Diet: a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. “I’m going on a diet”
synonyms: dietary regime, dietary regimen, dietary programme, restricted diet, crash diet
I bet I can guess how the majority of your conversations are going this January.
Let me see….
Someone is doing dry January. Someone else has joined weightwatchers. Another friend has given up sugar and a different one is rebelling against it all and scoffing everyone’s left over Christmas chocolate.
Am I right?
And yes, all of these things are well and good, and being healthy should be encouraged, but I am becoming increasingly annoyed by the fact that most people are doing these things because they feel pressured to lose weight. Because they have been conditioned for years and years to believe that if they are not slim then they are not healthy or attractive or good enough. The diet industry and advertising work hard to make us monitor every morsel and scrap of food we put in our mouths and then feel guilty and like failures when we do not achieve ‘slim’ status.
And I for one have HAD ENOUGH.
For starters being slim does not equal being healthy. Many diets encourage you to rob your body of vital nutrients, which then, along with having a 95% failure rate anyway, damage your body even further, and make it highly likely that your metabolism will be permanently screwed and you’ll end up gaining weight in the long term.
And anyway, who decided skinny was the ultimate make of body in the first place?
When I meet with my girlfriends the majority of the conversations we have focus on our bodies, and our self-loathing of them. Someone is always trying to ‘be good.’ Someone else is also always complaining about how fat they feel. No one is ever happy.
But also no one ever seems to address their health, mental or physical, with the same level of importance. When we greet each other we say, ‘Oh you look well,’ or ‘have you lost weight?’ Never ‘Oh you look happy today!’ or ‘have you been inspirational lately?’ We always focus on what we look like on the outside and it is ALL wrong. And it is also an unhealthy way to behave as it perpetuates the belief that unless we are skinny we are not attractive, are lazy and greedy and not good enough.
But we are all good enough. Our bodies are the most magical and amazing things no matter what shape or size we are. OK, yes, being morbidly obese isn’t great and in that case a sensible plan of eating and exercise is without doubt what is needed, but most of the people I know who feel like a fat piece of crap are way below the average size of a woman. And yes, I know it’s also ‘all relative’ and about how that person feels about themselves personally, but again, I reiterate, who the hell decided skinny was the goal we should all strive for? When did curves become a bad thing? Who decided curves needed to be photoshopped out of existence in magazines and posters?
If you are doing dry January or are giving up refined sugar then I applaud you, but please do it for your health, and don’t for one minute think you’ll be happier if and when you are skinny. It doesn’t work like that. We’ve been conditioned to believe it does and that skinny = perfection, but I want to challenge that. Body image at the moment is messed up and we are raising a generation of girls who are becoming anxious about their weight as young as seven.
Stop focusing on weight and focus on health. On feeling energised. On enjoying life for it is often too painfully short.
You’re all blooming gorgeous – believe it!!!
This post also appeared on The Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/../../jen-faulkner/since-when-did-skinny-equ_b_14101574.html