The not-so-obvious problem with dieting

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I'm not anti-diet because diets don't work.

I'm not anti-diet because they're a waste of time, money, and life energy.

Yes, all of those things are true. But there's something deeper that I've been exploring over the past year:

I'm critical of diet culture because I think it does incredible harm to us individually and collectively.

It tells us that we can't trust our own bodies...that we can't possibly know what's best for ourselves, so we have to put our faith and trust in someone else. It demands perfection...in the way we eat, exercise, and scrutinize our bodies. It convinces us that losing weight is our life's work. It uses words and images to convince us that our worth as HUMAN BEINGS lies primarily in the bodies we have.

Diet culture uses the fear of fatness to reinforce a hierarchy of bodies.

And for people who are constantly pushed out into the margins because of race, gender, ability, or sexuality, our cultural obsession with weight can complicate things.

I certainly can't and won't speak for everyone, but as a Black woman I know first-hand what it feels like to be reminded where I fit in the hierarchy. And it's nowhere near the top.

I know what it's like to be told there's something better and more worthy that I should spend a lifetime trying to aspire to. 

These messages, and the images needed to reinforce them, can result in significant self-denial and invalidation.

And in my experience, dieting just adds another layer of not being good enough. It adds to the chorus of external voices telling me there's something inherently wrong with my body. 

It's painful and exhausting. And it has nothing to do with health or wellness. 

This all feels like an assault on our humanity. It feels manipulative and exploitative, unjust and immoral.

We all deserve to know what it's like to be an imperfect, embodied, self-determined human whose worth is not determined by the body we have.

 

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