As a fitness and wellness blogger, I walk a fine line between healthy truth and diet culture lies. What is diet culture? According to UC San Diego, diet culture refers to “a set of beliefs that values thinness, appearance, and shape above health & well-being.”
I try to promote an ideal of being fit and healthy, no matter what form that takes. After all, ten different people can embark on the exact same diet and exercise plan for the same amount of time, and they will yield ten different results. It is my hope that people embrace their own beauty, while setting and achieving goals that make them feel strong and healthy.
Numbers Are Not A Moral Issue
Neither the size on your jeans nor the number on your scale have any bearing on the quality of your character. Somewhere along the line, thinness became equated with goodness, and that’s just not true. Numbers, including weight, size, and BMI, do not reflect who you are, or what you are worth. Ascribing to a particular way of eating doesn’t make you “better than.” Please don’t forget that.
Food Is Neither Good Nor Bad
For some reason, diet culture loves to assign the labels of “good” and “bad” to the foods we put in our body. Yes, food is fuel, but it’s also delicious, and something to be enjoyed Food is community and a common ground. Some people don’t have enough food, some have bodies who fight against food, and still others have the privilege to be voluntarily selective abut what they eat. We need food to survive, so it seems somewhat unkind and unnecessary to assign some sort of righteousness to what we consume. Do your best to give your body what it needs to run efficiently, but don’t get so lost in that pursuit that you lose sight of the joy that sustenance can bring.
Wear. The. Bathing. Suit.
So many people dread shopping for a bathing suit, which begs the question “but, why?” A bathing suit is just another piece of fabric we wear for a specific purpose (hanging out at the pool or beach), and has no business ruining your day. I have two rules when I pick a new suit: it needs to contain my (average) chest, and it needs to keep all my inside parts from touching the outside world. End of story. Your rules may vary. The point is, please don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fit some arbitrary standard. For the love of all that is holy, wear the dang bathing suit and be proud!
You Are Worthy To Take Up Space In This World
For the longest time, I was convinced that I didn’t deserve space. I tried to make myself small and invisible, no tiny feat when you’re 5’10” with a broad frame. Diet culture taught me that since I didn’t fit into a certain body shape or size, that I didn’t deserve a seat at table, and should relegate myself to the fringes of life. Years later, with hours of therapy and soul-searching under my belt, I can tell you that’s a lie. I may not look a certain way, but I am important, and valuable and deserve to be seen and heard. Don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise.
You Are Enough Just The Way You Are
Diet culture would have you believe that if you don’t fit its unnecessarily rigorous standards, you aren’t enough. This is false. You ARE enough, and don’t you dare forget it. Who you are is so much more important than calories and macros and workouts. If anyone tells you differently, that reflects poorly on them, not you. Be strong, be proud, and live your best life, on your terms.
Falling prey to diet culture lies can lead to a host of issues, including depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia and even eating disorders. Our bodies are beautiful, and are capable of great things. Let’s not do more damage to ourselves by disrespecting them or by trying to force them into something they’re not.
Welcome to Fit Five Friday, our new linkup!
We’ve got FIVE incredible co-hosts, and we are ready to link up every Friday to share YOUR weekly fitness favorites! Join My First 5K and More, Running With Attitude, Run Laugh Eat Pie, Runs with Pugs, and Zenaida every Friday for Fit Five Friday! Who’s ready for some fun?
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Do you let yourself get sucked into the lies of diet culture?
If you need help, please contact the Helpline at National Eating Disorders. They offer support, resources, and treatment options for yourself or a loved one. Helpline volunteers are trained to help you find the information and support you need.