Diet culture is exhausting.
Look at the cover of any women’s magazine. Really – ANY women’s magazine. I guarantee that you’ll find something along the lines of…
“Lose the last 10 pounds!”
“Flatten your tummy in just 2 weeks!”
“Tricks to make your legs look longer”
…I’m cringing just writing them. How stressful is it to always be bombarded by messages in the media that we need to change the way we look? And what if I buy that magazine and – heaven forbid – don’t lose those last 10 pounds, what does that say about me?! I’m a lazy lady with no willpower. And I’m 10 pounds overweight.
As women, we are especially prone to be subjected to this type of silliness in the media. But the media is not the only culprit in this body-centric society of ours. Diet culture is all around us.
Have you ever…
…restricted your food intake weeks before a big event (such as a wedding, office party, birthday) so you could look thinner wearing a snazzy outfit?
…had the thought that your workout didn’t “count” unless you were sweating your ass off?
…felt even just a liiitttleee bit superior when you said “no thanks” to that slice of cake while everyone around you indulged?
...felt embarrassed when you were really hungry and therefore eating considerably more than the other people at the table?
Yup. I’ve been there. Big time. And what’s more is this type of behavior is considered THE NORM (aka part of our culture). I was constantly praised for my “healthy eating” and “intense willpower” back when I was severely restricting my food intake. Women always asked me, “OMG how are you so healthy?! Teach me what to eat. And please don’t judge me for eating this cake.” Now I wish I could go back and tell those women that eating a piece of cake does not make you bad. It does not mean that you need to go work out tomorrow. Never has a single slice of cake made a person instantly overweight. Anywhere, ever. And yet, we’re taught to “repent” for these indulgences because we could gain weight.
And then what? We’re taught to fear weight gain. Why? Because that would mean we’re unattractive, lazy, unhealthy, and ultimately unlovable. Doesn’t sound like a very good way to end up after just one slice of cake.
With enough exposure to this type of stuff, I started to equate my value with what I was eating. Kale and quinoa = I am worthy. Krispy Kreme doughnut = I am worthless.
So after years of buying into the idea that if I just pushed a little harder on the treadmill and cut out those simple carbs that I’d suddenly be the thin and fabulous person I wanted to be, I decided to cut the bullshit. I simply could not deal with the stress of eating a bowl of ice cream and fearing being forever unloved. Because ultimately, that’s what we’re afraid of, isn’t it?
So that’s why I had to get OUT of this mindset, for good. The stress about needing to always be more was exhausting. I needed to allow myself to be ENOUGH in this moment, no matter where that moment is. I started to focus on my deep desire to feel more loved and manifested ways to bring more love to myself so I wasn’t relying on it from outside sources so heavily, including needing to feel like having the perfect body would make me loved. And with more self care came the mindset shifts that brought me to where I’m at today.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you ever feared weight gain? What did being thin represent to you?