It is common for people fairly new in their exploration of a Body Trust® approach to food, weight, and health to find themselves returning to a familiar weight loss program or plan in the New Year. It is also extremely common for people to realize within the first week of the New Year that they cannot do it any longer. It just doesn’t feel right. You see, people lose their tolerance to food restriction, dietary restraint, and intense exercise over time. We want you to know that this is a sign of health—yes, HEALTH!
Human beings are biologically wired to eat, and few people are able to sustain the rigid eating and exercise prescriptions recommended for weight loss. There is not a single program or plan with long-term data to show that weight loss is maintained. You can call it healthy eating, a cleanse, a reset or a diet—the outcome is similar—the most consistent effect of weight loss at two years is weight gain (Mann et al., 2007). Ask your doctors, weight loss surgeons, personal trainers, health care providers, supplement sellers, diet book writers, and Weight Watchers for their long-term outcome data and you will get silence or excuses.
Any person, plan or program promising that they have the answer to solving the “problem of your body”—that they can crack the code—is making money off your shame.
Don’t fall for it.
We are here to tell you that there is NO CODE.
Coming to terms with this fact is the first step in healing from patterns of chronic dieting, weight cycling, and disordered eating. A few years back, we came across this piece from writer Anne Lamott:
Until I was about 50 I would say, or until menopause, I had lived my entire life with the belief that there was a code I was about to break and as soon as I broke the code, what was going to be revealed was going to be the thing I had been searching for my entire life. As soon as you break the code…
But there is no code. I don’t know what you do in the aftermath of that—of someone saying to you, to me, there is no code. How do you even go on, because the codes have given us purpose and direction and a sense of self and a sense of hope, but it was toxic, because there are no codes.
So let go, let go, let go, unhook, unhook, take the rusty fishhook out of your chest—it’s not connecting you to anything true; it is connecting you to your own disease in your own search for the codes. There are no codes, so what are you going to do?
What we do is we try to find the windows and the doors to get us out of this situation of being human, of having these human minds and monkey minds. You have got to just understand that there is no escape and to sit down where you are, feel the connection of your body to the floor, breathe, notice that there is a tiny crack, a little tiny little bit of fresh air is getting in, and it’s enough. Sit there, breathe, and be present.”
So what happens when you finally come to terms with the fact that there is no code? We recently identified the phases of moving towards a Body Trust® Practice:
- Acknowledge that you can’t go back even if you don’t know how to go forward
- Engage in heady exploration of alternative paradigms
- Understand how you lost trust with your body
- De-center weight and call out diet culture
- Illuminate the pattern of coping you developed to survive
- And then grieve some more
- Experiment & practice with a focus on C+ work
- Take risks with your eating and embodiment
- Share your process with people who support your liberation
- Notice the deepening roots of your Body Trust practice
Just like the stages of grief, healing is not a linear process. You will find yourself moving through the phases, circling back around, and returning to each one as you explore, experiment and practice. Eventually, there will come a time in your Body Trust practice where not doing it will be harder than doing it.
If you’ve wandered, we want you to know the healing is in the return, not in never having wandered, but in coming back again and again and again.
Given the culture we live in, it makes sense that people wander.
2018 can be the year you find a sweet middle path. We, and our community of Body Trust® Providers, are ready to support you.
This can be the year you try different, not harder.