LU 026: Melissa Toler – Bring sanity back to the way you eat, train and look at yourself.

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Lovely radicals… it’s podcast time!

In today’s episode of the “Life. Unrestricted.” podcast, I talk to Melissa Toler, from Maryland, close to Washington DC.

She is a certified health and wellness coach, speaker and writer, with a background as a pharmacist who offers a non-diet, weight-neutral health approach, and her goal is to help women connect the dots between our culture’s ridiculous beauty standards and our personal struggle with self-acceptance. She helps women unlearn the toxic messages and behaviors from lifelong dieting so they can learn a new set of skills and live a life free from obsession and self-loathing. Having a 25-year history with dieting herself, she knows personally what it means to be stuck in the diet-binge-cycle. She came to sanity a few years ago, and she says it was one of the best decisions she has ever made. I believe her. Melissa also teaches workshops and courses to help people on the path to improving their body image. We will all get some of here awesomeness in this episode!
Listen to Melissa talk about:
– Where she got the message that her body was “not good enough”
– What the moment was where she internalized the belief that she needed to change her body
– Why she got stuck in this well-known hell of weight-suppression, dieting and overexercising for so long
– What it was that made her wake up and learn to listen to her own body again
– What helped her to question her own thinking and see behind the mechanism of diet-culture and how much money is being made by making women feel “less than”
– Why it literally pays off to be hypercritical of media’s, TV’s and magazines’ messages
– Why by buying beauty/women’s magazines and diet books/products, we vote “yes” to our oppression with our own money
– Why we all need other people to help wake us up to what we have gotten so used to that we never stop to question it
– Why it is always a good idea to be suspicious of the words “body positive” or “empowered woman”, especially as it is being viciously co-opted by diet-culture these days
– What TRUE empowerment means
– What proved to be most helpful on her way out of constant dieting
– How she helps women re-connect to their true selves – How we can learn and implement the skill of self-compassion even when it sounds weird at first
– How we can start questioning our thoughts with curiosity instead of judgment
– How to decode what’s behind it when the “urge” to go on a diet comes up
– How we can stop the diet-thoughts from influencing our decisions
– How she helps her clients see where they have been mislead into “false” thinking about themselves being “not good enough”, and who profits off of that
– How much precious time in a person’s life can literally be wasted by getting stuck in diet-land, being preoccupied by weight-loss, body-negativity and obsession
– Why a person’s size never tells us anything about their health and the dangers of equating “thin” to “healthy”
– Why it is important to understand the sinister mechanism of diet-culture and how this can help us stepping out of old beliefs
– Why stepping out of diet culture is a truly radical move…

… And so much more!

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Hasta la vista, sad old New Year’s resolutions! Voilà: Better ideas to start a new year/week/day with.

Hey, lovely radicals!

Thank you all for your wonderful feedback for my last podcast episode on marketing literacy and better ideas for New Year’s resolutions. The responses have made my eyes swim.

A lot of you have asked for a written version as a handy reminder. Great idea!
(I’ll make it two posts, though, for length-reasons. Let’s tackle the resolutions first.)

Tadaaaa! January—the international month of mass-dieting—is ahead.
So here it comes thundering in again, the usual tsunami of the same old, diet-y New Year’s resolutions. What a biiiig surprise (yawn): Only 243’039’472 differently packaged versions of
“Just do THIS and happiness is yours!” Did you notice? All they are is a serving of “copy-paste” from last year, the year before, and the many years before that!—Some new products, some new gadgets… but the same crap all over: The message that we need to fix ourselves to be acceptable and—conveniently attached to it—any number of ideas how to go about that.

Enough already!

Sadly, they still get clicks. In fact, the more weight-loss-promising they are, the more clicks they get. That only shows how successfully the idea that “thin is better” has been marketed to us over the past decades.
After all the different ways this idea has been presented to us—anything from “Heroin-chic” to “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to “Fitspo”, including the viciously spreading trend “Healthy is the new skinny”—millions of people have now come to believe that “healthy” has a LOOK! That “healthy” has a number on the scale.
(—How convenient for disordered eaters to hide their weight-loss-obsession behind: “Oh, I just want to be healthy!”)
People are now subscribing to ideas of clean eating, believing that this is the magic bullet to health, even if it often leads them into very dark rabbit holes of orthorexia and—funny, huh?—very unhealthy states. Sadly, this trend is rampant and turns women and girls into obsessed, rule-based, fearful, compulsive eaters that are anything BUT healthy or happy.
(Needless to say that if all of these trends didn’t promise some sort of weight-loss, we wouldn’t be as obsessed and clinging to all the ways “health” is now being marketed to us:
Cleanses, Paleo, Raw, Clean Eating, Multi-Level-Marketing schemes like “Beach Body” and all its nasty cousins, any number of weight-loss-challenges, and the gazillion of differently wrapped ideas that keep creeping into our feeds and burn themselves on to our already compromised hard drives.)

When all that matters is how we look and how others perceive us, we end up giving up our power and we end up ready and willing to try everything, no matter the cost.
Now matter how UN-healthy and miserable it makes us.

So. New Year’s resolutions.

Let me gently open the lid of my internal garbage grinder and enjoy the lovely sound of all of those little bastards being torn to shreds.

Aaaaaaah. Relief.
And now that the table is clear, let’s rewrite that script, shall we?
So, for the fun of it, as an emergency backup or just for inspiration, let’s create some NEW, sustainable, kind, game-changing New Year’s resolutions.
Since everything in our life has been about “have to“s and “gotta get to“s, “should“s and “no more“s—and we’ve all been running ourselves into the ground with these—THIS time, we’re going to abandon that sinking self-flagellation ship and make our list about PERMISSION. (Yep. The thing we think about least.)

Here are some of my ideas for now and forever after; take as many as you wish!

Some last words before I go:
You have permission to just be you, and to try to be as kind to yourself as you can.
We all deserve more freedom and joy, and this is a good time to allow some of that in, instead of opening the door to mood-darkening messages and self-defeating thoughts.

You deserve it.

You matter.

—And to prevent any sort of diet-mentality from creeping back into our minds after New Years Eve, you can count on me; I’ll be back January 2, with a new podcast episode with a wonderful guest who knows everything about kindness, especially when it comes to how we live with our bodies.
Good stuff is coming your way, radicals.
See you on the other side!








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