Diet culture is ubiquitous and unrelenting across social media.
At this time of year, however, diet culture reeks more than ever — flawlessly positioned models, captions spewing out tips on how to lose body fat for the beach or drop two sizes before Christmas or what(thefuck)ever. It’s a race to see who is having the most fun, who is the happiest, the healthiest, the hottest. Can we take a moment to agree that it’s absolute bullshit?
I compare myself to strangers I see in public. I stare at people’s legs, their arms, the size of their waists. And I am angry. Not because I don’t look like them, but because I want to look like them. When I see someone who I think is more attractive than me, I want to shrivel up and disappear, as if their existence equates to my insignificance. In my mind, this post was going to be sad and reflective, but, ultimately hopeful. Yet now, sharing these thoughts, my fingers slam across the keyboard, resenting the words that they create but unwilling to stop until it’s all out.
The Body Positive Movement is thriving, but being aware of my screwed-up thoughts doesn’t make them go away. My days of food restriction are in the past, but the thoughts have not left. Sometimes they are loud and threatening, and they try and scare me into going back to my old habits. On other days, they are weak, a whisper across the mind, but they are there nonetheless. As much as you may try to work on yourself, there will always be others who get in the way. I don’t mean to sound bitter. We’re all quietly dealing with our insecurities, and sometimes they escape the mouth and impose themselves on others, projections of our feared imperfections. We don’t want to feel these things alone.
The diet industry makes millions per year (but they’re encountering new struggles, as of late). They feed off our insecurity and make a profit out of our self-hatred. Our fatphobic society leaves us all bruised and weary, and I am furious. I want to lie outside in the sun without worrying about how much flesh clings to my bones. I want to go for walks and runs and swims and cycles without desperately calculating about the amount of calories I’m burning.
Where the hell are my words heading?
This post is a rant.
I have no conclusions.
I’m just fucking mad.
This is a war. We’ve been at war with our bodies for years. It’s not right. You’re allowed to fight it and you’re allowed to avoid people (online and offline) who impose on your self-worth. Get into the movement. Engage with people who remind your body is not all that you are (but that, despite what the world tells you, your body is pretty fucking great just as it is). Get motivated to challenge the insidious norms of our culture that try to convince you that weight loss holds importance above all else.
[Header image: Guinevere Shapiro]