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Today's Podcast Episode

Hi and welcome to today's podcast episode. It's really lovely to be here and thank you so much for tuning in.

I hope you had a nice weekend.

I was in Athlone Town Center over the weekend and I had a really nice time and I got loads of lovely snuggly wintery jumpers that are going to keep me really warm.

And I was really proud of myself.

It showed me the clothes that I bought showed me that I am really taking to this learning to love myself again journey and it's going really well um because I was able to buy jumpers, not based on whether I felt trim or fat in them, which is what I used to always do with all the clothes that I ever bought.

I bought them because I loved them.

And I've always loved the look on women of big snuggly cable knit Aran island jumpers.

I've just always loved them and I've always told myself this, this story that I'm too big to wear them, that I'm not trim enough to wear them that um I'm not small enough to wear them.

And I, I've been on a big journey with myself and my self love um over the past few years to a point where I can walk into the shops now and go wow.

I love this jumper.

I love how it makes me feel, get me a cable knit jumper and that's exactly what I did over the weekend.

And it just felt like such a huge win that I've come so far on my journey of absolutely loathing myself and seeing everything through a lens of self hate and loathing and now seeing just being free from all of that.

So I thought it would be really apt to talk to you on this podcast episode about how to break free from diet culture, how to break free from diet culture in order for you to make room for all of the good stuff so that you can really live your life and feel happy in yourself and in your own skin and love yourself.

Learn to love yourself again from the inside out so that you can get the most, the very most out of this life.

And the only way to break free from diet culture is to first off understand how bad diet culture is.

And the only way I can do that is to almost like debate it.

Like we're in a courtroom and I can just offer you up evidence of all the reasons why diet culture is so bad and so harmful and why it's keeping you further away from all those lovely results that you want, like feeling good in your clothes and being fit and healthy and getting rid and setting yourself free from all of the unhealthy habits that you feel shackled down by and how getting rid of diet culture is going to empower you and move you forward and actually enable you to get all of the results you want.

So first up is a big famous Slimming club that give you a points budget and you know what they give you a points budget and they tell you not to worry if you go over these points that you also have zero points.

These are zero points, foods that you can eat any time.

Have you heard of this, this big Slimming club that gives you a points budget and says you have a points budget every day.

But don't worry if you go over it because you also have these foods that are zero points that you can eat any time.

Now, the big issue I have with this and the reason I think this is so destructive to your health is that it is still promoting overeating.

And it is saying to you like you could eat this food in unlimited quantities which I find for myself anyway, very triggering somebody coming from a very comfort eating, eat, eat my comforts background.

I am the type of person I used to be the type of person that would eat my emotions.

So I would just eat if I felt stressed out or really happy, um mostly stressed out and anxious.

That's when I would eat.

So I can really see how destructive this can be and how um unhelpful this can be that in the short term, OK?

With all these diets, they want you to lose weight temporarily so that you think it works, but it doesn't help change your behavior or change your mindset in any way.

So by simply telling you that you, if you don't worry, if you go over your points, you can just like hoof all this extra food unto you.

I find it really damaging and there's no self love in overeating, there's no self love in going over a points budget, knowing that you're over, still feeling very emotional.

And then going to this website to see what free foods you can keep on eating and eating and eating and I just find it very, very destructive.

They also tell you that tracking takes you from eating on autopilot to eating with awareness.

And that most women, most of us have an issue with eating on autopilot.

I completely disagree.

I've been a coach for over 14 years now, coaching women and I don't, I have yet to come across.

Most women that I meet certainly are not eating on autopilot and I'll speak just for myself.

But in all the times that I was overweight never was I overweight because I ate on autopilot, I ate with big awareness.

I was stressed out.

I was anxious.

I was turning to food for comfort.

I was overeating for a reason.

Never did I eat on autopilot.

And I believe that when you track your food, which is what most of these uh weight loss companies want you to do.

It can lead to obsessiveness, black and white thinking, perfectionist tendencies, all or nothing thinking and it can bring you down that rabbit hole.

And when you're in a rabbit hole of all or nothing, perfectionist tendencies and obsession, you're never going to become fit and healthy because you're going to stay obsessed.

But it's my belief that they want you to stay obsessed.

They want you to believe that food is the problem that a lack of knowledge for you is the problem that a lack of awareness is the problem awareness on the food and it takes everything away from you and puts all the power on the food.

