24 Ideas To Enhance Body Positivity Without Body Shame

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How To Enhance Body Positivity Without Getting Trapped In Body Shaming

I just went with the flow. I had a whole lesson planned out but life had different plans.

I had no idea we were going to talk about ‘body shame’ which is at the heart of Intuitive Eating.

I am so excited to share with you this episode with Linda Tucker. I believe this conversation with Linda provided the ‘key’ for me to deepen my understanding of Intuitive Eating in a much more resonant and powerful way than before.

In the episode I share a bit about my struggles with shame. If you’ve been listening to the podcast before or reading my articles, you know I’m pretty open with shame, in part because of my experience of sharing in Overeaters Anonymous. It’s my core problem.

But … BODY shame, specifically, was never my problem. So I always felt a little distant from Intuitive Eating Principle 8 of Respecting Your Body, which addresses body shame.

But fortunately, I was speaking to the exact right expert in the field, Coach Linda Tucker, a vibrant woman who I highly recommend you check out! She also made the graphic of the banana split too – a true artist!

Linda was able to give me (and you when you listen) the key to understanding shame.

Shame is what prevents people from becoming an Intuitive Eater!!!

I see this so clearly now. How did I not see this deep, relevant and powerful connection before?

As I write this, I feel the creeping familiar feeling of shame and embarrassment – how did I not see this before? Yet as Linda so beautifully brought up in the podcast, we just need to reject this thoughts/feelings that tell us we are unworthy.

So for me, now as a I write, I release the thought/feeling that I am not worthy. And when some of the guilty feeling stays and lingers on, I practice compassion with myself for being a human being on planet earth, steeped in a culture of shame.

Shame is prevalent. It’s reinforced by our relationships, our doctors, billboards and magazines. The message is the same – you are not good enough as you are …

And as Linda powerfully pointed out, the message of shame is also LIFE THREATENING. This isn’t just hippie nonsense about shame.

Shame activates regions in the brain because we experience shame whenever we feel rejected. Back hundreds of years ago, rejection from the tribe meant death! So shame is a life-or-death feeling that’s incredibly powerful.

Shame is what keeps us from honoring our hunger, because out shame springs fear that if we honor our hunger, our body’s will betray us. If our body’s betray us, then we are out of control. If we lose control, we won’t be able to manage our lives.

Shame is the underlying problem, hidden underneath the layers.

So how did I begin with the Intention to speak about Unconditional Eating, but end up exploring shame?

I began the podcast by asking about how Linda overcame her problems like:

  • How Linda overcome fatigue
  • How Linda healed from dieting
  • How Linda connected with her body for more energy

Yet my curiosity peaked when Linda said her biggest enlightenment, her biggest insight was regarding ‘body shame’.

I couldn’t resist exploring. The vibrant energy with which Linda spoke …

I knew she had a goldmine of wisdom to share! I felt the spirit of ‘genuine curiosity’ in my veins and I had to learn more!

So in the moment, I completely forgot about my plan to talk about Unconditional Eating.

I felt my soul resonating with her description of shame, and how to overcome shame. I hope your soul resonates too. She really is legit and knows so much about this field and has a ton of experience working with people. She’s great!

Below is a quick audio snippet and transcript of my conversation with Linda. Further below is the entire podcast, and then below the podcast is a stream of conscious I wrote as I re-listened to the podcast. These ‘enlightenments’ are my own.

How To Enhance Body Positivity Without Body Shaming 1-min Audio

Linda Tucker > “The first principle of intuitive eating, which I would say is the most crucial one, which  you have to keep coming back to over and over again, is rejecting the Diet mentality.”

“Rejecting the thoughts that pop into your mind that continue to tell you ‘should’ and this and really not saying love.”

