One Size Fits All...

Imagine if you were told your whole life, based solely on your height and weight, what size of clothes you had to wear. If the calculations determine that you're a size ten, then you're a size ten, and you have to wear ONLY this size of clothing - regardless of how ill-fitting - until your body changes to accommodate this size. If this size makes you feel uncomfortable - if it's too tight, too loose, unflattering, distracting, inhibiting - none of this matters and you're urged to ignore all of that feedback from your body and simply trust that if you wear this size, your body will eventually conform. If it doesn't, you're not trying hard enough.

Imagine if you have had a size seven foot your entire adult life, but society tells you that you need to wear a size five shoe, in order for your foot size and shape to conform to the accepted ideal size. You MUST wear size five no matter what - but the good news is that you have an endless army of professionals, gurus, consultants, books, articles and courses that introduce you to every different type and style of shoe imaginable, and you are urged to try as many as you can until you find the one that allows your foot to magically transform to it's desired size. The pain, discomfort, blisters, irritated skin and inhibited movement are all necessary and proof that you're doing the hard work to make this essential transformation occur.

And speaking of shoes, imagine if you dreamed of being (or better yet are told for your entire life that your self-worth and life's happiness depends on being) an elite dancer, skater, runner, hockey player or other professional athlete of your choice, but you lack the skills, talent and athleticism to "make it to the top". Instead of accepting the fact that you might not be cut out for this profession through no fault of your own, and working on developing your many other strengths and talents, imagine if you were told that a certain type of shoe would improve your athletic ability to the point that you could achieve your dreams. All you have to do is wear these shoes and never take them off, and your body will develop the strength, skills and level of talent necessary to live your dream. When the shoes wear out, simply buy another pair! Would you embrace this as unconditional truth? 

All of these scenarios when presented this way, of course sound ridiculous. So why do we allow diet culture to tell us how many calories we need to eat and what combinations of food are best for our bodies at any given time? After a long, stressful, tiring day at work when an evening curled up in our pajamas with a warm, satisfying bowl of pasta sounds like heaven, how do they know for sure that this is the wrong thing for us to do? And that the correct thing would be to get out our containers and measure out our macros? How do they know for sure that a little emotional eating to soothe our frazzled minds is the wrong choice?

Why do we allow them to schedule our mandatory exercise routines while not knowing anything about us? Do they know that we got three hours of sleep last night and are coming down with a cold? Do they know for sure that the best and healthiest thing for us to do is to "push play" and do the workout, even if it feels like torture, even if it's 10:30 pm and our body is screaming for rest? How can they be certain that a mega-intense workout is a better and healthier choice than going for a walk in the river valley or going ice skating? If our body is craving this type of movement, why do we override this calling and believe what is dictated to us by someone who doesn't know us, has never met us, and has no knowledge of our health history or, for that matter, what kind of movement feels good to us?

And how do they know for certain that the body we were born into is unacceptable in it's entirety? Why do we allow them to tell us that ripped abs are more attractive and healthier than a soft rounded belly? How do they know that if I kill myself to get those abs that my physical and emotional health will improve? When they congratulate me because my scale shows that I've lost seven pounds in a week, how do they know what biological transformations have actually occurred inside my body, and that this is a good thing?

Could there possibly be another agenda underneath it all? Could somebody be benefiting (or profiting) from us feeling like we don't know what we are doing, that we need a step-by-step plan dictating how we should eat and exercise, that we can't be trusted to regulate our own food intake, that our bodies are unattractive and constantly need improvement?

Our bodies are quite capable of regulating themselves, of keeping us in harmony and homeostasis, and of correcting for the "imperfect" (aka human) actions we impose. If we listen to the body's wisdom and provide it with what it needs, we will learn to trust that we don't need any other "help".