Once again, trigger warning for those who may be offended by my honest talk about the ridiculousness of diet culture bullshit. Know that I love you AND it’s time for it to stop.
Just stop reading now if you want to. And know that I was caught up in this torturous way of believing at one time- it’s really hard not to be AND it is freeing to be in charge of your own mind. If you are interested in considering a different way to think and feel about yourself and your body, I invite you to sit with any discomfort you may be feeling and just let it be.
Most of us women ( and men) have grown up hearing messages that there is one right body type or that weight and BMI equals health ( do your own scientific research on this and/or follow Dr Joshua Wolrich and Dr Colleen Reichmann to name just a couple on FB and Instagram), that food has moral value and that we need to punish ourselves for eating “bad” by exercising or restricting or “dieting”- basically the underlying message is: You Are Not Good Enough.
It’s about that time for diet culture to strike even more obnoxiously because it’s January. Even that concept of “new year, new you” is a set up for failure. It’s black and white thinking – an all or nothing cognitive distortion – the reality is that you can choose to accept yourself as you are AND decide to make multiple daily decisions to make nutritional and physical movement choices that serve you well physically and mentally many times a day. And each day can be different depending on the complexities of humanity. And you don’t have to shame yourself for “cheating” or “making a bad choice.”
Y’all- For the love of all that is holy and good- this is all lies. If diets worked, why do most people have to continue to diet? And why can’t we be accepting of all humans with different types of bodies? Diet culture- INDUSTRY- wants your money. Our collective body shame keeps them in business. There is no one right pill or cleanse or ‘whatever bullshit next new thing’ to lose weight and actually maintain that weight loss effectively- either you will gain back even more AND/OR develop an eating disorder. Remember: I am a therapist who actually works with real humans -males and females-with these issues. Eating disorders are RAMPANT and are starting at earlier ages- this is TRAGIC. Research supports this. Unless you are someone like me who has an autoimmune disorder or cancer and/or food allergies/sensitivities, there is no one right way to eat. Research proves and most educated doctors will tell you BMI is meaningless. Thin does not equal healthy- OBVIOUSLY. I am a living example of this fact. Insert laughing and crying emoji here.
And you can exercise because it feels good to you physically and mentally and to celebrate what your body can do. It is empowering to move your body because you want to and not because you HAVE to because you nourished yourself with food and thus must punish yourself by burning it off. Humans need food. It is an actual necessity. This should not be a difficult concept to understand. Science supports the common sense reality of the restrict then binge cycle. Meaning the more you restrict, you will eventually binge, and then you will experience the shamestorm which will tell you to restrict and/or over- exercise and/or purge and thus the cycle of suffering will continue. Not to mention the obsessive thoughts of food when you are entrapped in this lifestyle.
I am weary and sad that so many people, young people and old people, struggle with eating disorders and disordered thinking about food and their bodies. Just recently, I have seen eating disordered thinking and messages on actual “therapeutic” Facebook pages- and yes, I called them out and commented something like, “ Let’s not promote diet culture, please.” And-No, I did not use cuss words even though I wanted to – so so much.
Do some of your own research on HAES and Intuitive Eating. Plenty of evidence-based studies and books and practitioners are out there.
Consider unfollowing the Fitspo inspirational crap that promotes eating disordered behavior. What might it feel like to give yourself permission to accept your body- just even a smidge at a time or one part of it? What if we all untethered ourselves from the false narratives we have been brainwashed into believing and that have been passed down generationally? What if we could have compassion for ourselves and our bodies instead of always trying to shame ourselves and by knowing our appearance is not all that determines our worth? What if we made conscious choices to change our language and perspectives about this serious issue so that we can give our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren ( not to mention our own damn selves) the gift of peace and self acceptance and the intrinsic knowledge that their ( and our) worth as humans is not solely related to what they ( or we) weigh or what they ( or we) look like?
May we all practice embracing ourselves as the multidimensional and unique souls that we actually already are as humans each and every day, as many times as we want to or need to each and every day, one day at a time.