I wanted to follow up on last week’s post, Your Body Is Not The Problem.
Remember when I called you out on your mindset?
This week let’s talk about how and why your mindset about your body has become what it is.
Because, again, your body is not the problem.
Since childhood we've been relentlessly hammered over the head about the way we ‘should’ look. Think about it.
How many times per day do you see or hear an ad for a weightloss product?
How many of your favorite magazines preach a cure for those stubborn pounds that you just can’t lose and display jaw dropping transformation photos?
How old were you when you first considered going on a diet?
How old was your daughter the first time she talked about the parts she didn’t like?
More often than not our mindset about our bodies starts early. And, it doesn’t only take over the way we see ourselves, but the way we speak to ourselves and engage in the world.
As a society, we’re obsessed with becoming smaller. We’re fixated on using negative thoughts to fuel our desire to change our appearance.
We’ve been taught and conditioned to believe that we can get there. To that desired number. And, when we do, everything will fall into place.
Let’s break it down a little more. What has led this harsh mindset you’re tired of fighting against?
It owns us.
It’s so insidious that we often don’t even realize it’s behind most of the advertising we consume.
Paleo, Whole30, sugar detoxes, juice cleanses, weight watchers, jennie craig, atkins, south beach, iifym, nutrisystem, thrive, low carb, no carb, high fat, low fat, gluten free… the list could go on and on.
Should we start in on the “it” exercise plans to couple with the diet to get you to your dream bod?
Ok, I’ll spare you.
We’re owned by the dieting industry. It takes our money, our time and drains us of our energy. It its message has seeped into our pores and has led us loathe the very vessel that carries us through our days. Diet-culture takes our power directly out of our hands. When we’re on-plan, exerting all the willpower we can muster, food and body is still taking up precious space in our minds.
You know... how to avoid the cookies in the lunchroom, when you can “cheat” next, why you only lost “x” lbs last week, counting down the minutes until your next meal..
When we’ve lost weight, diet-culture reminds us that we’ve failed if we gain it back (5 Reasons Why Dieting Is A Setup) and that if we’re good, we’ll be able to stay that size.
No matter how you spin it, diet-culture can become all consuming.
We get lured into the idea that we’re all made to be thin. Because that’s what we’re bombarded with. Because of diet-culture, thin is in.
There are countless studies that site the thin-ideal as a driving factor for body dissatisfaction and the development of disordered eating patterns. In our social-media driven world we have on demand and relentless exposure to fitspo’s, photoshopped models and the message that we have a moral obligation to be leaner, smaller and to try harder.
But, you’ve been trying so hard already! How can you possibly try any harder?
Diet-culture and the thin-ideal manage to give us permission forget the woman inside the body and shifts the attention to her success or her failure to maintain or achieve an ‘acceptable’ appearance. It shifts movement and exercise from a form of self-care to a necessary evil to make us smaller.
Your body is not the problem. Diet-culture is the problem.
In last week’s post I encouraged you to take a closer look at your body image mindset. Can you draw some connections to how your mindset has been influenced by our collective obsession with being smaller versions of ourselves?
For the next couple of days, I encouraged you get mindful about the messages you consume. About the conversations you’ve taken part in that encourage body-loathing and seemingly endless dieting behaviors.
Once you open your awareness to how many times per day we’re told to lose a bit more, to look more like Kim K, I think you’ll be shocked. And, like me, maybe a little pissed.
Here are some quick suggestions to help you lessen the hold that diet-culture has one you:
Talk less about what you are (or aren’t) eating, what plan you’re on, or what plan you think would be the golden ticket.
Delete fitness apps. Move because it feels good, not because it burns calories.
Write an affirmation on your mirror (with a dry erase marker) that has NOTHING to do with your appearance. Every time you look in the mirror, read the statement back to yourself.
Stop buying fitness magazine, detox your social media accounts of thinspo’s or fitspo’s and unsubscribe from companies that encourage you to continue the dieting rollercoaster.
Breaking down the impact that diet-culture and the thin-ideal has on you can open your mind to the reality that you don’t have to hate your body. That you don’t have to continue engaging in disordered eating patterns. That you can, in fact, learn to love, honor and respect your body.