With 5 hours of presentations, the Your Weight Matters 2023 Virtual Convention reached more than 1500 people around the world.
I’d like to share some highlights from one of the talks given by clinical health psychologist Robyn Pashby on the topic of body positivity and weight management and how to find the middle ground between the two.
Dr. Pashby does a wonderful job of presenting how more than one thing can be true in your quest to improve well-being:
- You CAN have respect for your body and appreciate how it functions today
- You CAN work on managing weight better to improve health
To help individuals bridge the gap between body positivity and weight management, here are some of Dr. Pashby’s suggestions:
1-Leave the Diet Culture Behind
She talks about how the diet culture’s pre-occupation with thinness is not the same as following healthful weight management practices.
Adopting a science-based approach to treating the disease of obesity and improving well-being is an option to consider.
2-Emotions, Body Image and Body Acceptance are Complex
At the beginning of the talk, Dr. Pashby acknowledged the sensitive and emotionally-charged nature of this topic.
For anyone who has been struggling with weight, she recognized that it’s common for one’s feelings about body weight, body image and body acceptance to fluctuate, feeling good one moment and then having negative self-talk the next.
Practicing self-compassion while working on improving self-talk can help people heal as they let go of self-blame.
3-Shift the Focus from Body Positivity to Appreciate How Your Body Functions
Dr. Pashby gave examples to appreciate all the ways your body functions:
- If you have functioning lungs, it allows you to breathe in oxygen
- If you have functioning legs, it allows you to walk your dog
- If you are involved in creative endeavors, it allows you to knit, sing or dance
- If you’re able to sit quietly, it allows you to rest when tired
4-Work with Your Own Body and Health as they are Today
Know that we all age and we all experience illness and weight changes over time.
By starting with acceptance for where we are today, we can set small goals to work toward achieving better health.
If you missed the virtual event and want to view Dr. Pashby’s and the other speakers’ excellent presentations, you can purchase access to the Your Weight Matters 2023 Virtual event recordings here.
Thanks Dr. Pashby for helping us bridge the gap on this complex topic!
Robert Kushner, MD