body positivity, mental health

Freeing yourself from diet culture opens you up to body love

I think it’s clicked you know. Something has finally happened inside my brain and allowed me to fully step outside the diet culture box. And now I’m standing here able to see everything around me so clearly and untainted. Ive been taking baby steps in and out of it for a couple of months, and although I had my eyes slightly opened to this whole new world, I kept one leg safely within that box ready for me to jump back in to the security of food obsession. Because thats what diet culture is isn’t it? Security. When everything’s going to pot around you and you’re losing control in all other aspects of your life, the ability to fall back into the arms of your current plan is what gets you through. Diets are safety blankets.

Whether you’re attending a weight loss club, (here’s looking at you slimming world 🙄), substituting the deliciousness that is breakfast for some kind of crappy low calorie shake, keeping your calories under an already too low amount or maybe just intermittent fasting? (More on that later though! (So much hate toward intermittent fasting for weight loss) All these things are there for you to go running back to when something goes wrong in your life. Why? Because we’re told to! Tv, newspapers, magazines, books, movies, anecdotes, all tell us that we need to shrink ourselves to be truly happy. Maybe some times not quite that directly but this is still the message that we are taking in. Chandler didn’t want Monica until she slimmed down, and we built this schmidtty on sausage rolls, I mean even daddy pig shouldn’t jump in the pool because his tummy is too big! Who’s watching this!? My information-absorbing toddlers that’s who! There was an episode of Ben and Holly where they met a caterpillar who was about to transform into a butterfly, and as they do, before cocooning up she ate so, so much food. She got so big that when Holly saw her the next day and tried to describe the caterpillar, she whispered the word fat and went red in the face. I. MEAN. THE. SHAME! How dare someone, even an insect, allow themselves to get fat! And another time, during an episode of Garfield, this quirky ginger cat decided he must stop eating such big quantities of food otherwise he’s going to end up fat and alone like some villain-person who was in that episode. Whaaaaat.

So In thirty minutes of Tv my kids have learnt that to be fat is shameful, if you are fat you have to be actively trying to not be fat, and while you remain fat you cannot experience the glorious Things in life like cannon balling into the deep end. WE DO NOT STAND A CHANCE.

Okay so I feel as though I have actually digressed from the point I was originally trying to make but it turns out I made a pretty good one anyway. How are we supposed to love or even accept our bodies when there are so many things in this world that tell us they are not good enough just as they are? We aren’t. That’s the whole point. There’s people all over the world telling you that you need to be insecure about your stretch Marks, your ‘mummy tummy’, your cellulite, and your double bloody chin, just so that they can sell you the magical product that’s going to to ‘fix’ these things. But guess what? You’re not actually broken. And therefore you have n.o.t.h.i.n.g to fix. Nothing. And when you realise this you instantly take back the power. That control that you sought after when tracking your macros. The ability to be happy in your own body comes back to you. We will never be truly happy if we keep buying into the lies that diet culture gives us.

I may be the last person that you would believe, what with nearly 17 years of dieting under my belt, a solid 8 years of bulimia, extreme body dissatisfaction and crippling anxiety but take a step back for a second and see that maybe this is what qualifies me to say these things. I’ve gone from not been able to look at myself, trying to cut through my fat and hiding underneath layers and layers of clothing to some how being able to accept my body as it is right now. Some days I am in complete awe of what it has survived and some days, like today actually, I genuinely love it. Today I love my body. Like how am I able to say that and mean it? It’s something I never thought I could do, but it feels so freeing. Maybe there will be days that I don’t feel this way but now I can embrace those days with the knowledge that my body is beautiful, strong, capable and worthy of love no matter what shape or size it is. I know that I don’t have to always love my body to respect it and that the negative thoughts I have toward it are simply a product of 27 years of being blind to diet culture. If I’ve come to know all these things and break free from the clasp of the dieting world then I know you can too, you can love your body. I know because I do.

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