Last Thursday Emily from Evolve came to Aerial Dance Appleton. The topic was “Wellness OVER Weight”. The material presented was eye opening and gave everyone attending a lot to think about. For me, as the person who booked the session, I was already really passionate about this topic. Since founding Aerial Dance in 2010 I have not allowed talk of weight loss. All my instructors have been trained to redirect conversations when topics of dieting come up. We do not allow a scale at the studio. We don’t measure our student’s bodies and record how many inches they lose. Because to me, your journey is about your HEALTH and not your size. Your size has a lot of other factors (like genetics!) that determine it and I’d rather focus on what we can influence which is having a strong body that loves to move, a positive attitude and feeling confident in your own skin. So at Aerial Dance we focus on these and traditionally have avoided all talks of diets. But in recent months I’ve realized that avoiding it is actually condoning it. So things are about to change…

We are starting a war against body shame, body hatred and diets. We are replacing these with body kindness and health. And we are going to talk about it. Alot. We are going to be VOCALLY anti-diet and very pro unrestrictive eating. Why? Because the diet industry is a 60 billion dollar industry that is constantly telling you that you’re not good enough so you’ll spend your money on their products. SIX – ZERO with a WHOLE LOT more zeros! Guys, that should piss you off. That is 60 billion dollars a year that is being spent to tell you you’re lacking. That is 60 billion dollars a year that is contributing to your unhappiness. When I read in “Body Kindness” that the overwhelming majority of women have an “I hate my body” moment EVERY DAY I became so angry and I realized avoiding the topic of diets wasn’t actually changing this epidemic. We need to talk about it.

I’ve ALWAYS been anti-diet because I wanted to create a long term relationship with food that would work rather than a short term change. But what I didn’t realize until I read “Health At Every Size” is that, though I’m not a dieter, I am very much a restrictive eater. I do label foods as good and bad. I do try to always choose the “healthy” option regardless of what my body is asking for. I do feel guilty if I eat the cake and that takes away from my enjoyment of eating it! I should be able to enjoy food without guilt! I may not set a specific diet but I am a restrictive eater. And I would bet the 60 billion dollar industry has made you one too.

Things I learned during Emily from Evolve’s presentation that were surprising:

  • The first low carb diet was in 1825. Umm, if it worked wouldn’t we all be the weight we wanted by now?
  • Keto was actually developed as a treatment for epilepsy. Do you have epilepsy? No? Then why are you changing your body chemistry like you do? (and if keto is working for you and you’re going to do it for life, be you, but think of it as a lifestyle choice and not a restriction)
  • Food influences body chemistry so it matters a lot more than for just nutrition and this isn’t something discussed often enough.
  • Speaking of chemistry – Carbs become serotonin so without them you can experience an increase in depression.
  • Diets don’t work long term. If they did, and you’ve done one, you’d be the weight you wanted now. But you’re not and you’re on another diet hoping this one will work.
  • Diet culture is all about blaming and shaming so we don’t talk about it, feel bad about ourselves, and then spend more money.

The biggest take away for me was that our bodies are brilliant and want to hold a set point weight. We keep messing with this set point by dieting and restrictive eating. And 60 billion dollars are being spent every year to make sure you keep messing with your set point and upsetting your body chemistry. At the bottom is the Ted Talk Emily recommended on the subject if you’re curious….

Regardless of where you’re starting your journey, how you feel about your body or if you like dieting, I think we can all agree that there are much better uses for 60 BILLION dollars per year than the propagation of body hate.