Body acceptance: is still wanting to diet wrong?

If you’re working hard to accept your body, you might be ashamed to admit that you still fantasize about wanting to diet and lose weight.

Does that feel familiar?

If it does, don’t worry, you aren’t alone and it’s perfectly normal!

It can sometimes feel uncomfortable to want body acceptance AND a smaller body at the same time.

So in this post, I’m sharing three steps to help you manage this conflict.

Watch or read below:

Body acceptance vs. wanting to diet

As you embrace body acceptance and recognise how diet culture has kept you stuck in body loathing, you might notice some conflicting feelings.

Although you feel committed to working towards greater body acceptance, you might also feel the urge to diet.

I’m sometimes asked, “Is it wrong to want to diet?”

I want to reassure you that if you’re grappling with this question of conflicting feelings about body acceptance and dieting, it’s totally normal!

You’re only human for wanting to diet

This inner conflict is a natural part of outgrowing old beliefs or ways of thinking. Your brain will always challenge a change from the status quo.

Wanting to diet simply makes you human. It makes you someone who is affected by a culture in which one body type – typically thin, white, young and able bodied – is held up as being superior to all others.

So if you’re grappling with wanting to diet while on your body acceptance journey, how can you manage this conflict?

Managing the conflict: body acceptance vs. wanting to diet

I’ve got three ways to help you manage the body acceptance versus wanting to diet conundrum:

Firstly, accept that you want to diet

Rather than telling yourself you are ‘wrong’ or beating yourself up for failing at body acceptance, simply accept that the desire to diet still exists within you.

Show yourself compassion by accepting that you have innocently absorbed the messages of diet culture (which by the way, very few of us are immune to!).

It’s not your fault if you have ever dieted, are still dieting, or want to diet again.

Secondly, reaffirm your desire for body acceptance

If body acceptance feels like the direction that you want to go in, gently reaffirm this to yourself.

Remind yourself that working towards body acceptance can, for some time at least, co-exist with wanting to diet. This is part of the growth process.

Thirdly, gently challenge the desire to diet

Remember that this challenge is not about making yourself wrong, but trying to understand what’s behind wanting to diet. This challenge will help your body acceptance to grow.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What do you really want? Is it better health? If so, diets aren’t the answer. Wanting to be healthy is a good thing. But sadly, we’ve come to associate health solely with weight and specifically going on a diet. Yet diets involve deprivation, guilt and shame, none of which are good for health! Instead, think about how else you can improve your health without dieting.

Is wanting to diet about something else? Perhaps you think weight loss will bring you more confidence, a better job, a new or more fulfilling relationship? In reality, the answer doesn’t lie in your body weight, although we’ve been conditioned to believe it does. Get to the bottom of your motives so you can take the action you need to.

I’d love to know if you ever feel like wanting to diet is wrong. If so, what steps are you going to take to manage your conflicting feelings? Please leave a comment below.

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