How do I know my weight set range?

I know so many people, despite being ready to ditch diets, are very worried about their weight.

So, today we’re going to tackle weight set range, sometimes called weight set point. I like to refer to it as a weight set range because I don’t believe it’s a fixed point, but rather a range with wiggle room.

Your weight set range is the genetically determined weight range where your body feels the most comfortable and runs most optimally.

Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys

The key phrase here is genetically-determined. Your DNA accounts for 80% of your body composition in terms of what we try to control–your size, your shape, your weight. Diet and exercise only contribute to 20%. They’re not the end all, be all of your size, contrary to what diet companies might tell you.

And yes, sometimes there are people who have these incredible weight loss stories–losing 50, or 100 pounds and they look happy and fit. But there are some things to consider here. First, are they restricting. Are they working out super intensely every day for hours? Are they really happy? It’s one thing to smile and look happy, it’s another thing to be happy.

And at what part of their journey are they? Are we seeing them five years after they hit their goal weight? Have they maintained this long-term? Or is this a fresh-reveal when the endorphins are high and they’re on cloud 9 from finally reaching the goal.

The thing about weight loss like this is it makes you happy for maybe a few weeks, until you realize that happiness won’t last. That the weight loss wasn’t what you were looking for. So you move the target, you create a new weight goal, and so on and so forth. But now many times can you do that before you realize: no matter what weight I’m at, THAT’S not what is going to make you happy.

So, that’s really the first step to weight set range work: is realizing that it’s a range that’s largely out of your control, and even if you can beat your body into submission, it would be a life-long battle to maintain it, and it won’t actually be the thing to make you happy. You really have to divorce yourself from the idea that an ideal weight will make you happy and that the pursuit of that weight is necessary to be a worthwhile, happy human being.

A lot of clients also ask, “How do I know what I’m at my weight set range?”

There are some characteristics of weight set range.

  1. You are no longer restricting. You are listening to your hunger and fullness? If you are, you are probably at your weight set range. Are you still waiting for scripted times to eat? Are you still counting calories or macros? Are you still weighing yourself? If the answer is yes to any of these, you’re probably not at your weight set range.
  2. You feel energized. When you’re on a diet, you feel exhausted, tired, irritable, out of control of your cravings. When you’re intuitive eating, you feel energized but relaxed and more at ease.
  3. You are moving for pleasure. You’re not punishing yourself with exercise to change your body to a thin ideal. You’re not nauseated and ready to pass out. You’re not doing certain exercises because those are what you’re “supposed” to do.

It also is worth saying that everyone’s weight set range is different DESPITE HEIGHT AND AGE. Height and age play a hand in weight set range, but not everyone at age 35 or everyone who is 5’4″ will have the same weight set range. Genetically, we have more or less muscle mass, propensity for fat, bone density, etc.

BMI is BS…but that’s a different conversation for a different day.

It might really devastate some people whose weight set ranges are higher than others. You may grieve the thin body you were hoping for. But know that what you were searching for with that thin body is available to you now. Yes, diet culture and it’s thin privilege and fatphobia exist and that’s something you’ll have to acknowledge and contend with (again, a discussion for a different day), but happiness, life fulfillment, a family, great friends, kids, a kicka$$ job, whatever you’re looking for in your life…is available to you NOW. You just have to realize that and go for it.

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana

Six Ways to Set Boundaries

Boundaries around diet talk are essential for healing.

Many of us don’t want to create these necessary boundaries because we don’t want to be seen as “weak” or sensitive. These are considered bad things…that we can’t just “deal with” what other people have to say.

First of all, part of this work has to do with forgetting what other people think of you. It’s irrelevant. You’re the one who has to live with you, not them. They have to live with themselves and you have to live with you. Caring about other people only serves to perpetuate their messages in our own lives. We need to move away from other people’s messages and concentrate on our own.

So boundaries are important.

Because if we keep hearing diet culture’s messages, we can never stop believing them.We never stop believing that they are fact. And so we keep following them. We need consistent repetition of new messages to create neural pathways so if we don’t put boundaries around those messages and the things and people that perpetuate them, we stay stuck in our recovery.

Who in your life do you need to create boundaries around?

How much do you want to bet that you’re thinking about the people closest to you?

