Are you scouring the internet for your big trip…and trying to figure out what spring break weight loss challenge will help you to feel ready for selfies and boost your confidence?
Let me tell you Gorgeous: you don’t need to diet to get ready for your trip.
A diet is just a short-term “quick fix” that plays into society saying that you’re less than fabulous right now. That’s a damn lie: you’re fabulous, right this very minute.
Diets don’t last…but the harm that they inflict does.
The truth is: diets don’t work
Diets are short-term changes that might make your body size smaller for a bit, but at the end of the day, the changes don’t last. This can lead to changes in your metabolism, your self-esteem, and your sense of self-worth…and not in a good way.
The diet industry is a 72 billion dollar industry that preys on peoples’ insecurities and emotions to cajole them into the next trend and buy: people looking to feel better about themselves will buy the next membership, app, shake, or product.
Instead, I help women become Intuitive Eaters so that they have lasting peace with their bodies, eating, and all foods: What Is Intuitive Eating? A Beginner’s Guide.
Diets cause harm, and they don’t actually help you to be healthier or more confident.
…and your size doesn’t measure your health
This is still news to most of us since we are so immersed in diet culture. But here goes:
Your weight is not a measure of your health.
(and once more, for the seats in the back)
Your weight is not a measure of your health.
What actually assesses your health are your behaviors. Weight is a characteristic, not a behavior.
Health behaviors include things like:
- How much sleep you are getting in an average night
- If you eat vegetables on a regular basis
- Your self-esteem
- Your stress levels
- If you enjoy movement throughout the week
Your health influences how you feel on a daily basis. If you’re consumed with thoughts and rules about food, you’re body checking every time you pass by a mirror, and your exercise is used as the way to earn food, your mental health is not the best.
Rather than a weight loss challenge, a far more productive way to prepare for a trip is to focus on how you feel and work to cultivate good physical and mental health. Trips can be triggering, so bolstering yourself in advance makes room for fun and enjoyment…not to mention better boundaries around toxic people or environments.
Trips can be triggering
Trips can bring up a lot of emotions; excitement to explore and try new foods, but nervousness to take so many photos and being in person with people you might not have seen in a while…has your body changed?
Or can you predict that certain people are going to say hurtful things?
In our fatphobic society, diet culture would have us believe that we need to be a certain small size in order to be beautiful, confident, worthy, or appreciated.
It’s all bullshit. But it can be really tricky to really believe that it is all BS when the messages that we’re surrounded with keep repeating the toxic messaging.
Further: diet culture would have us believe that your health is measured by your weight, but that isn’t actually true either. You can be healthy in a larger body and you can be unhealthy in a smaller body. As we illustrated earlier, what actually creates health are your behaviors.
So, instead of a spring break weight loss challenge…how can you feel happier, more confident, not to mention healthier? Let’s cover the usual sassy messages that you’ll see and hear and respond with an Intuitive Eating lens for true health, wellness and enjoyment.
First stop? Ditch the motivational skinny outfit in your closet.
Society says: diet to fit into certain clothes
Do you have a certain item of clothing or a special outfit that you’ve been hoping to fit into? Friend: it isn’t your job to mold yourself into clothes; it is your clothing’s job to fit your body.
Ditch that “skinny” outfit that brings up feelings of shame. Instead, get clothes that you feel comfortable, sassy, powerful and gorgeous in right now.
And if you’re budgeting for that lovely trip, check out ThredUp for some new-to-you duds that come in an inclusive range of sizes.
Don’t forget the accessories that make you feel Sasha-fierce: maybe that’s a bold red lip, the widest of wide hats, or the cutest purse that you’ve ever seen.
And what else to lose? Other people’s expectations of you.
Society says: lose weight
Diet culture is rampant and toxic. Like cockroaches.
They’ll probably always be around, but you can do your best to banish them from your life.
Instead of working to lose weight, lose the weight of their expectations and decide for yourself what makes you worthy.
Are you a dependable friend? Are you the best dog mom ever? Are you doing a killer job at your work, the best knitter, and a bottomless pit of trivia about your favorite TV show (like Friends, for me)?
