Eat your inches
Diet culture is an oppressive system that teaches people to hate themselves. It places value on being a certain weight, shape and size over actual health. It promotes weight loss on the scale as a step forward towards being healthy, further ingraining the idea that thinness equals more acceptance in the society.
We hear this term quite often in our daily lives. It’s almost as if it is normal to talk about being a certain shape and weight to please an overly critical society. The diet industry has taken over, convincing people they need a specific body type to be attractive, successful and loved. This certain body type isn’t natural and constantly needs upkeep through strict diets and even stricter exercise routines.
What the majority of people don’t seem to understand is that these ‘fad’ diets paired with a horribly intense workout schedule not only ruin the metabolism but also tire out the body to limits it isn’t used to. Most people believe that being on a diet will make them lose weight, but that isn’t true. Dieting continuously makes the body workout to burn energy instead of fat making it look like a loss of weight. When you are on a diet and constantly exercising, your body reverts back to its fat stores instead of burning them off and then gaining muscle.
Diet culture is taught through mainstream media, which is dominated by the “thin ideal”. The media constantly promotes an image of what beauty and success should be, thus coercing people into believing that they are less beautiful or successful without being thin.
Even if you don’t seek out articles like these, they infiltrate your life through various social media platforms. Influencers and celebrities all over the world promote diet teas (they apparently help in increasing one’s metabolism but there is no solid evidence to this) and diet pills (they work in 3 different ways: some block the amount of fat absorbed from the food, others suppress an individual’s appetite and some increase the amount of calories one burns throughout the day) when in reality they get help from professional nutritionists and trainers, and do not rely solely on these “quick-fix” products.
Several celebrities have spoken up about the harsh reality of dieting and trying to fit into the body standard boxes that mainstream media places on everyone. Jameela Jamil, a model and English actress who is an outspoken advocate for body positivity talked about her own struggle in one of her Instagram posts: “I had starved for three weeks and worked out compulsively before this shoot. This is why I bang on and on about diet culture, because it was my slippery slope to losing all sense of reality and all of my time, energy, sex drive, and joy. If you want to change your body, to get bigger or smaller or more muscular, then you do you. But Christ, do it slowly, carefully, fully informed by healthcare practitioners and certified experts. No quick fixes. You aren’t broken, and lasting change happens incrementally and sensibly.”
Women are bullied all day by magazines, social media, and by each other, Jameela wrote on her blog. “The onslaught is so aggressive that we are going to have to retaliate with 10 times the strength to undo all of the damage to the global psyche of women,” she said.
In conclusion, I would just like to say that you are not defined by a number on the scale or 27 inches on a measuring tape. Your worth and value comes from you and your character and not what you look like.