There was a period of my life where the words “21 Day Fix” or “Two Day Cleanse” felt like the answer to all my problems (I’ve done both). And why wouldn’t they be? These programs had all the makings of what I wanted in a diet: a quick timeline and a reassuring word.
Because I’m broken? Because without weight loss I am something that needs to be changed, reworked or made better? NO. Absolutely not. But it’s hard not to let your mind spiral with the diet industry being the monumentally convincing soul sucker it is.
I recently revisited the website of a program whose workouts I used to do, and found it interesting the things I never picked up on when I assumed this program had my best interests in mind. Workouts where words like ‘tank top arms’, ‘girl weights’ and ‘muffin top’ were thrown around in mockery. And they do this because in order to sell you their programs, they have to ensure you feel like your body has at least one thing to change. One thing that absolutely has nothing (nothing!) to do with your happiness and worth. If this sounds familiar, and you’re thinking of starting a workout regime or online program, ask yourself some questions first:
Is weight loss the main goal of this program?
Does this program express an importance in restricting certain foods?
Does this program dictate the amount of food I eat?
Is there a schedule outlined for when I should be eating (ex. No food after 7pm)?
Are diverse body types represented in their advertising?
In answering these questions focus on how it makes you feel. If you’re feeling shamed, punished, restricted or uncomfortable from a programs choice of words, images or rules, this is a sign that the program is not in your best interest. And, just like when it comes to the foods we eat, there’s no one form of exercise that is best for everyone.
Diet culture will often use pictures of young, thin, beautiful people to showcase the workouts, meal plans and testimonials as a tactic to keep you thinking that thin is a valuable goal. The milestones and tracking sheets will pertain to measurements and weight loss rather than emotions and body feels.
BODY FEELS! Because it's far more important to feel good in your body over looking a certain way in your body.
So get angry! If you’ve found yourself buying into these tactics you should not feel ashamed but betrayed. How dare companies use their wide reach and large marketing budgets to bully us into feeling less worthy because of the size of our jeans, only to sell us diets created to make us feel worse.
And truly, rejecting diet culture is the first step to moving on from feeling out of control and guilty around food. The first step to adopting a more intuitive eating lifestyle where you create the rules. A lifestyle where you eat when you’re hungry and eat what you’re hungry for without the guilt. Never again will a summer BBQ be wasted or day at the beach rained on by poor body image fuelled from diet culture bullshit.
And because I realize this post was a bit ranty (this stuff fires me up!)...here’s a little feel good food I've been in love with lately: Organic Medjool Dates (worth the price, promise) + Nut Butter + Almonds.
Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuitive eating and self love over dieting, always.
Michelle currently sees clients who wish to improve their relationship with food at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Feel free to contact her with any questions, comments, for more info on her practice or to book a free discovery appointment.
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