And what’s most difficult, knowing that those are the people who need the most boundaries. They are close to you, they love you, and therefore, they believe they have the right to say whatever they want to you if they believe it’s in your best interest. But we know they’re usually just as steeped in diet culture as anyone else. And they will be the people who take boundaries the least. They may protest, they may tease you, they may blow you off because they only know you how they’ve always known you, as past you, not future bad ass you. so it’s hard for them to adjust.

But luckily, I’m here to teach you a few ways to help with that.

Here are six ways to set boundaries around diet talk.

Write down conversational triggers/ what you’re not willing to tolerate✨

How do you feel about compliments regarding certain body parts? Your weight? How do you feel about conversations that include numbers? Is discussing weights, calories, or macros triggering? What about diet conversations? Figure out what you can and cannot handle in terms of conversation, actually write it down so you can feel it. As you think of each kind of scenario you may come up against, see how you feel in your body. Do you get a pit in your stomach? Do your shoulders tense up? Those are the topics you want to avoid.

✨If the talk is happening as part of a larger gathering (e.g. party), walk away. ✨

Go to the bathroom, grab a drink, talk to someone else–whatever you have to do to physically remove yourself from the situation.  This strategy is for those who know they need to filter the narratives around them but aren’t necessarily ready for actual confrontations. Quietly excusing yourself is absolutely acceptable. If you’re at a dinner table and the people to your left start talking about diet-related things, physically turn your body to the right and see what those people are talking about. 

Don’t get defensive ✨

If people feel attacked, the logical part of their brain shuts down and the, quite literally, can’t hear what you’re saying. Sometimes, especially if someone is being critical, you want to come back with fighting words. What does THAT mean? Why would you say that? We won’t want to be defensive because that puts people’s guards up, too, and then no one is really hearing what anyone is saying. It shuts down meaningful, productive conversation instead of facilitating it. Part of the reason we can get defensive is because, deep down, we still believe diet culture’s lies, too. Still, it’s not exactly fair to go into attack mode. For one, they’re also a casualty of diet culture’s messages; and two, the fact you still believe diet culture’s messages is not their problem–it’s yours. 

Write down responses ahead of time

This may feel silly but if you know what you’d say in certain situations, you’ll feel more confident sticking up for yourself and you’ll say them with more conviction, instead of stumbling on your words.  Write down what you think future disordered conversations will be like based on what they’ve said in the past. What will they say and what will you say back?

✨Be “punny” (lighthearted with your request for boundaries)✨

Although setting boundaries is a serious matter in terms of setting yourself up for recovery success, you don’t have to sound so serious. Laughter and humor are great ways to disengage the offending party and have them be more open to heeding your requests.

UNWELCOME COMMENT: “You’re going to eat all that?”

RESPONSE: “Yup, can’t topple the patriarchy on an empty stomach!”

UNWELCOME COMMENT: “Have you lost weight?”

RESPONSE: “Yup, the weight of other people’s opinions on my weight.” 

Anti-diet registered dietician and intuitive eating coach Jessi Jean has a really great “Dear Body” podcast episode with a few more similar responses that are truly hilarious, yet effective.

✨Be ready to let go of relationships✨

Some people are so wrapped up in their own thoughts, beliefs and wants (and diet culture), that they won’t want to or be able to fulfill your request. You’ll have to learn to let these people go. We only want people in our lives that will support what makes us our best selves, and we know that people pleasing (keeping people around even if they’re toxic) doesn’t serve us. We may fear we are being “oversensitive,” that we should just be able to let things go, that it’s not that big of a deal; but it is. Your mental health and happiness are huge deals, and you have every right to safeguard them, while asking others who supposedly care about you to do the same. They might not understand your journey, your requests, or how they themselves are wrapped up in diet culture, but they should still be willing to respect your requests. If they can’t do that for you, they’re not meant to be in your lives in the first place.

Everything becomes boring…

So many clients tell me they’re scared of reintroducing fear foods back into their diets. They’re afraid to eat chocolate or bread because if they allow those foods again, they’ll never stop eating them; and if they never stop eating them, they’ll gain more and more weight, forever.

This is a super normal fear to have. Of course, when something is forbidden or a special occasion, we want it even more. I haven’t traveled in three years because of pregnancy and then the pandemic, so suffice to say, I am CRAVING a vacation. Any vacation.

My favorite place in the world is Disney World. I’m able to go once every couple of years, and when I’m not there, I’m fantasizing about being there or reminiscing about times I was there; because it’s not an everyday, or even every year, event.

