41. Your Body Doesn't Want to Be Fat
Welcome to episode 41 of the Mindful Weight Loss Podcast. I am your host and your coach, Emily Erekuff and today I am talking about a belief that sets you up for real struggle if you are trying to lose weight, and that is the belief that your body wants to be fat or overweight.
And you might not use the exact same language I do, you may think something more like "my body is designed to store fat." And you might not even think you really hold a belief like this, but if you have any notion that your body is meant to hold onto excess weight, you are really setup to struggle against your body if your goal is to lose that weight.
And if you've ever dieted or counted calories, then you have demonstrated that you believe this to some degree. You don't trust your body to keep you at a healthy weight and you believe you have to intervene and regulate what you eat.
And now why we don't trust our bodies is a really big topic that could probably be a book. Our history is filled with shame about our bodies, shame about sex and childbirth and so much more, and I think that shame about fat is really just the latest incarnation of that shame.
And it's almost like we look for something to be ashamed of. It's like we look for a problem to fix and in so doing create a problem that was never really there to begin with.
If you can relate to the phrase "I wish I was as skinny as the first time I thought I was fat" then you know what I'm talking about. And this thought right here is a REALLY BIG clue that the problem originated not with our bodies but with our minds!
And so notice that the solution isn't, "Hey, maybe I should tune into my body more and pay more attention to my hunger and fullness signals and to my needs and emotions." Instead it's, "Let me look outside of myself for the solution. Let me find a framework of rules that I can use to control my body." Because the belief is that the body is the problem, clearly the body can't be the solution.
And so the most common method is to starve ourselves with a diet. And I'm not exaggerating when I use the word starve. If you have ever gone on a 1200 calorie crash diet, you were eating as much as a toddler should eat and they weigh about 30 pounds.
And so no wonder your body fights back with binging and overeating. When you under eat your body's only real defense is to overeat. And you could actually see this as an incredible reason to trust and appreciate your body. Look at how your body instinctively protects you when you don't eat enough.
But instead, because we're looking through the lense of "my body can't be trusted" or "my body needs to be controlled" we see overeating as evidence of those beliefs. Overeating simply confirms that your body can't be trusted and that you do need to control it.
But I hope you can see that really isn't true and that the idea is what came first and created your reality.
You think your body needs controlling, and so you behave in ways that force it to react as if it does need to be controlled.
You think your body is fat, and so you under eat which causes your body to overeat, which then causes you to be fat. And then years later you look back at yourself and think, "What the heck was wrong with me. I wasn't fat. In fact, I wish I could be that thin again."
I know some of you might think that the idea of manifesting your reality is a little too out there, but man, this looks to be such a clear case of what's going on here. The only reason we become fat is because we think we are fat in the first place. And the only reason we continue to store fat is because that's what we think our body is meant to do.
We think that's just science and biology, right? And that your body's MO is to store fat in case of potential starvation. But gosh, if that was true, why isn't everybody fat? And why is it then that dieters tend to be more overweight than non-dieters. Why is it that dieters tend to regain the weight they lose and then some instead of simply regaining the weight they lose?
It's because your body doesn't store fat preventatively in case of starvation. It stores fat in response to actual starvation. Thus, it's the diet that is the problem and behind the diet is the idea that your body is somehow wrong and can't be trusted.
But that's what we need to get rid of. You need to stop believing that your body wants to be fat, that it wants to store fat, that it wants to overeat or binge. Because none of that is true. If you starve yourself, then you create a reality where those things are true, but that is not your body's natural inclination.
And yet we do this to ourselves all the time. We do this with sugar. We refer to ourselves as sugar addicts or say that we have a "sweet tooth." We walk around believing that our bodies want to consume more sugar than is good for us. And that belief is entirely optional. You don't have to believe anything.
And because we put sugar on this pedestal and make it off limits, we actually increase our desire for it. You think, "I need to limit sugar," so you make it off limits, which only increases your desire for it, which makes it seem that you do need to limit sugar.
It is our thinking that turns sugar into an overeating trigger. In fact, it is the very thought that a food is a "trigger food" that makes it a trigger food.
And this is where so many get confused about what intuitive eating really means. Intuitive eating is about learning to listen to your body, and a lot of what you think your body wants is really coming from your brain.
Your body does not want an entire sleeve of Oreos, that's your brain and usually the only reason your brain "wants" the entire sleeve of Oreos is because it thinks you can't or shouldn't have them.
Sometimes your body does want quick energy, especially when that's most convenient.
But most of the time your body want healthy, nourishing foods.
And your body doesn't want to overeat. It doesn't want to be uncomfortable.
And if you think in terms of pure survival, it wants to be able to run at a moments notice in case a predator comes near.
Your body doesn't want to carry the burden of extra weight.
And your body doesn't want extra stress. It doesn't want you to struggle.
Your body wants you to feel abundant, relaxed and satisfied.
Your body wants you to feel good.
If you want some homework this week, sit down for 10 minutes and write down all the wonderful things your body wants for you. And then read that list every day and practice believing those things.
Take care and I will see you next week.