Whereas I don't believe that at all, I don't believe that the food is the problem.

I believe that the food and the relationship we have with food is the symptom of the problem.

Um There was another big famous app where you go on to, um, to track your stuff and that's all you do.

And it tells you, you know, your macronutrients, your prats, your fats, your proteins, your carbs again.

So obsessive, very black and white thinking, getting you to think very obsessively, they recommend that you scan barcodes, save your meals and recipes.

Um This is going to help you eat more mindfully and I disagree.

I don't think that this is the problem.

I don't think we need to be scanning barcodes into an app and saving recipes and having more recipes.

I don't think that's the problem.

I don't think we as women need more recipes or we need to be scanning barcodes and that, that once we do that we'll start to lose weight.

I don't believe in that at all.

And again.

Ok.

Temporarily, if you're working up to a wedding or an event, do you think these things work because temporarily you're so focused, you're so motivated, but you haven't changed as a person, your relationship hasn't changed with food as a person.

So all that happens is, is what happened to me for years and years and years.

You go round in circles, you go round in circles in this weight loss and weight gain because you have not healed your relationship with yourself.

You haven't learned to love yourself again.

There's another big famous thing out there.

Um And uh II I entered into it, I entered into all my details and it asked me to choose my zones.

It, it asked me to target, like what areas on my body I wanted to target, which first of all is just so destructive.

And so triggering, if you already have a poor relationship with yourself, to look at a picture of a body and click on the areas that you want to work on is just so destructive and so far removed and so far away from where you want to be with your journey towards loving yourself.

And then it asks you and it uses these wordings uh when, when were you at your perfect weight?

It uses the word perfect.

So you have to put in your perfect weight now, just to let you know this website told me that I was overweight and thankfully, um because of all the work I have done on myself, I know I'm in great shape thankfully.

Um But again, if I didn't know myself if I wasn't a fitness coach, if I wasn't in the place I was in, now, it can be really trigger, triggering and very, very negative for you to put in your stats.

And for a website to tell you without ever seeing you or knowing what you look like or your body fat percentage, um, that you are overweight.

And if you don't know yourself, if you don't know the facts you can take on all these things and all this is doing is making the journey more and more and more negative.

I really disagree with BMI.

I really disagree with the weighing scales and I don't believe they are accurate reflections and I really encourage you to get rid of the weighing scales and to not go down the BM I route as both are and can be extremely inaccurate.

They tell you to use a fitness tracker.

Um, you can use a fitness tracker and you know what, there was a study done recently that those fitness trackers are off by 27% at the least and the least accurate was a whopping 93% off.

Um, and these fitness trackers can be really, really negative for you on your journey because they try to measure the amount of calories burned in your workout.

And you know what a study was done with Harvard University and they found out that, sorry, this is, this one was Stanford University that you can't disable the calorie count on the calorie counting or the fitness tracker if you want to on most of them.

And what they went to discover on is that it can lead to very obsessive behavior.

It can be very triggering.

It can lead you to, uh, disordered eating and it can make exercising and eating feel very clinical, feel like a job.

It just strips all the positivity away from it and keeps you focused on this awful negative journey of trying to lose weight and get fit by counting, counting your steps, counting your calories that you've eaten, counting calories burned in a workout, which by the way is really, really inaccurate.

if just to be really quick on this, if you were to do three strength training sessions a week, if you were to do resistance training, lift weights as a woman over 40 that's what is really good for us.

That's what we do.

Um, lifting weights just to keep it in the terms of burning, burning fat.

You, you, your, your metabolism gets really high.

You burn a hell of a lot more calories throughout the day as you move throughout the day than you do in the calories burned.

In fact, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's the calories burned all throughout the day that are more important than what's actually burned in a session.

Now, I hate to bring it to calories burned.

I just wanted to give you a bit of the science behind it and you have all these fitness trackers telling you calories burned in a session and it's inaccurate.

It's off putting and it's not seeing the bigger picture and it's keeping you very focused and very round and around on that hamster wheel getting very obsessive, obsessive about numbers which, um, you, you don't need at all if you want to become fit and healthy and feel good, you, you don't need to be tracking any of this stuff.

And in fact, I will put forward the argument to you that it's keeping you away from all your lovely results and that's all that it's doing.

Um, and you know, this, this company, they went on to find out this study, they went on to find out that um even though so many people know that these numbers are inaccurate, that they'd be upset if they're removed.

And that's what these big tech companies are banking on.

They want you to have a relationship with these numbers.

These big tech companies want you to continue to want um uh being obsessed with these numbers.

So move away from that and be in the minority of people that rises up and sets themselves free, rise up and set yourself free from these numbers that are keeping you locked in these cycles.

Um Keto diet really, really bad, really discovers disordered eating.

And this is where uh Harvard University actually did a study on keto dieting.

And over the years doing it, it'll lead to kidney problems, uh increased risk of heart disease.

And um it's really, really, really bad for you.

What it tries to do is to get your body to burn fat stores instead of carbohydrate stores so to trick your body into burning fat stores.

Um But it's incredibly bad for you.

Um So really, you're, you're at a crossroads of whether you want to take care of your health and be healthy or whether you temporarily want to lose some weight by eating so few of the starchy carbohydrates and then to gain it all back and some.

Um and the last one is um something that rhymes with Zoom.

It's a big um nutrition app and it encourages you to weigh yourself daily, which again, focusing on that metric becoming very obsessive, becoming very all or nothing perfectionist thinking.

And it gives you a daily calorie budget and it recommends um to stick within those calorie budget, which is just so destructive for a woman.

It's my belief that it's so destructive for a woman on her journey, on her relationship with food and learning to love herself again, to be back into this gap.

You know that, you know that really cool book um The Gap or The Gain The Gap or the gain.

It's such a terrific book.

Uh Let me just see.

It was by Dan Sullivan and Doctor Benjamin Hardy.

And it, it, the whole book is about one of the biggest problems with people getting to where they want to be is that most people focus on the gap.

Most people focus on what they don't have what they're not doing.

And the only way to be successful is to focus on the gain and something I really believe wholeheartedly.

Um, looking at where you, how far you've come just the whole time looking at how far you've come and making your journey really positive.

You see the person you want to become and you're working towards that and you're getting towards becoming that person by only ever looking at how far you've come.

Whereas gap thinking is very much, I'm just going to lump the whole of diet culture and the weight loss industry.

It's much more focused on what you didn't do the steps, you didn't hit the, the calorie cap budget that you didn't hit.

Um And it, and it keeps you so focused on that gap.

I'm not, I'm not at my weight, my, my ideal weight on the scales.

I'm not hitting my step numbers.

I'm not eating the number of calories.

I should be.

I'm not burning off a certain amount of calories per day that I should be.

And this is what the weight loss industry is all about living in that gap.

And when you live in that gap, it can really um bring you into comparison mode.

So you're looking at your life and the gap that you have and you're comparing it to somebody else's ideal is the thing that you think that they have and how incredible their life is and it just makes you feel worse and worse about yourself.

So you're stuck in this cycle, you're negative about your health journey.

You don't get any results, you stay stuck in this same spot and you're relying on all these weight loss things to tell you what to do.

So they come out with a new recipe or they come out with a new way of tracking your food.

That's why the macronutrients went huge there for a while.

Getting right down into the detail of how many grams of protein that you you're eating.

And all it's doing is just trying to keep you trapped in that gap mode.

I really, really encourage you to let that way go to set yourself free to rise up and set yourself free from diet culture and to maybe acknowledge the fact that all of these are just symptoms that the things that you have going on, like maybe overeating, scrolling on your phone, staying up too late, seeking comfort outside of yourself, drinking too much wine at the weekends, taking only the time that's left at the end of the day for you time not having any boundaries working when you shouldn't be working counseling on yourself, using the weighing scales, dieting being hard on yourself.

Having a strong negative inner critic, stress people pleasing.

These are just symptoms of the bigger problem of a lack of love towards yourself.

And I put it to you that when you have love towards yourself, when you genuinely learn to love yourself again, you will automatically make time for yourself have boundaries, have hobbies, know what your likes and dislikes are, seek comfort from within, heal your relationship with food, enjoy movement, enjoy being healthy.

And it is that, that I put to you that you can't learn to love yourself and you can't possibly love yourself if you're stuck in the trap of diet culture with all of the stuff, all of those companies that want to keep you stuck, that want you to think that that food nutrition is your problem.

Nutrition is not your problem.