When I was in my eating disorder, I used to binge a lot when I went out to dinner with my family or friends. There would be food there that I wouldn’t normally keep in the house. I would order something I’d normally never make for myself. And I would binge on it because I knew this was the only time I’d allow myself to have it, so I would have to eat the entire thing, despite whether I was already full. I would eat past the point of fullness because of my scarcity mindset. This food and this opportunity would be gone so I had to get my fill now.

Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys

Habituation is when we expose ourselves to something so much that it becomes routine and not special.

A new job

A new video game

A new love interest

Saying, “I love you.”

Kissing.

These are all things that lose their magic (admit it!) when we’ve done them a million times.

So here’s the big question:

Why do you think your fear foods are any different?

I eat chocolate every, single day. I eat ice cream several times a week. I have wine every week. I have carbs with most meals. These things don’t have the power over me that they once did, because I know I can have them whenever I want. Sure, they’re still delicious but I don’t have this overwhelming, anxiety-inducing pull to binge on them all day, every day.

A lot of this process is trust. You have to trust that you will get to the point of habituation. And it DOES take time! At first, as I did, it’s likely you will eat more of those foods than you feel comfortable with. Yes, you might gain weight. But the LONG-TERM healing, to be able to have the power that food has, all food seems to have, over you go away? That’s worth some temporary discomfort and learning to once again live with that food.

You’ll actually be able to enjoy it!

So, trust the process. Your fear foods WILL become boring to you.

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana

Intuition: What is it and how to trust it?

What is INTUITION? 💡 

It’s your natural, instinct. It’s your innate knowledge that you were born with.

Have you ever wondered why bears just seem to know they need to hibernate or lions just know to travel in packs? This is intuition, instinct.

For us, when we need to pee, we go to the bathroom. If we need oxygen, we breathe. If we’re tired, we sleep.

So it only stands to reason, if you’re hungry, YOU NEED TO EAT.  

Hunger is one of the body’s biological signals. Contrary to what diet culture might have you believe, hunger isn’t your body trying to sabotage your efforts; it’s your body telling you it needs energy and nourishment in order to be truly healthy.

So, in order to be authentically healthy and happy, we have to listen to ALL it’s signals.  

Since the body can’t talk, those signals you feel are the only way it can tell you what you need.

And everyone’s needs are different. 

Some people can eat big meals and not eat again for six hours.

Some people feel better when they graze every two hours.

As I said in a recent post, all things in life are neutral until we assign meaning to them. How your body consumes food (bigger, fewer meals vs. grazing) is neutral until you decide to make it mean something bad or good about you or your body.

If you’ve been dieting for a really long time, you might not even know how to listen to your body, instead of the messages and suggestions of diet culture. So here are a few ways to tap into your intuition.

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana

It’s okay to be where you are

For some, this may make sense, if you believe in God or some sort of cosmic being.

For others, this may anger you.

For those who have been through traumatic childhoods or traumatic events, you may think, “How could that have been meant for me?”

I’ve been listening a lot to Brooke Castillo and what she says about the past really helped me make peace with my own.

If what happened to you in the past was meant to happen any other way, it would have. When I was in my teens and 20s I went through an on and off again relationship that never got great closure; and I always wondered what could’ve been.

Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys

But I have to take solace in knowing that I made the best decisions I could, in those moments. Those events were meant to happen based on the circumstances and beliefs of everyone at that moment. It couldn’t have happened any other way, because it DID happen that way.

That’s not to say that we don’t have control over our lives, because I absolutely think we do. 

But what’s happened to us in our past has happened to us. There’s no changing those events. The ONLY thing we can do is CHOOSE how we will let it affect us NOW, in this moment.

We also have to keep in mind that everything that happens to us is neutral. A breakup, weight gain, a lost friendship, a lost job… it’s all neutral until we assign an emotion to those thing or until we make them mean something; and usually we make it mean something about us.

I lost that job because I’m not talented enough.

He left me because I’m not thin/pretty enough.

When something happens to you, take a pause and think, “What am I making this mean?”

What’s happened to you thus far is now neutral because it’s in the past. It already happened. There’s nothing that can be done about it. What can be done, now, is what you make it mean in your present.

Will you let your past events define who you are and how you show up in this world? Or will you CHOOSE to say that you are more than those moments and you ARE the captain of your own ship?

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana