I’m on Day 59 of staying home! All things considered, we’re doing just fine. There have been good days and bad days, and we are doing our best to make the best of them. I’ve also been realizing that if you haven’t done it in awhile, this is a great time to check your beliefs. (I know I’ve been checking mine!)
(You can listen to this as a podcast episode here.)
Check Your Beliefs
This has been such a busy, strange time. Even though in some ways it’s been chaotic, there has also been more down time than normal. Most of us have lost our normal routines that include work/school/childcare/social lives, and it’s given us a chance to think in a new away about what we WANT to include in our lives.
Based on my personal experience, this seems to be a great time to check in with your current life, thoughts, and beliefs. And maybe you’ll identify some areas you’d like to make changes, even once we go back out into the world! Let’s talk about them now so you can have an opportunity to examine them yourself.
This one might be hard to admit to, but you might believe that being fat is bad. Even if you wouldn’t directly say those words, your actions and choices might reflect that it IS a belief you hold.
In today’s culture, this is a really strong one for many women.
When you say things like: I don’t want to gain weight, OR I’m most comfortable at ‘this’ size….
The belief you’re communicating is that being fat is bad. Sometimes we think fatness is unlovable, or that being fat will make us unworthy. You’ve been conditioned to believe that being fat is a bad thing. Long ago being fat was an admirable trait! It was a sign of wealth and privilege.
So many health and body trends that relate to size and appearance come and go. From the rise of tanning beds and self-tanning products, to breast implants and booty growth hacks; there’s a lot of messaging about what’s “good” and what’s not when it comes to what’s desirable at the moment.
These so-called body standards are just like fashion trends. They come and go, and when they are in, we get bombarded with messaging about how important they are. But in reality….they come and go all the time.
Our body size is the same way. And since “thin is in” right now, we are being constantly told that that is the ideal we are supposed to live up to. And so we start to think…
It’s bad to be fat.
I highly recommend The Anti-Diet Book by Christy Harrison if you want to learn more about the history of dieting and body ideals. And just a few weeks ago, I interviewed Victoria Welsby about life as a self-proclaimed “Fierce Fatty”. We had a really great conversation about body fat and social stigma! She discusses how you might need to check your beliefs and see if you’re using fat phobic thought processes to fuel your intuitive eating journey.
Write your beliefs down on paper.
Then write some things that make the statement NOT true.
Belief: If I gain weight, I won’t be as healthy.
Statements: Actually, when I weighted X amount I rarely ever got sick, and actually felt healthier than ever.
There are always things that contradict your beliefs and thoughts. And if they aren’t serving you, they need to be dismantled!
Being overweight is really bad for your health.
For example, I recently read an article that claimed obese people are more likely to contract and die from the Corona Virus. Intrigued, I did some research. Apparently, this information is being misconstrued by media, and it’s not accurate. For example, many obese don’t get the same care as non-obese people, because of healthcare biases.
Here’s the deal. I know thin and fat people who are unhealthy. And I know thin and fat people, and people of all the sizes in between, who ARE healthy. Your body has a natural set point. For some of us that, set point is below average, for others its above average, and for some it’s average.
And it’s actually healthier to have your body stay at a consistent set point rather than to yo-yo up and down. When we diet, restrict, binge, and gain back weight…it’s really hard on our bodies!
Another thing to remember: “health” includes both physical and mental health. Constantly stressing, obsessing, and worrying about food intake and numbers on the scale isn’t good for you at all. In the episode about whether intuitive eating is healthy, I talked a bit about the full definition of health. True health can’t only look at your body size, weight, or BMI. That is not the full picture!
This is a food group belief! If you think a certain food group is “bad”….I’m here to tell you it’s not! Whether you hold these beliefs about sugar, carbs, fat, or something else, I want you to know that food is just food.
Food is just food. (That’s worth saying again!)
There is no food that is “good” or “bad”. You don’t need a cleanse, you don’t need keto, and you aren’t addicted to sugar. There is no need to completely restrict any food from your diet based on it being “bad”. Marketing and current trends may make us feel like a food isn’t good….but it’s just marketing.
I recommend you find a trusted source for nutrition guidance. And remember: your own body counts as a trusted source! You can trust your body to let you know how much sugar (or anything else) you need. Once you allow those things, you’ll be fine. The issue comes when you restrict for a long time, and then finally allow yourself to have some. You might feel like you go a little crazy, because your body wants something that you haven’t allowed it to have in a long time. But once you normalize any food as something you can eat when your body desires it, you’ll find that you can eat an amount that is right for you.
So what foods do you still label?
Rather than trying to qualify anything as “good” or “bad”, what if you change your mindset so you just think of it all as feedback? If you drink too much alcohol and get a nasty hangover, the feedback is that that quantity of alcohol didn’t feel good. You can choose to use that feedback to adjust future actions if you choose. Not because you did something “bad”, but because you want to serve yourself and your body in the way that will feel the best.
What Beliefs Don’t Serve You?
Just like the back of your closet can fill up with clothes you forgot you had, the back of your mind can fill up with beliefs you don’t realize you have! But even if you aren’t always aware they are there, they do have an impact.
Take some time today (or whenever you get a chance) to bring those beliefs to the surface. And once you do, you have the power to toss them out and get new ones! Get out what is no longer serving your.
Your thoughts become your beliefs, and your beliefs become your thoughts. (What a crazy cycle!) The good news is, you have a lot more control of your thoughts than you think. And since it’s all intertwined, you can take back control by choosing to change your thoughts.