Getting In Shape Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Losing Weight

Damir Regoc

Body Positivity- No, It’s Not About Justifying Laziness

After we collectively spent decades on a weight management mindset of restriction and deprivation, society seems to be moving to a much more positive mindset on weight concentrated on the question of what can our bodies do,  rather than a detrimental focus on the number on a scale.

So much of the discussion around losing weight is embedded in shame, diet culture, and unrealistic Instagram photos. But, what if we reframed the way we think about weight loss in the first place?

Instead of body hatred, what if we came to weight loss from a place of body positivity? Instead of thinking of our bodies as something to be fixed, what if we redirect our perspective and see them as something to be nurtured and cared for?

It's possible to want to lose weight and love your body, but it takes a different mindset. Let's explore some body-positive weight loss strategies that can help you feel better in your skin while working towards your health goals.

The body positivity movement, which has become quite prominent in the last couple of years both in the media and online, is all about improving our self-esteem around how we look — especially if we don’t look like the skinny, stereotypically beautiful models on the covers of magazines. And while most people would agree that loving ourselves the way we are is a recipe for happiness, how do we reconcile a desire to hit certain weight-loss goals with loving our bodies at the same time?

Who’s To Say What’s Really Attractive?

It can feel like these two desires are opposites — is it possible for them to coexist? Yes, and it may actually help with weight loss!

Do you want to lose weight so that you look like a fashion model – a body that has been deemed attractive by society? Or are you wishing to lose weight because you don't feel great if you’re honest with yourself? You don’t have a lot of energy, your joints ache, and your hormones are out of balance, causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

It is great to love yourself however you look. But it is equally essential to ensure that you are as healthy as you possibly can be. At a certain point, excess weight can and often does cause health issues.

Researchers have known for a long time that experiencing weight stigma can lead to low self-esteem and higher rates of depression.

Shopping Psychology Study

A study was conducted in which people were pulled out of what they thought was a shopping psychology study — they were told it was because they wouldn't fit into the designer clothes set up for the experiment. Afterward, those people had much higher cortisol levels compared to people in the control group, who weren't fat-shamed.

Prolonged exposure to excess cortisol can cause your body to deposit fat in your belly region, which is the kind of fat associated with a greater risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Cortisol can also make you eat more. Stress can change your brain's reward circuits to make high-fat and high-sugar foods taste better.

Too Narrow Focus On Losing Weight - Can Lead To Weight Gain

Experiencing weight stigma can sort of trigger these processes that, ironically, make you gain more weight. And that could put you at even more risk for weight stigma. The study also found that this stigma affects people regardless of their size.

Focus on how foods can benefit your body. Allowing oneself to shift and focus on a more positive mindset surrounding how foods can benefit your body by providing energy, satiety, fullness, and completeness can help increase overall self-awareness. This means a focus on whole, complete foods that can create well-rounded meals. For example, think of lean proteins for satiety, high-fibrous foods for fullness, and bright-colored vegetables that are a good source of both fiber and vitamins/minerals. Think about how can you make your meals better. Utilizing the foods and meals that you enjoy, think about how they can be enhanced with flavorful, nutrient-dense foods that add satiety and fullness and help your body and mind feel better.

Focus On Improving Your Diet Overal, Not Just Achieving  Caloric Deficit

This means that foods and beverages must follow suit to fit this new mindset. It is not enough to be low-calorie; a product must do something else to improve health, as well. This can mean creating low-sugar/calorie drinks with mood or energy benefits, additional protein or fiber for satiety, or even other benefits like immunity or digestive health. Consumers want to focus on something other than deprivation, so taste experiences are also a major point to address. Weight management products can still be indulgent experiences with the right formulation and flavors, and should be a key focus of this market. For example, kokumi has been shown to increase how many calories people perceive are in beef broths without there being an actual calorie increase.

Choose Joy In Your Everyday Life

Too often, people think of exercise as a punishment—something they have to do to earn their food or lose weight. But this kind of thinking is body negative and will only lead to burnout.

Instead, focus on finding types of movement that you enjoy and that make you feel good. This could be anything from hiking to dancing to yoga. The important thing is that you're doing something that makes you happy rather than something that feels like a chore.

Maintain A Positive Outlook On Life

Achieving the weight-loss goals you’ve set for yourself is entirely possible, and maintaining a positive frame of mind is a step in the right direction!

Some key ways to practice body positivity while you’re trying to lose weight include: buying clothes that fit your body as it currently is and not worrying about what size you fit into; cooking and eating nourishing, healthy meals so you feel energized; refusing to compare your looks or your body to others; and getting physical activity to increase your feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins.

Achieving the weight-loss goals you’ve set for yourself is entirely possible, and maintaining a positive frame of mind is a step in the right direction!

Beauty & the Broth

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.