Recently Lola Berry otherwise self titled ‘Australia’s favourite nutritionist’ was certainly a far cry from this. Shortly after Christmas- a time of intense ‘body vulnerability’ for many women- Lola Berry launched a 4 week eating program controversially titled ‘Stop Being A Fat Bitch’. Of course you can probably image this program- the title and the perspective- outraged me (and MANY others too).
Lola, who has experienced her own dysfunctional relationship with food and her body, claimed ‘Stop Being A Fat Bitch’ was something she used to call herself “Over and over”. It was Lola’s hope that her 4 week healthy eating program which “Is not just about the food plan and recipes”, but also about “Changing your mindset to achieve your health goals” would resonate with women all over the world struggling with their body image. It’s safe to say that this program was VERY controversial- with many people divided in their opinion of the program’s direction and title.
As I write this blog post the program has been ‘pulled’ from her website (thankfully) and is possibly undergoing a ‘name change’ (hopefully a change in perspective too), which is a good outcome in my opinion. And because Lola couldn’t “Wait to hear what we think (about the program)”, I feel that as someone who was incredibly concerned about the nature of this program, that I detail and discuss these concerns in a very honest post.
Before I start I want to say upfront that I have always had a soft spot for Lola. I attended one of her yoga classes when I was in Sydney and it was hands down one of the best classes I have ever attended. Her cook books are also incredibly delicious and I’ve always been attracted to her bubbly personality. I think subconsciously I was drawn to Lola’s own experiences with disordered eating and she appeared to have a realistic approach to health and wellness.
With all of that considered I was more angered to have come across this program because I thought that Lola really ‘got’ it, when it came to how dieting never ever helps people heal their relationship with food and their body.
I guess I was wrong.
It is very clear to me that Lola’s message within this program is that changing the way your body looks (i.e. through an ‘eating plan’) will change the way you feel about your body. In other words this program is playing right into the hands of the oppressive social message that your body dictates your core self worth.
No Lola. NO.
If you’ve been following my work for some time now you will know that I believe that a majority of the issues to do with feeling ‘out of control’ around food stem from body image issues in some way shape or form.
It is ‘body hate’ that essentially drives women to diet, which drives the restrictive, rigid, rule based eating (aka feeling ‘crazy’ around food)…all of which ends up in rebellious eating around food (i.e. binge eating, emotional eating) at some point.
Anyone who diets will certainly understand when I say this: Diets are not an effective weight management strategy. The research clearly states that the vast majority of people will regain the weight if not put on more weight after dieting than when they started. Hence the phrase ‘diet’s don’t work’.
I want you to think about this: Given the stats pretty clearly state that diet’s don’t work, you’ve got to wonder what will work. In other words there’s a good chance that the opposite is true: That not dieting, meaning starting to learn how to be a normal eater, will help you achieve more permanent weight success.
Another issue I want to discuss is this clever marketing strategy, calling the program an ‘eating plan’, which basically is a disguise for a ‘diet’. Which again means that participants of this program will be lead to believe that if they eat certain ‘good’ foods, in certain proportions (e.g. 120 g chicken with the skin off, 12 almonds, 1/2 cup of oats etc.) and exercise ‘x’ times per week and eat these ‘good’ treats, will lead to weight loss (which is what drives everyone to diet in the first place, right?!)….and then this ‘magic cure’ will make you feel better about themselves.
….Because food shaming, weighing out your food and body shaming really helps you to lose weight and keep it off. What a joke.
If this whole idea of meal plans being another ‘diet in disguise’ is new to you check this post out.
And this doesn’t sound like a diet to you?
Possibly the bigger issue here is this issue of ‘waiting on the weight’. In other words: You will feel better about yourself when you’re at a certain weight.
I want to make this clear: Your weight should not call how you get to feel about yourself. Sadly this is a HUGE issue within our culture that unless you look a certain way, you’re not worthy/ attractive. successful/ loveable etc.
I’ve worked with a lot of clients from all over the world and in my experience hating my body has never resulted in any permanent weight loss, nor has it successfully ‘motivated’ me to engage in healthful behaviours around food. No amount of trying to motivate yourself with body shaming language is EVER going to motivate you in the long run to find a ‘happy’ weight. In my experience (and the experience of my clients) all this does is feed the diet mentality- this belief that when you lose the weight life will start happening for you.
A key thing to remember here is that hating yourself doesn’t make you thin, or even healthy. I could write an essay on the fact that the opposite is true…that hating yourself makes you engage in unhealthful behaviours around food (e.g. binge eating, rebellious eating around food, binge eating, body shaming etc) and hence makes whether or not you’re ‘healthy’ very questionable.
I could also wax poetic on the fact that health and weight are not the same thing. See here for more on this.
There’s also a lot to be said about the fact that going against what is thought to be ‘healthy’ (appearance and eating wise) does not make you unloveable, unworthy etc.
And finally this needs to be stated very clearly: Relying on your physical health to improve your mental and spiritual health is incredibly dangerous and oppressive thinking. Not to mention a sure fire way to end up in a disastrous relationship with food and your body.
So in a nut shell a ‘healthy eating plan’ is not the solution to body love. It is not the solution to accepting your body…to living a more wholesome, happy life.
Because if it was, surely the other ‘eating plans’ you’ve been on would have worked out for you and you wouldn’t really be needing this blog post…..Something to consider.
The best advice I can give you is to start to open your mind up to the points listed in this post, question the underlying beliefs that are holding you captive in the diet/ binge cycle in the first place and start exploring a new pathway towards improving your health and wellness.
The choice is yours.
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