Diet culture has ruined my life. I am not saying that to be dramatic, I’m saying it because it’s true. It’s made me diet from my early teens through my twenties and as a result I’ve got fatter and fatter. I am living proof that diets don’t work and they don’t work because I am yet to undo all the damage I have around food, around health and around when I am allowed or should not be allowed to eat. I know I’m not the only person that feels like this because it’s a conversation I have with friends on a very regular basis. So if right now you are feeling shit because you’re fat and you have no idea what to do and you’re sick of starving yourself then this post is for you. When I first starting looking into fat liberation and body positivity I felt I was too fat to even try.
Ditching the unhealthy obsession with Diet Culture
I’ve been attempting to unravel all that damage now for the last 14 months and I am not there yet. I wish I could say that I’m super thin and happy and healthy and everything is perfect right now but I can’t because it’s not true, well, some of it is not true. I am happier and I’m no longer obsessed with food, calorie counting and weighing myself. I don’t sit there *every* night wishing I could cut off the fat from my stomach. I realise typing this how insane that sounds but again I won’t lie. There have been times were I’ve contemplated grevious self harm to be thin because for all of my life I have been told the only way to be healthy is to be thin. I didn’t want to do this to myself anymore. I don’t want to say I’ve been on a journey because my fat bum hasn’t moved alot in the last 12 months but I have slowly but surely changed the focus. Now rather than hating myself I’m angry at diet culture. I’m also pretty angry at the government and how they plan to try and improve the health of the nation because it’s problematic.
What is diet culture?
It’s the photoshopped magazines, the slimming club adverts, the fat shaming, the “have you thought of going on a diet?” when you go for a smear test. It’s the stigma when your fat and pregnant, or trying to concieve. It’s the feeling of laughter if you exercise. It’s the years and years of beauty myths saying thin is beauty, thin is grace, thin is the life you want. It’s the cause of eating disorders, of our daughters thinking their fat when they’re ten years old. It’s the constant need to lose weight to be considered attractive, worthy, loved and someone to be kind to. It’s the bullying, it’s the constant need to label food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s the fear of not being accepted as a decent person, the assumption you’re stupid and lazy.
It is hugely problematic, and a predatory industry that does not care about your health but relies on your constant desire to be thin to make money. It is making weight loss the goal, never health. It is the reason for so many eating disorders and why doctors and therapists and dieticians are talking about weight stigma and disordered eating.
We have all been victims to it at some point in our lives.
Do you really want to be the friend that’s always on a diet?
No I bet you don’t because that person is boring. The person that is constantly saying I’ve lost 2lbs this week, I’ve gained 3lbs this week and I don’t know why. The person that only ever wants to talk syns. It’s the person that always feels guilty for having an extra chocolate bar or indulging in a favourite snack. I was this person and I hated being that person, consumed by what I was allowed to eat. I felt controlled and childlike, as if I wasn’t able to make my own decisions and that lead to binge eating, more feelings of failure and being fatter. What a life I’ve had!
Turning 30 has been liberating; ditching diet culture and finally feeling the most ‘Me’
I was so afraid of turning 30 thinking I had messed up my twenties by being fat and not really doing anything but now I look back and think about all the time I’ve wasted dieting and talking about ‘when i’m not fat’ and obviously that just hasn’t happened. Now I still think about what I eat but the pressure isn’t as strong for it to always be a salad or lets face it something that tastes awful.
I have more time to do things I want because I’m not preoccupied with punishing myself to exercise or focusing on weight loss. I have found clothes I like to wear and feel comfortable in. I eat all kinds of food that I enjoy but I don’t feel the pressure to eat until I bloat or like it’s my last meal. I’m no longer binging chocolate because I eat it when I fancy it. I think about my emotions and what will statisfy my feelins the most. Sometimes it’s food, but most of the time it’s reading, or drawing or video games or a walk or watching a comedy. I no longer feel I have to feed my feelings but I also acknowledge that sometimes that’s what I need. Life is better for me.