Have you seen it?
‘summer bod pending’
‘getting bikini ready.’
I think this messaging is harmful and it goes against my values. I've had lots of conversations with clients and friends recently about the increasing pressure to turn it 'on' and get ready for the hotter months.
A core value of mine is that our bodies don’t need to look a certain way to be in a swimsuit or have to change in preparation for strangers seeing them in a two piece on the beach.
These statements only reinforce the idea that our lifestyle has an ‘off and on’ switch and that health is something we only focus on in the pursuit of fat loss – health and fat loss are not the same thing, and a core value of my business is encouraging people to understand they are deserving and worthy of taking care of themselves all year round, regardless of the change in jeans size or not looking like they think they ‘should’.
However, as well as thinking all of that and being anti diet culture.
I am not anti-diet.
Aren’t they the same thing?
Well, I’m pleased you asked.
No, they are not.
Diet culture is the idea that to be worth something you must change your appearance, that in doing so you will ‘fix’ your problems, that you must look a certain way, buy a certain product, or eat a particular way to be healthy and deserving.
A lot of this messaging comes from a place of not being good enough as you already are – which, you’ve guessed it, I don’t agree with.
It’s a difficult place to navigate.
You can easily become bombarded with ‘LOVE YOUR BODY!’ messaging and although I believe that message began from a place of love and encouragement,
it’s not helpful.
You won’t love your body all the time and there are some parts you might never love.
This messaging can leave us feeling like we are failing.
You don’t love the way your stomach looks; you don’t want to wear the shorts and you do still care about your cellulite sometimes.
THAT IS OK.
I sit in the middle.
The grey area.
That doesn’t seem to get as much attention as all screaming and shouting black or white areas but is where a lot more truth sits.
Try telling someone who’s spent the last 15 years plus being at war with their body and being bombarded by diet culture messaging to ‘JUST LOVE YOURSELF!’
Yeah, it’s shit advice.
Instead, we need to focus on working towards accepting ourselves.
You don’t have to love every part of yourself.
But you do need to appreciate yourself, respect yourself and take the best care of yourself that you are capable of in that moment.
You are also allowed to want to make changes to your appearance.
And you’re allowed to do that so you feel your best for a holiday or special occasion.
(My birthday is coming up and I have an outfit I want to wear which I feel better in when I’ve been taking care of myself. I have been being more mindful of my nutrition and food choices, so I feel my best for that night out – there is nothing wrong with this!)
What is wrong is doing it because you feel like you have to or bullying yourself into changing because you don’t think you are good enough as you are right now.
You are always good enough and you always deserve respect and care regardless of what your body looks like.
Ok, so now that’s hopefully got you thinking and challenging any nagging voices in the back of your head (or loud annoying ones on Instagram) If you want to work towards fat loss how do you do it in a way that supports you and not punishes you?
I’ve decided to answer a few questions I have received this week and I hope they can help you create a plan to move forward in a compassionate, healthy, and balanced way towards your goals.
Do I have to track calories?
The short answer is no.
You do not have to track calories for fat loss.
However, it can make it easier as it gives us more accurate information about the amount you’re eating.
But people were losing weight long before My Fitnesspal was invented so it’s not essential.
How do I know if I am in a deficit?
You will be losing weight over time.
Our weight fluctuates often, especially as women with our cycle, so you want to give yourself a minimum of 6 weeks and see if your weight is trending down over time.
This gives us a clearer indication that you are in a calorie deficit.
Our body is the best tool we have.
‘My fitness pal says I am in a deficit!’
‘My apple watch says I am burning 2000 calories a day!’
Neither of these things are as accurate as our actual real life moving, breathing, living bodies!
Is a calorie deficit a diet?
A calorie deficit is not a specific diet.
A calorie deficit is what is created by a diet for fat loss.
All fat loss diets create a calorie deficit.
If you are losing weight, you are in a deficit regardless of that happening because you are calorie counting, eating low-carb, intermittent fasting or doing weight watchers.
The way you eat is important because the more you enjoy it the more likely you are to adhere to it, meaning you stay in your deficit and get the results you are after.
If you don’t get hungry in the mornings intermittent fasting could work for you or if you don’t really care for pasta or bread etc opting for low carb could help you stick to your deficit.
Please bear in mind though it is not the time of day or the carbs that are preventing you from achieving your goals.
These diets are tools we can use to help you adhere to the deficit – not the secret to fat loss!
What can I do practically to help create a deficit?
You know your usually portion size – be honest with yourself. Aim to have ¾ of what you would usually have at each meal.
Have 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. Eliminate choices by saying the snacks will be a portion of fruit or a protein (a shake or boiled egg etc)
Don’t eat standing in the kitchen! I’m serious. Eat your meals sat at a table to reduce the chances of mindlessly snacking and picking at things while you prepare your meals.
Snack in the evenings? Now you don’t. Tell yourself ‘My evening meal is the last time I eat in the day’. Don’t give yourself the option to snack after and if the temptation is strong, get in the bath. It’s a ball ache to get up and go to the crisp cupboard when you’re laid in the bubbles.
Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
And standard, I say it all the time but that’s because its true. Prioritise protein at each meal. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient meaning it keeps us fuller for longer. It also helps us maintain our lean mass (muscle!) we don’t want to lose this! Fat loss is your goal not weight loss. There is a difference.
Finally, remember we are not meant to live in a deficit.
The goal is to get where you want to be and then increase your calories to maintenance and live a life filled with habits that support your body and combine health in its WHOLE capacity.
That’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health.
If you want anymore help with this, you know where I am.