumbled upon the Food Psych Podcast by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN.  Christy is an Intuitive Eating Coach & anti-diet registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.  While listening to the content on her interview style podcast, it was immediately apparent that Christy promotes an affirming and compassionate approach to body image.

The Food Psych Podcast offers guest interviews of experts in the field of nutrition on health promotion and nutrition.  You will not find any testosterone injected – boot camp promoting – fat shaming content!  Moreover, you will also not hear any references to actual weight numbers or comments about “fat logic,” often seen in other venues.  The vibe is complete with warmth and acceptance – a no judgment zone!

What Is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is designed to create a healthy relationship with, “food, mind, and body.”  The movement is championed by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD,Fiaedp, FADA, who co-authored the book “Intuitive Eating – A Revolutionary Program That Works.”  It is based on ten principles that guide your day-to-day health and fitness choices:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Respect your Fullness
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
  8. Respect your Body
  9. Exercise – Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health

There is no doubt that the shift happening in the world of nutrition is revolutionary.  It goes side-by-side the Slow Food Movement, and Minimalist Living.  It is rethinking our relationship with food, returning us to something much more basic, less confusing, and self-directed.  It counters the multi-billion dollar exercise and diet industry, one of the biggest financial drivers in western economies.

Defining the Body Positive Movement

The”Body Positive” movement challenges the status-quo, and thus promotes a much bigger societal shift.  It is at base, counter-culture/consumerism.

The advertising industry is designed to create consumers who believe that they have less and need more, and thus, instilling a sense of dissatisfaction with the self. Consumerism is driven by the understanding that if you purchase a service/product, you will be fulfilled.  The Body Positive Movement states that you are already okay, just the way you are:

“Welcome to The Body Positive! We are creating a world in which people are liberated from self-hatred, value their beauty and identity, and use their energy and intellect to make positive changes in their own lives and in their communities. Since 1996, The Body Positive has been re-connecting youth and adults to their innate body wisdom for more balanced, joyful self-care and a relationship with their whole selves that is guided by love, forgiveness, and humor.”

After reading this, I cannot help but think that life is short – I am overwhelmed by the amount of time spent in ego-dystonic self-hatred!

My Personal Body Negative Struggle

In a recent episode of the Svelte Yeti Health and Fitness Podcast, I disclosed my personal struggle with diet.  I find that considering this philosophical shift leaves me feeling anxious and without concrete tools to measure outcome.

Engaging in dieting provides me a sense of control.  Shifting my view means letting go of that control, a prospect that is frightening.  However, I also realize that the endless cycle of trying out diets, exhausts me both mentally and physically.

Challenging My Professional Background

Furthermore, both the Intuitive Eating and Body Positive approaches challenges my professional background.  I have promoted the importance of counting calories, both consumed and exerted, as a weight loss strategy.  I have even stated the benefits of a vegan diet for weight loss, even though living a vegan lifestyle is not about weight management.

I do think that there is a place for such tools, but not for the majority of the human population.  The tools that we find in behavioral medicine are best applied to life threatening cases of obesity, an area of treatment when concrete measures are required.

Stop The Diet Treadmill – Body Positive and Intuitive Eating

I believe it is time to challenge the status quo.  I believe that, like myself, many are fearful of letting go of the strategies that have “worked” for us in the past.  However, I am also directly acknowledging that many of the data driven tools we have embraced as a culture are leaving folks on the diet treadmill, driven by shame and self-hatred.  The problem is that the industry depends on consumers feeling this way – it forces us to spend more money on fixing what might not be broken in the first place.  Incorporating intuitive eating will avoid the up and down cycle of dieting – This is you taking your power back!

Philosophical Pivot – The Intuitive Eating and Body Positive Movement was last modified: September 7th, 2017 by Jerod Killick
  • The Body Positive Movement shifted my perspective completely. What do you think?