Dieting isn’t the answer or solution that you want it to be. It won’t make you happier…let’s explore that.
Society says: you’ll be happier at a lower weight
Diets make a lot of (sneaky AF) promises:
“You’ll feel happier!”
“Your confidence will soar!”
The truth is: you can feel confident at any size.
…or insecure at any size.
…your size has very little to do with it.
Thin privilege – living in a smaller body – does come with greater ease and societal acceptance…things are easier to the extent that you more closely match society’s expectations, can find clothing in your size with more options and so on…but trying to fit your life (and body size) into someone else’s expectations is not living. More on Thin Privilege in this post: What Is Thin Privilege (And Why You Need to Know).
Instead of pseudo happiness, let’s explore true happiness.
Wanting to be happy, healthy, and confident are excellent goals; we can work towards them without a last-ditch effort to diet before a spring break trip.
Instead: If it’s happiness that you’re after, how can we achieve that?
For example, confidence could be striking a power pose each morning and saying a positive affirmation. Happiness could be creating a list of hobbies you enjoy and incorporating them 1x a week into your routine. Working on yourself is worth the effort – just make sure that you’re using the right tools to cultivate what you mean to…diets aren’t the right tools.
Society says: follow this account for inspiration
There are many people peddling “health” online…some are actually helping their clients to achieve health and wellness.
Others are just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I want you to reflect on how you feel after scrolling through your IG feed. Do you feel inspired, uplifted, and happy? Or do you feel shamed, heavy and dark.
If you’re not feeling good, just think how much better you’d feel after clearing out the feed of toxic accounts and beginning to follow those who are uplifting, constructive, and inspiring?
Same question about your friends: who are you spending time with? How do you feel after you get to hang out with them? If they’re making your life more enjoyable, keep ‘em around. If they’re unable to stop talking about depressing things, the next diet or making shaming comments about you, time to be far less available for them.
Society says: let food and exercise consume every thought
Don’t get me wrong: I totally love food. But thinking about food – dare I say, obsessing about food – isn’t actually healthy. Nor is it healthy to focus 24/7 on exercise.
If you’re wondering if the amount that you think about food is normal…or not…check out this post: The Real Reason You’re Obsessed With Food [& How To Stop!]
Instead of focusing on food and rigid exercise routines, focus on self-care. What does your body need today?
Self-care can be the difference between forcing yourself to do a HIIT fitness class that you hate (and end up resenting) and enjoying a three-mile hike in the woods that leaves you feeling refreshed and uplifted. For someone else maybe that self-care IS a HITT workout to release their stress of, say, packing for the trip!
Self-care also makes room for the rest that your body needs. The balance of the two helps you to cultivate a positive relationship with yourself and with movement.
Not only does self care offer relief in the moment, it allows you to start your trip in a better frame of mind and with more resilience. As you discover what habits benefit your mood and mind, you’ll be able to take those habits with you. Self-care is portable!
For more about self care, check out this post: Emotional Self Care.
Use this time to prepare for the trip of your dreams
Instead of another toxic spring break weight loss challenge, use this time to prepare yourself to truly enjoy the trip of your dreams.
Your size will have little bearing on that.
But coming to the trip with outfits that you love, boundaries to protect yourself from toxic people and environments and a better understanding of the rhythms and habits that leave you feeling good mentally and physically will establish the foundation for a trip to remember for a lifetime.
Diets? You’re out.
Diets are toxic and cause harm. You will not be any more prepared to enjoy your trip or feel more comfortable in your skin if you try a spring break weight loss challenge.
Instead, I recommend getting started on your Intuitive Eating journey. I recommend checking out my 5-Day Positive Body Image Challenge. This will help you to enjoy your spring break more than any diet can.
Ready for more support? I’m ready to help you. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for more tips to help in your intuitive eating journey and take the no food rules quiz which will tell you what’s holding you back from truly finding food freedom and give you customized resources (and a workbook!) to overcome it!