Diet Culture vs. Body Positivity: The Inner Voice


This is something I wrote about how different the voice in my head is now that I am no longer about that diet culture life. Obviously it's not always sunshine and rainbows up in my brain, but it occured to me the other day after overhearing yet more body shaming between some women at the gym. I know this is nothing new, but it feels so alien and weird to me now, the depths we are willing to go to to shame ourselves to seem socially acceptable/shame ourselves for not being whatever shape it is we think/have been told we should be.

It's not how we as women are raised in diet culture, to be kind to ourselves, to be self accepting, and yes sometimes it feels unnatural and I do have to work at it, but slowly it has become less natural for me to criticize myself as a matter of course, and I do think that is probably the best thing about body positivity for me personally.

Preparing a Meal:



Diet culture: “How many calories are in that? How much fat? You should really eat less carbsssss.”

Body Positivity: “What’s that you are making? Mmm looks/smells so good!”

 

Eating:


Diet Culture: “That’s a lot of food. Maybe you don’t need so much. Why are you always so hungry? Are you full yet? You should be full by now. Eat more salad. I mean, why are you such a greedy hungry fat b*tch? If you eat all of that you will regret it/it will go to your hips/ass/thighs and you will hate yourself tomorrow.”

Body Positivity: “You are hungry, that’s awesome because now the food will taste even better! Wow you really are tasting things more and you deserve to enjoy the food you put in your body. Are you sure you are full now? Oh you are? Ok, great, maybe you will have some dessert later! If you want?!

 

Trying on clothes that don’t fit for whatever reason:


Diet culture: “WOW... (deep breathe) you have really let yourself go. Look how fat and disgusting you look. How the hell did this happen?! You were on a diet, why are you such a failure? You are going to have to buckle down and go hungry for a while so you can fit in this again, because no one will like or love you if you stay this fat, you complete and utter loser. Why can't you just stay thin, what is wrong with you?”

Body Positivity: "WOW. I mean…that’s weird. I can’t believe this actually fit me back when I was only eating eggs and cottage cheese, why wasn’t I happier then? I just remember thinking how fat I was all day every day. I don’t feel less happy now even though my body is larger. I like my body, it has all sorts of uniquely me quirks, like my strong shoulders and little ankles, and the all-around cut of my jib. I mean, I am kind of fabulous if I think about it! My body size is not a reflection of my worth, after all, how weird is that! I guess I need new clothes, time to go shopping, yay!”
  

Exercise:

 Diet Culture: “Girl you better WERK, summer is right around the corner! Get on that cross fit and do all of the boot camps and cardio your lazy ass can schedule because this is not a drill. Oh your knees hurt? Suck it up, no pain no gain! Oh my god why can’t you do a burpee or a pull up? Oh my god look how much thinner everyone else is than you at the gym. Look at their flat stomachs. You will never have a flat stomach because you are so greedy and round. Why is your ass so huge though, it’s embarrassing! Oh you are TIRED? Too bad! You have not burned enough calories yet! Seriously why are you so lazy? 20 more minutes and you can go home and have a salad".

Body Positivity: “Girl you look so cute in those leggings! Seriously your butt is insane! What do you feel like doing today? You know you got those shaky knees, take extra care of them! Ooh get that music playing, it just makes you want to dance doesn’t it? Ok so you are dancing on an exercise bike and singing to yourself, whatever world, deal with it! Phew your legs are feeling kinda tired, maybe time to cool down and do something else for a while. Your muscles are getting so much stronger, how crazy is that! What do you mean, you don’t want to get too bulky? Don’t be silly! You take up all the space you need! You are fierce and strong and you better WERK how amazing you are. Feel how free you feel and yasss queen enjoy those endorphins, you earned them!* Oh you want ice cream after this? Me too, sounds perfect!"

...So yeah...it's truly not about thinking I'm perfect or pretty or deserve praise because I finally mostly think I look ok, although yes that helps on the occasional bad day. For me it's mostly about just existing in a state of non-constant self criticism of how I look. Of not feeding into negative, self critical thought patterns on a daily basis. It still stuns me how much I used to do this, and how much more I notice the outside pressures of diet culture encouraging us to do this to ourselves now, and for real, how messed up is that?! 

Obviously this is an approximation of my own inner dialogue, with some dramatic flourish, but...I have said and thought worse things about myself in the past than I wrote here to be honest. Haven't many of us? How sad is that. We deserve so much better. We deserve our own kindness, truly. Regardless of whether its body hate or other self critical thoughts, being nice to yourself just feels so much better: I wish it for everyone.




*yes my inner bopo life coach has the voice of Jonathan from Queer Eye! I love him so!



3 comments

  1. What an awesome post! Hilarious and true! Your writing in this one is brilliant, so funny.

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  2. Love the leggings!

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  3. Thanks Elinor I am glad the humour came through! :-) xx

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