In preparation for 2019, I decided to clean out my cabinets today. For those of you who have not seen or chatted with me about this, for 2019 I’m giving up diet culture. We are removing it from our home and my life. I want to live with my relationship with food not determining how I feel about myself. I want my kids to grow up eating meals made with love, and to relate to food on a nourishment level – body AND soul. I want the kitchen to be the heart of our home. I want our bodies to be loved by the souls inside them, and I want food to be something that evokes feelings of joy, fulfillment, nourishment, social wellbeing and satisfaction for my sons.
Taking an honest look at my relationship with food, in the past 20 years or so, food hasn’t been any of those for me. Food has been a tug of war, a point of shame, an anxiety trigger. Food has been something I withheld from myself in order to try and live up to beauty standards, or to see ‘onederland’ on the scale. (FYI, That means getting under 200lbs, if you follow fitness/weight loss inspo on social media). Food has become confusing, infuriating, and stressful.
Today I physically removed diet culture from my home.
I was digging through the pantry, cleaning each shelf and dancing to my fave 2000s pop playlist, when I had a moment of clarity that I couldn’t help but stop and write about it. I am relearning what it is like to be an intuitive eater, but my kids already do this perfectly.
We had a period where I was enabling this food tug of war with them. They eat when they’re hungry and they eat what they need when I feed them dinner (even when it is accompanied by food they have a vendetta against, they still find something to eat on their plate and finish dinner satisfied). My boys are full of energy and constantly move their bodies. They also are attracted to fruit and other carbs as opposed to fatty foods and protein. Their dad is the same way – he runs on carbs. I, on the other hand, am more attracted to fat and protein. I could eat a gigantic buttery steak with a huge side salad every day of the week. Or bacon and eggs. Or chicken wings with veggies and ranch dip. When I lived a life that revolved around food shame and restriction, depending on which ‘diet’ I was subscribing to that day, I wasn’t allowed to listen to my body, but instead I had to pay some expert to learn how to ‘fix myself’… whether it was doing some clean eating challenge, or mixing up shakes and taking supplements, or calling pasta the devil and doing some ritual to rid my body of carbs.
Today I threw away all the paleo, keto, weight watchers, alternative flours, shakey shake, fat buster pills (ok lets actually call them explosive poo pills), pre-portioned freezermeals, and fake sugar products. I bought all of these things believing that they’d make me better. That they’d make me feel happier about my body. I bought them believing that I could become more acceptable to the people around me, and that I would be happier and life would be better if I was living it out in a smaller body. I tossed my scales earlier this year because I was ready for a new life without number obsession. It has only improved my quality of life.
70 Billion Dollars later?
I don’t know if you’ve watched some of my personal philosophy and life changes lately but I can confidently say that feminism and calling out the seedy undersides of society have become important to me. I’m going to say this with a disclaimer: I am in no way shaming my friends who do participate in diet culture (and as members of society seeped in diet culture, it may be the only perspective you’ve been exposed to), but I want to share a perspective I’ve developed about it.
The weight loss industry is estimated to crest at 70 BILLION dollars spent in 2018. There are many, many people making large amounts of cash off your dislike of your body. There are companies that target people with disordered eating difficulties and tell them that if they buy their plan, purchase these x products in order to heal themselves, they’ll be better one day. There are people who are making money off books that are telling women that they are lazy and unable to commit to themselves if they don’t eat ‘clean’ and exercise in a certain way. There are targets on the backs of newly postpartum women telling them they need to get their bodies back ASAP. It is ingrained in EVERY stage of our lives. SEVENTY BILLION DOLLARS of poor body image exploitation this year, it blows my mind. A podcast I listen to often quotes this statistic (I need to find the study and read it, still): 3-5% of people who diet actually lose weight and keep it off permanently. That’s it, ya’ll. That’s what we’re spending 70B dollars a year on.
I’m fed up.