Lately, more and more websites, brands and magazines are jumping on the self-love train. I have seen many equate working on self-love to working towards weight loss. The thought is when people love themselves, they eat well and exercise to take care of their body. Therefore, they shed pounds. Sounds logical right? However, there are many problems with this statement.
1. Weight control is complex
There is a long standing myth that if we try hard enough, we can control our weight. Many factors determine weight and many of these are outside of our control. For example, genetics, medications, environment, age and socioeconomic status can influence weight.
The idea that if we "just start to love ourselves", we will lose weight is overly simplistic.
This myth has hurt many. Often, people feel they are the problem for being unable to lose weight. They feel they are the ones that lack willpower or motivation. However, attempts to lose weight and keep if off long-term rarely succeed. Surely not EVERYONE lacks willpower? Weight is complex. The idea of "energy in, energy out" needs to go.
2. Through self-love, some people GAIN weight
In our diet-obsessed society, many people are underfed and malnourished. Many have lowered their metabolism rate through repeated dieting or disordered eating.
When someone starts caring for themselves, they sometimes eat more in order to nourish their deprived body.
This can lead to weight gain. This is not a bad thing. In many cases, this is exactly what someone needs, regardless of their initial weight. People of all sizes can gain weight as a result of letting go of chronic diet or disordered eating.
3. That's not the point of self-love, anyways!
The goals of self-love are to:
- Honour our body and mind
- Take care of ourselves in the best way we know how
- Respect our boundaries
- Forgive ourselves and allow room for mistakes
It has nothing to do with changing our weight.