Stress about how you “should” look, or what you “should” be eating are not healthy! Ideally, you can care for yourself from a place of love and compassion. Sometimes that means tuning out the advice of others (family members or friends who are really self critical, who talk negatively about bodies, or who are constantly on the next trending diets, for example). In this week’s episode of the podcast, I dive into how to deal with dieters!
Struggling with your relationship with your body or food? You’re invited to the free Food Freedom and Body Confidence Challenge! It’s four simple (but vital) steps that can get you started on your journey to self-care and true health! Check it out over on the site: www.caitlinball.com/challenge.
I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy at home! Here in California, our shelter in place orders were just extended for another month. That’s a bit of a hard reality. In addition, I’m aware of multiple small businesses, like my co-working space, that have had to close their doors for good. If you’re struggling, at home or in business, please reach out to someone. You aren’t alone, and you will make it through this!
At the end of the day, all you have is your health and your relationships. It’s a reminder to me that I do what I do because I LOVE helping people with their health. (And remember: that’s more than just physical. It also includes mental and emotional health.) When you’re truly healthy, you can feel good in your body. You aren’t constantly berating yourself, or putting yourself down. You get to feel at peace with yourself, and experience the sensation of self-love and acceptance.
Something important to remember: a good relationship with yourself will spill over into good relationships with others that you love and care for.
Building Your Intuitive Eating Confidence
I’ve been asked about dealing with dieters a number of times. Here are the sorts of situations my clients and fellow intuitive eaters find themselves facing:
+ My mom is a dieter and she’s been talking about her success with the keto diet (and encouraging me to join!).
+ I have a friend doing a diet, and we usually diet together. She wants me to join her like usual!
+ My friends/family members/coworkers are implying that I “need” to lose weight to be healthy.
Here’s my encouragement: The more confidence you get in practicing intuitive eating, the easier it will be to deal with dieters. When you’re first starting, it’s easy to get triggered by diet-based comments. You might even start to question if not dieting is really the right thing!
Trust me: it is. My challenge to you is to keep doing the work, and to trust that you will reach a place where diets just don’t even appeal to you.
Letting Go of Judgment
When I first started intuitive eating, I was living in an average size body in Switzerland. Dieting is not that common in the country. And even if it was, I still wasn’t experiencing fat shaming or other pressure to lose weight.
However, I have experienced pregnancy and childbirth. Becoming a mom was wonderful, but it also came with all sorts of new messaging and feedback from others! There were so many thoughts and opinions about everything I “should” be doing, as well as the “right” way to do everything. I was really sensitive about comments from other people…and I realized that that was a result of not having confidence.
Having parented for a few years now, I’m much more confident! I don’t stress about what other people do; I assume their choices are connected to what works for them. And my choices are what work for me. Rather than feeling sensitive or experiencing shame, I simply parent the way that feels good for our family. I’m sure there are people out there with opinions, but that doesn’t bother me anymore.
Your food journey is the same way!
The more confidence you gain in your choice to eat intuitively, the less impact other people’s opinion will have. You’ll realize that other people’s feedback is often just a projection of what you’re judging about yourself. And when you gain more perspective and self-compassion, you judge yourself less and other people’s opinions don’t matter as much.
5 Tips For Dealing With Dieters
Tell others what you are doing.
When I was starting out, I told my best buddy (that I used to always diet with) and she did the same intuitive eating challenge I was doing! Even if the people in your life don’t join, at least they’ll understand a bit more about what you’re doing. Having a community that is working on intuitive eating together is really enjoyable; it can be a great way to bond with your friends on another level. And remember; even if they aren’t interested, you can find many other things to connect with each other over.
Leave out an intuitive eating book or materials.
Share your favorite podcasts, or tag friends in an inspiring post on social media.
This can be a really non-threatening way to engage people you care about, especially if you see each other often! You never know what will get someone curious.
Pivot the Conversation
You don’t have to engage with someone who is interested in discussing diets. If someone is persistently talking about dieting, you can acknowledge them…and then change the conversation.
In the same way that you might pivot a conversation if you’re extended family is trying to dig into anything personal (your dating life, perhaps?), you can do that with dieting! If you’re stressed about this idea, try practicing!
When you’re in conversation, see if you can pivot from the topic at hand to something new. It can be completely innocuous….one minute Aunt Peggy was talking about the best place to buy oranges, and the next you pivoted the whole group into a funny anecdote from work. It’s easier than you might think!
Have the Hard Conversations
Dealing with a close family member or loved one that always seems to bring up weight/diet matters? Often my clients share that planning a trip home is stressful because they can almost a guarantee that someone is going to start talking about bodies and offering suggestions on how to lose weight. That can be so hard!
My suggestion? Have the difficult conversation with that person BEFORE the diet talk come up. For example, try sharing honestly how comments about your body or weight make you feel.
You might also communicate that any comments about your body (including positives or negatives), aren’t helpful. Share what you’re working on with intuitive eating: your desire to love and accept your body as it is, your goal of removing restricting or binging on food.
Loving and accepting your body as it is is really good for you! Let your loved one know how they can best support you. Give them ideas for OTHER topics of conversation: your work, your life, your hobbies. Request that they choose any topic other than weight or dieting.
This might mean making a phone call before your trip. The people who care about you will usually respond well. They want you to feel supported and loved, after all! The key is to find a quiet moment, and to communicate honestly and gently.
Sometimes we forget that this IS an option!
Being blunt can be really uncomfortable, and I completely understand that! I do want you to understand that you have permission to share how someone else makes you feel. You are not obligated to hold back, or to conceal how you really feel.
So remember: you have full permission to express how you feel when someone in your life tries to pressure you into dieting or losing weight.
It might mean you simply say, “That’s really hurtful. I would never say those things to you, and I need you to stop talking to me that way.”
Even if it’s hard, it can be exactly what needs to happen. When you are being hurt, you can absolutely stand up for yourself. It’s not right for anyone to treat you poorly or put you down, and you don’t have to tolerate it just to “keep the peace”.
Be Confident in Your Decisions
If you’re practicing intuitive eating, it’s because it’s something you chose for yourself. No one else’s opinion or feedback needs to sway you! Just like with parenting; the more you accept your own desires and release judgment, the easier it is to let other people’s opinions roll off your back.
Intuitive eating is an amazing way to eat, live, and take care of yourself. You can absolutely have confidence in choosing this lifestyle for yourself. If you are looking for a bit more support, I’d love for you to check out my Quit Dieting for Good program. You’ll get the chance to connect with other amazing women who are going through the same journey, plus get access to coaching calls with me!