Alright, this is a big one for me friends.
I’ve gotten oh so many confused looks whenever I try to discuss this topic to people; because, it’s a flattering statement, so why would anyone be offended? How could this possibly be harmful?
I want you to start by thinking of just one person you know who struggles with disordered eating. I want you to imagine what life is like to be walking around in a vessel that you feel shame, discomfort, and discriminated in. Maybe this person is even you.
I want you to imagine that person obsessively exercising to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. I want you to visualise them saying no to the food that they’re mind and body are actually craving because it’s against their current diet plan. They’re missing out on events, gatherings, and intimate moments because their mind is consumed by counting calories, meal planning, punishment workouts, and fitting into their dream size. They cover themselves up at the beach, they skip meals when they’re actually hungry, and they are filled with a constant fear of food.
Now, I want you to see this person living in their “dream body.” Or maybe they haven’t met their goal yet, but they’ve managed to drop a few sizes. They seem happy, at least for now.
How did they get there? What unnecessary and damaging sacrifices did they endure? How long can this realistically last?
What can seem like a kind comment towards someone could actually be feeding into the cycle of their disordered eating pattern.
Now what if someone isn’t struggling with disordered eating and their body just naturally changes through new habits, you ask? What’s the harm in saying someone is looking better after they’ve shrunk their waste a bit?
THE CONCEPT THAT SOMEONE LOOKS BETTER WHEN THEY LOOSE WEIGHT IS THE PROBLEM.
Forgetting the idea that someone may or may not even have an eating disorder, let’s think about how messed up it is that we assume someone is more attractive after they’ve shed a few pounds. Where does this idea stem from? Why do we believe skinner equals healthier? Why are we now a fitness obsessed culture? Curvy is the new skinny, but it must be curvy in all the right places, right?
Who decides this?
The media. The patriarchy. The misogynistic remarks and the discriminating comments.
I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I kind of do.
It’s like when I found out the tooth fairy wasn’t real, that was a shock man. Seriously, I held onto that idea until I was like 10 years old. We can all thank my mom for her strong will to keep that one going :)
So when I discovered that it was a false narrative that skinnier equals happier, I was in disbelief.
You mean to tell me that we can be fat AND happy? That we don’t need to fit the mould to be strong, successful, and all around badass humans? And that cellulite is in fact… normal?!
What about love handles, back fat, and apple shaped bodies? Normal.
Stretch marks, acne, scars, and wrinkles? Beautiful.
But what about saggy boobs, bellies, tummy rolls, and dry skin? A FUCKING BABE.
ALL BODIES ARE NORMAL, ALL OF THE TIME.
Assuming that one generalised body type represents health, wealth, and happiness is a form of discrimination. What about disabled and fat bodies? Indigenous people, and people of colour? Non-binary and transgender people?
If we want to see a world where we are happy during every size, shape, and chapter of our lives, we have have to start with the language that we use. If we want to see a more inclusive world, we recognise our differences. And if we must make a comment? We challenge ourselves to focus on each others personalities, attributes, and energy. We say things like, “you are glowing today,” or “I just love your energy.” I believe in our ability to be creative this.
As the super wise reader that I know that you are, I can safely assume that you understand I am not suggesting we stop eating real food or moving our bodies regularly. I know you know me better than this. And if this is your first time here, welcome! I lean more towards the listen to what your mind and body are asking for, kind of vibes. So I believe that each chapter, period, or day of our life is unique; requiring different forms of movement and different ways of eating.
So where do we start?
Day by day. Moment by moment. We pay attention to the little things that we probably never thought mattered before:
1. Fill our socials with inspiring, diverse, and inclusive people.
2. Focus our commenting on someone’s energy, not appearance.
3. When confronted with diet culture talk, learn new strategies; disengage, educate, or gently guide the conversation into a new topic.
4. Lastly, we say kind things to ourselves! When we notice how beautiful we are, just as we are, we see the beauty in everyone else too.
Did this article speak to you? Please like this and share with your community! Let’s keep this conversation going to continue to learn and grow together.