By TONI CHER GERDELAN 02/02/15

One Saturday morning on my way to clinic I drove past a roadside advert boldly declaring:

“Birthday Suit Alterations Here!”

 

Now I may have been a little preoccupied thinking about my case load for the coming day, but I seriously had a “Huh???” moment, and then it sunk in as I read on…of course! It was an advert for a personal trainer. Clever, definitely…funny? Yep…or maybe not. I thought back to my initial fuddled reaction, and it went something like this…

 

“Birthday suit? What? Oh that’s my body…hang on…what’s wrong with it? I need a tailor/surgeon to take a pair of scissors and needle and thread to it? Oh poor, poor body…I don’t want to be cut open…it’s not that bad is it?!?

My birthday suit certainly felt threatened, and very much under attack. And quite defensive too, obviously!

Ok, ok, I know I may have been over thinking it (that’s just me!) and/or showing a distinct lack of sense of humour, but this funny/clever ad got me thinking…all the way to work. Why does the weight loss industry (and I guess, as a nutritionist, you could place me in that industry) generally start from a place of shaming and self loathing?

How can we ever be expected to lose those excess kilos/pounds if we are not being kind and loving to ourselves? Are we truly expected to “hate” that surplus weight away? That weight is there for a good reason, and it is serving you well. It is literally protecting you! Excess weight is usually symptomatic of a deeper issue, and rarely happens just because we like to eat too much. We eat in excess or when we are not hungry to numb pain and to avoid feeling. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, in the pursuit of optimum health, we started from a place of self loving instead of self loathing?

I am all for losing weight to achieve glowing good health and prevent disease, but we need to stop allowing the weight loss industry to bully our psyche into thinking that we are somehow broken or imperfect, and in dire need of fixing.

It’s true that most of us are looking for a quick fix (hello instant gratification!), but evidence states that quick fixes rarely work when attempting to lose weight. In fact, the greater your initial losses the less likely you are to keep that weight off long term. Don’t just take my word for it…

“Losing weight at a slow initial rate has been shown to result in continued weight loss, reduced risk for weight regain, and successful long-term weight loss maintenance…” (Nackers, Ross and Perri)*

I believe weight loss occurs as a side effect of self love, and if that is what you are after, what a great side effect! Punishing and denying your amazing temple (read self-loathing), such as starving yourself and knocking yourself out at the gym, are not likely to achieve the results you are after. However you chose to lose weight, and whether you chose to go it alone or with professional help, I beg you to consider turning societal beliefs on their head…start with LOVE. Make love, not war…it’s the only body you have. and what an amazing gift that is (:

I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Toni x

Note: Let it be said that I have nothing against personal trainers…you peeps are an amazing and inspirational bunch.

*Nackers, Lisa M., Kathryn M. Ross, and Michael G. Perri. ‘The Association Between Rate Of Initial Weight Loss And Long-Term Success In Obesity Treatment: Does Slow And Steady Win The Race?’. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 17.3 (2010): 161-167. Web.