It's just a symptom of an underlying issue and it is my job to get you to maybe think that it's a lack of love you have for yourself that somewhere along the line you've either gone through something you've gone through a traumatic event, a tough time.

You were bullied, you're walking around with limiting beliefs.

Oh, I never stick with this.

I am encouraging you to break free from all that.

You, you can stick with what you want to.

If you stop telling yourself, you never stick with things.

You can rewrite the script.

You can become the director of your own life.

You know, you can, I used to drink bottles and bottles of wine at the weekend and restrict and diet so much.

I used to jump up and down on the weighing scales every single day.

I used to overeat and undereat.

I used to eat no carbs during the week and then binge eat as much as I could at the weekend, I used to be so hungover on a Sunday I could hardly move.

And the weight loss industry didn't heal what I needed to heal.

It was only when I learned to love myself again, did I set myself free?

And the first step in doing that, one of the first steps you can take is to get rid of diet culture once and for all, throw out the weighing scales, get rid of all the apps, get rid of anything that you find triggering.

Like like maybe you don't need to prep your food or maybe you don't need to be so super food focused.

Maybe you can, you can let that go.

Maybe it's time for you to let that go.

And the second is to create your avatar decide on the person you want to become years ago.

Two years ago, I wrote that I wanted to be fit and healthy.

I didn't want to be seeking comfort outside of myself.

I wanted to be my own source of comfort.

I wanted to learn how to mother myself.

I wanted to be a non drinker, not an ex-drinker or labeled in some way by drink.

Just I don't drink alcohol.

I wanted to be free from diet culture.

I wanted to be free from the shackles of obsessing food.

And I got there and the only way I got there was I kept the journey positive, not negative.

And I learned to love myself along the way.

I set boundaries.

I discovered what my likes and dislikes were again, all over again.

I started to focus on connection.

I started to pick up a couple of hobbies.

Most importantly, I decided to carve out time for myself during the week to exercise and to journal and to have a cup of coffee.

You can absolutely do this.

You can become fit and healthy and you can feel really good and those results that you want, like the side results like weight loss and feeling good on your clothes.

They're a by-product, they'll come keep the focus off that put up boundaries, ring fence me time, take care of yourself, figure out what your likes are and what your dislikes are.

Have hobbies, create your avatar and then when you have your avatar written, when you have the person you want to become and the action steps you'd love to become.

You'd love to embody.

Focus on the gain, not the gap as you're moving towards your avatar, just constantly look back at how far you've come and all the things that you're doing really well.

And any time you're thinking in a gap in a gap way like I'm not doing this, I don't have this say no, that's the gap.

I want to live in the game.

I want to be positive.

I want to love myself.

I want to take care of myself.

I want to enjoy myself I don't, all of a sudden want to try and figure out what my hobbies are.

You know, 10 years down the line when I feel desperate, I want to know what they are now.

I don't need to wait, I don't need to wait for work to get quieter or the kids to get older.

I'm going to nurture and develop a relationship with myself now.

And when you do that, you start to live your life in a really lovely way.

You start to just love every day, every day is great because you, you're, you're loving yourself.

It's not like, well, what weight am I today?

Life is too precious for that stuff.

You can draw a line in the sand.

You can draw a metaphorical line in the sand now or you can go and get a pen and paper and just draw a line in the sand.

You can go to your house, throw out your weighing scales.

I encourage you to do something symbolic to make this the day that you rejected diet culture, that you absolutely rejected diet culture, rejected it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode.

I really hope you got so much out of it.

I would love, love, love for you to leave a review.

Whatever you think of this podcast episode, all reviews are welcome on wherever you listen to your episodes, your podcast.

I would really, really appreciate it.

It just helps me get in front of more people.

And like always, I have a lovely um free guide for you five steps to unleashing your fitness and c you can go to Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash unleash or you can get on the waitlist to my coaching program.

Thrive academy, Jessica Cook dot ie forward slash coaching.

That's Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash coaching.

Thank you so much for listening.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode and you must let me know by getting in touch.

Don't forget you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot IE where you'll find lots of free stuff to get you started on your journey.

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About the author 

Jessica Cooke

I love drinking coffee, and my favourite thing in life (apart from my family) is to help women to get fit and break free from unhealthy habits holding them back. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

I’ve now supported over 6,779 women over 14 years in my Thrive Coaching Program get fit and break free from unhealthy habits!

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