Our diet culture. It has so many angles, you can’t even oversee it anymore. Infinite diets for infinite purposes. Diets to lose weight, to gain muscle, to make a statement (vegan), to prevent allergic reactions, and many more. Some are healthy, some are not.
There are quite some things that I have figured out in this life. But there are some that I haven’t, and this is one of them. This post is about our modern diet culture; how do we fight something that almost seems unfightable? How do we change the things in our head that have been there since forever? Is it ok to lose some weight so you will feel better? What is ‘healthy’ or ‘normal’ and what is not? I want to spread self-love and reject the diet culture, but life is also about being healthy and happy, right? I’m having issues with this topic at the moment. So this one is not about me giving you good advise (although I’m trying to). I think it’s is about me trying to make sense of this crazy diet culture that somehow gives us something we so desperately need.
Before I continue, look at these vintage weight-gain ads. These are real. This is what diet ads looked like in the 50’s. Apart from the fact that these women are being skinny-shamed, these were better days body image-wise.
Diets and our modern society
According to Wikipedia, a diet is the sum of food you consume. So in theory, we are all on a diet. But when we talk about a diet, we usually mean eating or not eating certain foods or amounts of calories. Most diets are intended to lose weight. Sometimes necessary for being healthy; being overweight can cause serious health problems. But today’s restrictive dieting isn’t just about that anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long time.
This study, published in 2012, mentions the following: “Dieting is a common practice among young women, irrespective of age, race, ethnicity and weight. Studies show that 60%–80% of young students have been on a diet within the previous year and many have a healthy body mass index (BMI). Dieting behavior starts at a young age and continues through college where female students have been shown to desire a BMI lower than their current BMI.”
This is so sad. Google any kind of study on this topic and you will find the same sad results every time. I recently came across this episode of Jo Frost. It shows EXACTLY what is going on in this world and why it’s so hard to beat. Watch it and be stunned.
Yay for our modern society. How are we ever going to love our bodies if we don’t even believe it anymore at the age of six?? It makes me SO mad. And still, I think about dieting every day, because I still want to have a ‘worthy’ body. And because it has been planted in our brains forever. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get it out.
My mind seems to be stuck
When you restrict rigorously for quite some time, your brain gets all messed up. Undoing this is very hard and it sometimes seems impossible. Even if your weight is restored, the disordered thoughts are very hard to get rid of, especially in a world where everything still is about being thin. For years, I got dieting ads on Instagram and dieting accounts who ask me to follow them. Because the Instagram algorithm thinks I like it.
For me, weight and appearance is still a thing. In all honesty: I’m not a recovery role model. I still weigh myself daily because I’m afraid I will randomly gain a few K in one week. Not for no reason; this has happened quite often in the past years. Unfortunately, my weight and appearance can still have a great influence on my mental health. I can feel really bad about myself because of my weight, especially when multiple things are going on. I know that our appearance doesn’t define us in any way, and I try to tell myself this every day, but I still can’t get rid of the rules in my head. So now what; sit them out forever, or satisfy them a bit?
My body-image now
I’m now heavier than ever in the last 5 years and it’s hard, I’m not gonna lie. But, my body image has definitely changed for the better, because before I couldn’t even handle my 10k lighter body. Today, I can look at myself in the mirror without feeling utterly depressed. I just don’t like it, but I don’t want to destroy it. I think my body is a badass, but I would be much happier if it looked a bit different. I’m convinced that people can definitely fully recover from an ED, but I don’t think I’m one of them. My body-image hasn’t changed a single bit in at least a year. However, I’m doing ok and I’m healthy.
I just got home from a week in Spain where I ate a lot more than I usually do at home. I tried to let it go but I can’t. I feel bigger and heavier and I’m afraid to touch the scale. I’m at the point where I really want to lose some weight. Which, by the way, says nothing about how I feel about other people’s weight. Literally nothing.
This Dove ad.. It made me cry. Watch till the end, it’s lovely.
Can dieting make you happier?
If you have health problems because you are too heavy, a diet is a healthy option because it will benefit your physical health. It gets complicated when an already healthy person wants to go on a restrictive diet while there is no real need for it; its purpose will be to lose weight in order to satisfy beauty standards. However, I follow quite some Instagrammers who look genuinely happy with their dry abs. Dieting will always be a complicated topic, especially after an eating disorder. Many will say that dieting will never make you happy, but I’m not sure if that’s true. I think changing my body a tiny bit will be much easier than changing my mind. I like to agree with this awesome woman that I follow on Instagram. She says:
“I know I preach about loving ourselves and our bodies the way they are, and praising them from bringing little humans into the world, and I do SO much still, BUT, I am still human and it’s only normal for me to have insecurities and want to get back to a place where I feel good about myself.”
Exactly that. 🙂
Dit bericht bekijken op Instagram
Some days I wake up extremely insecure about my body and compare myself to what I looked like after I had my first Bub Nixon, at my fittest and healthiest. I know I preach about loving ourselves and our bodies the way they are, and praising them from bringing little humans into the world, and I do SO much still, BUT, I am still human and it’s only normal for me to have insecurities and want to get back to a place where I feel good about myself. I think it’s still healthy to have some insecurities sometimes because we learn and grow from them, they make us stronger and they push us to get to where we want to be. So we can truly appreciate our bodies and all they go through. I know I am lucky to have babies, I do appreciate my body, I accept my marks and scars, but that doesn’t mean I dont it am not allowed to want better for my body, to be the strongest and healthiest it has ever been, for my mind to be the happiest. Don’t ever feel bad for wanting to be better for yourself! Everyone can say “take your time, appreciate your body and what it’s been through” “there’s no rush. Why are you so caught up on looks” “don’t be so hard on yourself” When we are only HUMAN. It’s normal to have thoughts of wanting to be better. And I think it’s actually not being hard on yourself, it’s pushing yourself to be the best you possible, to smash goals and build strength not only physically but mentally. It teaches you appreciation in all aspects of life. So don’t feel bad about wanting to improve on yourself. But NEVER compare yourself to anyone else and just do YOU!!! #4momthspostpartum
However, I hope this unwritten criterium for worth will change globally one day. It is changing, but it needs to go faster.
I came across this video of Lili Reinhart. She’s awesome and I think it’s worth the 8 minutes it takes to watch it.
Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word 🙂
Hover over buttons to see sharing options.