When Diet Culture Brings You Down
If you follow me on social media, you know I recently read an article all about how the singer, Adele, had lost weight. It was all about how Adele has reemerged, how great she looks, and they showed photos of her at another celebrity’s party.
If you are struggling with food or struggling with your body image, content like this probably makes you feel down. This article would have been pretty triggering to me just a few years ago.
So why am I bringing this up?
This is an example of how diet culture is all around us. Conversations like this imply that being thinner and losing weight makes you more beautiful and that it automatically means you are healthier and happier. Because we’ve been stuck in diet culture for so long, sometimes we don’t even realize that these messages are harmful and we accept them without realizing that we get to choose. When we are able to see diet culture and consciously choose to reject this kind of messaging, we become much more empowered in our own bodies.
So how do we start to challenge these messages?
A common misconception is that weight loss equals health. The reality is that we can’t assume that someone is healthier just because they have lost weight. They might be healthier, but it’s not BECAUSE they lost weight. On the other hand, they could be struggling with their physical health or mental health. They could have developed disordered eating habits that may be contributing to weight loss. Disordered eating habits can affect all areas of our lives and can be really harmful to both our physical and mental health. In a nutshell, weight loss does not equal health.
Let’s also start to challenge the idea that being thinner means being happier. It makes sense that we’ve been programmed to think this way. Think of any dieting advertisements you see. They always show thin people who look like they’re living the life of their dreams. As a consumer, we see that and think “well if I lost this weight, I would be that happy too” It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking, “I’ll be happy when I lose weight” but this is also an illusion.
On another note, this is a great opportunity to look at our standards of beauty. Diet cultures tells us that we are beautiful when we are thin. It tells us that when we weigh less, we are considered more beautiful. We can start to push back on these ideas and embody beauty, no matter what we weigh or what we look like.
When I look back on my own disordered eating a few years ago, I had attached so much of my self-worth to my weight and size. Without even being aware of it, I believed that I was more worthy if I weighed less. As I started to get compliments and others telling me that I looked great, it only confirmed these beliefs. This is not about blame, but it is about becoming more aware of our own beliefs and how they might be fueling our own issues with food and body image.
So what are some shifts you can start to make today?
Start to focus on nourishing your body and focus on feeling good, instead of the number on the scale. Focus on being happy now. So many of us put it off until we reach an arbitrary goal. What if feeling good and being happy were actually the catalyst to your healthiest life? When you focus on nourishing your unique body, everything else falls into place. When you come from a place of empowerment, you’re able to do what’s best for you.
We can also start to shift conversations away from our appearance. Let’s focus on our accomplishments, hopes, dreams, fears, and priorities in life. Your appearance is such a small piece of what makes you, you.
Know that you are worthy, beautiful and powerful right now. If you are struggling with food and know that it’s holding you back from living your best life, reach out to me. You can schedule a complimentary Food Freedom Breakthrough Session here or send me e-mail. You don’t have to do this alone!