Sometimes it feels like I haven’t been clear enough about my position on diets because perhaps you’ve never wandered over to my accessibility tab. In case it’s not obvious, there is a trigger warning associated with this post regarding diets and disordered eating. My natural position has always been one of balance but I have gotten lost many times over the course of my life. I grew up being viciously belittled by my mother about my weight for as long as I can recall. I remember being seven, stepping up on the toilet seat to look at myself in the medicine cabinet mirror that swung forward and hating what I saw. I felt shame and terror and disgust at the sight of my body. Once I got to eighth grade, at the advice of a family friend, I started to only eat an apple a day, foregoing all other meals. Then I ate again and my metabolism went haywire. There were a couple diets my mother thought were good ideas to encourage teenaged me to try, like the cabbage soup diet. Your participation in diet culture allows abuse like this to continue. I stopped eating again when I moved to Montreal for lots of reasons; mainly control-related ones. Then my best friend died along with a whole slew of other terrible things and by the time I emerged from the extreme bereavement and trauma in my new stable life, I didn’t recognize my physical self. Six years later, sometimes I still don’t. I struggle. I feel guilt for carrying the (not so) new (anymore) fat. I feel still feel shame for “letting” it happen. I logically know I didn’t let anything happen; it’s what my body decided to do but the cacophony from the world around me is endless, screeching, irritating, and overwhelming. I ask that you please get off the merry-go-round of body shaming, self hatred, and fatphobia.
There is no such thing as sustainable weight loss. Why is there always a new fad diet that promises just that? You know that diet that you tried, lost weight and then gained it back (and then some) because you fell off the horse? You didn’t fail – it did. They all do. Just stop. Make a decision right now to stop participating in a multi-billion dollar industry that is designed to make a profit out of you hating yourself.
Can you imagine for one moment how much collective energy we’d have if we stopped devoting so much thought to making ourselves (and other people for goodness sake) smaller? What if we started caring about things that actually mattered and assigned value to ourselves based on qualities and actions that improve the world around us? Do you realize the negative effect you have on the world around you every time you mention your new weight loss plan?
Some of the strategies I have in place are to avoid magazines and bloggers that do not show a variety of body sizes in a positive manner, watching less TV and movies, and ignoring all diet talk. Fill up those spaces with people and ideas that reinforce your commitment to moderate life and a healthy relationship with food and movement.
Make a promise to feed yourself in a healthful manner and move your body in ways that feel good to you. Love yourself enough to keep that promise to yourself. I have to renew this promise every day.