I truly feel outraged towards the diet industry and everything diet culture stands for. It is a system of oppression (of many we live in, sadly) that makes so much money from selling you the idea that you need to change your body. It's all about how you look, rather than what's inside, what you do (as in your actions, not for work) and what kind of a person you are... Well, your shape, size or ability/disability does not equal your worth or value as a human being. We are all different and that is beautiful, it should be celebrated and we should be curious about each others' stories. Not judge and discriminate based on looks.
I also find it scary what depth many of us go into to adhere to the current beauty idea that is pushed upon us by the media (an excellent channel for diet culture). We started to normalise behaviours like dieting, restricting to the point of starving ourselves, and obsessively overexercising to change our looks (just to mention a few..) that are so very disordered, not to mention can be dangerous and detrimental to your mental & physical health.
For the latter paragraph, most people would say: oh but I am not that bad, you know.. I mean I don't starve myself or anything... and anyway, why would dieting be so bad, how is that unhealthy if getting thin is the way to be healthy?
Take a deep breath and read on.
For starters, pretty much all dieters think they're "not that bad" - I am only restricting the "bad stuff".. yeah, sometimes I can't stop binging on all that "bad stuff" but oh well, as long as I allow myself a "cheat day" that's fine, right? I'll go work it off at the gym!!
My question is if you need a "cheat day" to manage to exist, otherwise, you devour your kitchen in one fell swoop in a moment of "weakness" then how is this sustainable for you? If you need to cheat on something is it truly working?
The second point I would make is on diets and dieting. Diets Do Not Work. Moreover, dieting is the best predictor of weight gain (not that there is any problem with weight gain). There I said it. And you could go: oh that's good because I am not dieting. I am just watching what I eat/I am just careful with sugar/I am just eating clean/I am just ... (insert some other explanation with means dieting - intermittent fasting is my favourite, or say "it's a lifestyle, not a diet" - that's great too!).
I know you may feel really hurt right now, maybe even angry for what I dared to say, but think for a second. If diets worked would you have to be going on a thousand different ones to "reach your target weight"? Would the diet industry be worth hundreds of billions of dollars? Probably not. It's made-up, just very good marketing to take your money.
My third, and final point is around the whole very much flawed idea that the thinner you are the healthier you are. This is very problematic. And we call it weight bias/stigma (they are not quite the same but I will use them together). Weight bias/stigma is negative beliefs about and attitudes (discriminatory behaviours) toward individuals because of their weight. You might have experienced this with your GP or in other healthcare settings. The first thing when you go in to see your GP is to be weighed, right? Weight bias, right there. Then if whatever issue you came in with the answer is (or part of it) "You should lose some weight" (like that resolves everything...) what you're hearing is weight bias again. Getting a bit angrier now? (I am pretty worked up, to be honest even writing about this stuff).
So to be clear, weight does not equal health. Your health is not determined by your shape or size. You can be truly healthy and live in a bigger body at the same time. Moreover, you can be healthier than a thin individual even though you live in a bigger body. I know, you are probably thinking: yes, but being "overweight" causes so many health issues... a-a, let me stop you there. Remember weight bias? Remember the diet industry? These two (can call it diet culture) are so well integrated into healthcare, especially among medical professionals that we don't even realise it. Lots of studies about health concerns that are said to be connected to weight were funded by the weight loss/diet industry or people who make a lot of money from producing results that benefit their business within these industries. They have a horse in the race! So if I had a business that sold weight loss programmes (diets), I would benefit hugely from funding a study that will show results which will make you buy my programme. Pretty nasty I think.
I am almost done, just one more point. Restricting and starving yourself (dieting) can cause so much more damage to your overall health than being "overweight". Weight cycling is dangerous, it puts enormous stress on all systems of your body and can be the cause of some long-term diseases (heart, kidney, liver etc). Not to mention how sad and awful it feels when you can't have that squishy, fudgy chocolate brownie you so love. You should be able to have everything you love and enjoy eating, food is wonderful. So f**k diet culture for telling you you can't have something so great!
And now is the time to get truly angry! I ask you to please, get angry! Get angry with me, about how much money diet culture made you spend, how much bs diet culture fed you, and how awful, worthless and miserable it made you feel. Get angry about how hungry and deprived you feel all the time, how tired and burnt out you are from abusing your body and restricting goodness. Get angry about the millions of humans around the world that fell into the same trap as you, who right now are wondering why are they so miserable, why they hate their bodies, thinking, shrinking it will make them feel worthy and happy. And finally, get angry about the thought that millions more will go into the scary depth of starving themselves, ruining their mental & physical health.
But not you. You have the option to choose! Will you continue with all this cr*p, or finally decide to be done with it and break free?! I am here when you're ready to rebel;)