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Lessons from Stephanie Buttermore’s “All In” Journey

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For those of you who don’t know Stephanie Buttermore, she’s a fitness influencer who was best known for her insane cheat day videos where she easily ate up to 10,000 calories in one day. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, just think of the fit girl who could sit in her car and finish an entire box of doughnuts by herself. I can almost hear a resounding “ahh” through the screen.

I used to watch her cheat day videos in awe — how could such a small person eat so much? And I thought I had a big appetite! I was so inspired that I even tried her 10,000 calorie challenge for myself. I failed miserably and tapped out at 7,000 calories.

However, behind the smiles in the cheat day videos lay a harsh reality — a side of her she was not showing the world. That she was constantly tired, cold and hungry. She had the ideal body every woman would kill for, but she wasn’t happy. That’s when she decided that enough is enough, she was going “all in”. In essence, she was eating to full satiety everyday with no restrictions. Her main goal was to fix her hunger. She was so tired of feeling hungry and fatigued all the time that she took a leap of faith and bravely started on her “all in” journey. As a fitness influencer, I can only imagine how difficult it must’ve been for her to make that decision. Gaining weight would have massive repercussions on her career and her following. Even when I was struggling with binge eating and decided to give up all control over food to eat intuitively, the idea of weight gain scared the crap out of me. And I’m just a nobody.

Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned from following her amazing all-in journey:

1. Remember your why

If you’ve been jumping from one diet to the next only to feel like a failure when you put the weight back on, or you’ve been engaging in disordered eating behaviour and you’re constantly unhappy with your body — it’s time to call a truce with your body.

When you’re relearning how to listen to your body, you may overeat. You’ve been depriving yourself of the simplest pleasure of eating for so long that your body acts like an excited child eating ice cream for the first time. You’ll eat all the cake because your body doesn’t know if you’ll get to eat it again. All of this will inevitably result in some weight gain until your body finally realises that all the food you love are here to stay. Then you’ll stop acting so crazy around food. Before you reach this stage, you’ll have to go through the hardest part — coping with weight gain.

Gaining weight is not easy in a fatphobic society where we’ve been taught that being fat is bad. The fear of gaining weight, of being judged and knowing that you’ll never meet society’s standard of beauty may drive you to go back to your old ways. Dieting and restricting food from your life is comfortable because even if you’re unhappy with how your body looks right now, there’s still the promise that you’ll eventually get the body of your dreams. It’s just there on the horizons, within your reach. Giving up dieting is uncomfortable because you’ll have to accept the reality that the body you’ve always wanted is no longer within your grasp. This is a tough pill to swallow when diet culture has taught us that we’ll only be good enough if we’re skinny. When you commit to stop dieting, there will come a point in time where you’ll want to turn back and go back to what’s comfortable — the relentless pursuit of weight-loss.

When the tempting seductress of diet culture calls your name, Stephanie Buttermore stresses the importance of remembering your why.

Stephanie Buttermore was motivated by her desire to feel normal around food again. She didn’t want to go back to the dark days of feeling hungry all the time. So ask yourself the following questions:

Why do you want to stop dieting?

Why do you want to stop being afraid of food?

We all want to achieve the thin ideal, but at what cost?

If you’re constantly waging a war with food and your body at the expense of your quality of life and mental wellbeing, consider what you value more. When you decide to give up on the pursuit of weight-loss, never lose sight of your why. Don’t succumb to the lies of diet culture that your dream body is just within your grasp if you go on that last diet. There’s no miracle diet that will cure all the dissatisfaction you feel with your body.

2. Setpoint weight theory

She made a video explaining the science behind her “all in” journey. To summarise, all of us have a genetically predetermined weight range that our body wants to be at. Think of it as a thermostat. When our weight falls below the lower limit of that range, our body will fight against us to bring our weight back up to its natural setpoint. This means making us obsessed with food, releasing more ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and less leptin (the hormone that makes us feel full). These are biological responses that ensure that we maintain our weight in its natural weight range. Don’t hold it against your body, it can’t differentiate between a diet and actual starvation and is just trying to keep you alive!

Everything Stephanie Buttermore experienced is in line with this proven theory. When she was at her lightest, she was always thinking about food and constantly hungry. When she first went all in, she was eating 5000 calories a day. After gaining 35 lbs and overshooting her setpoint, her appetite decreased and she felt less hungry. She only needed ~2000 calories to feel full and satisfied. Her body naturally reduced her appetite to bring her weight back down to its natural range.

The next time you consider embarking on a new fad diet, keep in mind that your body will fight against you if you lose weight too quickly. So think twice before you decide to go on another diet. Trying to fight biology is an uphill battle you won’t win. More often than not, you’ll gain back the weight and then some.

3. Less is more

When it comes to exercising control over the food you eat, less is more. Ironically, the less you try to control the food you’re eating, the more self-control you have around food.

Stephanie Buttermore had a question addressed to her by a viewer on how she had the self-control not to finish an entire box of cookies after eating one. To this, she replied that she simply no longer has the desire to.

In the past, eating one doughnut would’ve triggered her to finish the entire box. For those of us who have been following her, the sight of her finishing a box of doughnuts in one sitting is not unusual. Now, she feels satisfied after having a couple of bites. The difference in her eating behaviour is most noticeable in her latest videos. In this one, she took a bite out of three doughnuts and put them away because she was craving turkey soup. In her Miami vlog, she shared her doughnuts with two other people and only took a couple of bites out of each. Who replaced Stephanie Buttermore with this imposter!

How often have we eaten one doughnut, told ourselves “fuck it, diet starts tomorrow” then proceed to finish all the doughnuts? This is known as “last supper eating” — eating as if it’s your last supper. When you know that you can have doughnuts anytime, you won’t engage in last supper eating because you know that it’s always there when you want it. Stephanie Buttermore no longer does cheat day videos, probably because when you allow yourself to have “bad” food anytime you want, you don’t need to dedicate an entire day to gorge on them. Oftentimes, the reason we lose control around food is that we don’t know when is the next time we can have it again. Giving yourself permission to eat is key to regaining control around food. The more you control food, the more food controls you.

4. Happiness does not hinge on your weight

In typical before and after shots, the model is seen looking unhappy in her before shot, then smiling widely in her after shot. That’s what diet culture is selling us! That losing weight is the key to being happy. We think to ourselves “when I lose weight, then I’ll be happy.” Truth is, if you’re not happy with who you are now, changing your exterior won’t make a difference. Your happiness is not conditional on the size of your body. By having this mentality, you’re essentially putting your happiness on hold for something that may or may not happen.

Stephanie Buttermore’s before and after shot is not the traditional one diet culture shows us. It’s like hers is in reverse — she was unhappy at her skinniest but happy at her heaviest. This shows that happiness does not hinge on your weight.

Happiness comes from within. And it starts right now.

Stephanie Buttermore has taught us how to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. She gave up dieting for a better quality of life and taught us the most important lesson of all — that we should never sacrifice our happiness and wellbeing just to look a certain way.

Source : Medium