“There’s so many ways that I think the wording of intuitive eating is brilliant and this is one of them. It’s rejecting. It’s not stopping, it’s not getting rid of. These thoughts are going to come up. It’s our job, it’s the job of the Higher Self…”

“It’s our job, it’s our responsibility, it’s our compassionate choice, a kind choice to meet those diet thoughts and then say, I no longer choose to participate with that.”

This is a practice, a skill, a way of living mindfully – and it’s worth it.

My Biggest Enlightenment Insights With Linda Tucker Based On This Eating Interview

  1. It is difficult to admit you have a problem with food!
  2. You don’t nourish yourself only through food, you can nourish and ‘eat’ other things that fuel your body like movement, relationships, spirituality
  3. Unconditional Permission to eat is the foundation of Intuitive Eating, and Intuitive Eating is the way you were born to eat. You don’t need to reteach yourself anything, you need uncover what is already there! You are already whole, you already have the innate ability to become an Intuitive Eater!
  4. Unconditional eating includes chocolate too!
  5. You have that ability within you to be normal with food!
  6. Linda’s big ‘aha’ moment was realizing she would have to deal with body shame.
  7. Linda believes (and I agree) that you must work on your body shame while learning Intuitive Eating, otherwise you’ll turn Intuitive Eating into a diet!
  8. Shame is at the core, the belief that you are unworthy of love and belong IF you don’t behave/think a certain way.
  9. Shame is perpetuated with women around their body and being a mother.
  10. Body shame might manifest as shame regarding weight, appearance, how body functions, clothes, etc.
  11. Linda’s journey involved feeling unworthy because of her chronic illness. She felt that people were judging her, along with her own dislike of her body … a ‘nasty stew of I’m not good enough’.
  12. Body shame is the root of struggling with Intuitive Eating. Because if you are struggling with Intuitive Eating, you won’t be able to embrace the hunger and unconditional eating if you have body shame.
  13. Shame is the fear of not being love, or the actual feeling of not being loved
  14. Shame manifests as People Pleasing, Performing, and Perfectionism
  15. If we fear that our body’s will cause us to lose love, it’ll be hard to embrace Intuitive Eating.
  16. Shame is LIFE THREATENING. Shame means death. These concepts are real. Body shame, diet culture, etc … these lead us to have messages that our body’s – if our body’s don’t look a certain way – that we will lose love.
  17. There is an internal battle going on. On one hand you may recognize diet culture is going on and you don’t want to participate in it. However, there is deep seated conditioning around body shame. Body shame is an internalization that you will be rejected from the group, which has been conditioned over time.
  18. Body shame is perpetuated through doctors, family members, friends – who are saying the basic message of “I don’t like you in your fat body” or “Your fat body will make me reject you.”
  19. It’s not your fault you have body shame. You live in a culture where body shame is the norm. You live in a culture where shame is perpetuated. You are going to have shame!!! That’s to be expected.
  20. Shame is not a problem you get rid of.
  21. There’s no such thing as getting rid of shame forever. You have neurobiology, you live in a culture with shame… so you will have shame! So, cut yourself some slack.
  22. So you will experience shame or disruptions around body shame, however the key is to expect these disruptions as a part of being in this culture. The key to adapt to this is cultivating compassion.
  23. Rejecting the thoughts that come into your mind about dieting. All the thoughts like “should”. Rejecting does NOT mean stopping or getting rid of. These thoughts are going to come up. It our job, it our Higher Self, who must make the compassionate choice to meet those diet thoughts and say “I no longer choose to participate with those thoughts”
  24. Self care is great … massages and so forth. Relaxing music. It’s great. But you don’t always have the time to use self-care. However, you can be self-compassionate at any time.

Linda also mentions during the podcast a few resources to deal with shame. She mentions that there is a scientific model around shame, revolving around seeing shame as a resiliency, rather than something you eliminate entirely. She mentions Brene Brown’s work in this field.

Like a true champion of the Intuitive Eating movement that she is, Linda also gave me some materials for further review after our conversation. Here are they are for you to enjoy as well 🙂

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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