This is a post I have been sitting on for a while. Now seems like a good a time as any though given January is prime “diet-culture” season!
I have to admit I feel uncomfortable posting photos of myself side by side. As if to compare. This is not a “transformation” photo though (not in a physical appearance sense anyway). Note the time between photos and hopefully it’s obvious my size has increased.
Have you noticed how “transformation” photos are only ever 6-8 weeks or maybe 3 months apart? Rarely 1-2 years or in this case 4 years apart? Have you ever wondered why?
Diet culture tells us we should want to live in a thinner body because it is “healthier” and somehow more worthy or cause for celebration. The truth is, for many, the process of getting there (intentional weight loss) is not “healthful” at all. It just sets us up for failure and the sense of feeling like we are on an endless cycle of “dieting” or “not dieting” Being “good” or “bad” That all or nothing mentality.
Isn’t it funny how well meaning folk are so quick to celebrate weight loss even when they have no idea the reason behind it? It could be due to a diet and intentional but in some cases (more than we probably realise) it is related to insufferable stress, anxiety or illness. If it is a diet, the praise just reinforces for that person that what they are doing it good. As though taking up less space makes them more worthy. Even if it feels bloody hard, restrictive and deep down they are wondering how long they can keep it up!
I received so much praise back in 2015 as a mum to a 3 year old having just experienced rapid and significant weight loss over the 6-12 months prior. I hadn’t been that lean since I was in my teens/early 20s. The truth was I couldn’t maintain what I was doing to be there long term. Of course as with 95% of all diets, the weight came back on and then some.
I don’t receive any “compliments” about my body now. Not that I want compliments but I feel this point says a lot about what we value as a society.
I am breaking up with diet culture and exploring a new relationship with intuitive eating. This does NOT mean I am giving up on being healthy or “letting myself go” (WTF does that even mean anyway?) not by a long shot. In fact it’s the exact opposite. We were all born intuitive eaters but somewhere along the line, thanks to diet culture and food “rules” we collect along the way, we lose touch with that intuition.
I don’t know what will happen to my weight in the long run but at the moment that’s not my main concern.
I am no expert in this area but If you resonate with this and want to find out more, reading the book Intuitive Eating is a great place to start. Or take a look at Nadia Felsch’s work. Read her blog post about Intuitive Eating here. You will also enjoy taking a deep dive on Lyndi Cohen's website here. I am a huge fan of her Back to Basics program.
I will continue to share more reliable resources and advocates in this area as I discover them 💜