Healing from Diet Culture
Diet culture is ubiquitous. Diets and health fads occupy our gyms, schools and workplaces. The United States is designed for thin bodies. It does not mean thin bodies are any healthier, it is a cultural construct that is driven by myths. It is hard to come across someone not harmed by dieting and body shame. Many clients come to me with questions about how to dismantle the damage done by diet culture, fatphobia and body shaming.
Some people have avoided wearing clothing they like, postpone starting dating with the stipulation that they have to lose weight first. Here are some steps that can help you get started in embracing health at every size.
Ditch the scale
Being weight neutral means that the numbers are made up and meaningless. You can decline getting weighed by doctors and medical professionals.
Buy clothing that fits you and feels comfortable.
Wearing tight clothing can be painful, uncomfortable and constricting. It can make a difference in how you feel to have clothes that fit and feel comfortable.
Give away clothing that doesn’t fit you anymore.
Saying no to something, is making space for new things in your life. The clothing in your closet that no longer fits is just a reminder of your body changes.
Focus on joyful movement instead of exercise.
Gyms are embedded in diet culture. Do things you enjoy whether it is gardening, walking or going to the gym and listening to an audiobook. The important part of exercising is to not exercise in order to lose weight. Joyfully move your body for enjoyment.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Yes, we live in a competitive world. It can be dismantled. Comparing yourself to others is a pathway to unhappiness and misery. Start letting go with awareness and then reframing your thoughts.
Let go of perfectionism
Perfectionism is a way of thinking rigidly and can go hand in hand with comparing yourself to others. Taking small steps to break down perfectionism can have a transformative impact.
Small changes in your responses to your environment can add up to transformative change over time. When you are free from calorie counting, scales and comparing yourself to others, you will be amazed at how much joy can open in your life.