I’m a little bit fired up. Okay, a lot fired up.
In the past week, I’ve seen two instances on social media of messaging that was not only not helpful to the intended audience, it sought to make the audience wrong. And they came from professionals.
Instance number one: Guy says that walking is not exercise, that you burn no more calories than sitting around.
Instance number two: Guy says that dieting is about deprivation and must therefore suck.
Instance one is both ignorant and dangerous. Instance two makes me wonder how that’s working out for you.
But the thing that really, really irritates me is that these two assertions use shame as a motivator. Both are rooted in scarcity – you aren’t working hard enough, you aren’t suffering enough. You aren’t enough.
I have to call BS on that.
Movement: Start where you are. Move in ways that you find fun (because if you enjoy it, you’ll do it). I would much rather you go for a walk than endanger yourself by pushing too hard too fast. And if you’re an experienced exerciser, you’ll know (hopefully) where the line is between pushing just enough to continue to see progress and slacking (which isn’t the same as active recovery or honoring your body).
Mindful Nutrition: Dieting doesn’t work, so don’t do it. Period. Find a way to eat that honors your unique nutritional needs and find your ideal balance. Yes, this takes some time and it takes effort, but the end result is sustainable weight loss (if that’s what you’re after), mitigation of any health issues, and perhaps the best thing, zero deprivation*.
*Of course there is an asterisk – because we each have unique nutritional needs, some of us do end up eliminating certain foods from our diets. But I promise that not only is it worth it, if you find you do still want those things, we can come up with substitutions. And you may find that on rare occasions, that there are few “worth it” items that you can handle. This requires work and troubleshooting though. You also may find that eliminating those foods breaks any connection you had to them and you no longer want them.
I’m not the only one fired up about shaming people and making them wrong though. In the past week, two articles have come across my social media feeds that address this in different ways and I have to share them with you all as well:
The bottom line is this: shame has NO place in health and wellness. If someone seeks to shame you into compliance, I lovingly suggest you reconsider your association with that person. You ARE enough and no one gets to tell you otherwise.