Diet culture, are we really done with it?

Diet culture, are we really done with it?

For much of my teens and adult life, I’ve been what my BMI considers overweight or obese. I’ve been no stranger to diet culture or the word ‘thinspiration’.

Over the years, most recently, in fact, there’s been a body positivity movement, BOPO. This movement encourages plus sized individuals to embrace their curves and to love their bodies. I for one fully support the notion that all people can slay to the gods, no matter their size. But along the way, sharing images of myself strategically posed on the gram, people have assumed that I’m an advocate. By that, I mean entirely comfortable in my skin and happy with my (dress) size. I’m not.

At my smallest size I was around 16, a teenager. I was 9s 7lbs (133 pounds). I know exactly how much because for most of my adult life, that was my unachievable goal. I’d previously binged and purged years before my dramatic weight loss, but I think that was more about my issues with food and anxiety rather than trying to lose weight. 

I went from a chubby teenager during my high school years to a petite size 10. I apparently ‘glowed up’. While friends and family praised me for looking so good (thin), they didn’t know how I achieved it. I allowed myself to have one slice of bread a day. I walked for an hour, or sometimes two depending on if I met up with friends that day. Any time that I’d get a craving or feel my stomach rumble, I’d watch MTV BASE. The women in those music videos had perfectly flat stomachs; they were my ‘thinspiration’. Yes, I was hungry, but it didn’t matter.

I couldn’t wait to start sixth form. I remember my ‘come back’ outfit; I bought a red roll neck fitted sweater and a black pencil skirt with a red flower embroidered at the knee. I purchased it from Jane Norman, somewhere that I would never have shopped in before, let alone be able to fit into their clothes. I bought green contact lenses, which were so 90’s! I cringe now, but back then, I thought I was as good as any of those music video extras. 

The compliments came in and the boys that once ignored me noticed. Being thin meant that I didn’t have to be the funny fat one anymore.

If time travel existed there’s one period in my life that I would change, it would be then. To at least talk some sense into my young and naive self. You see, starving yourself has fast results, but maintaining that weight loss doesn’t work. And were any of those people worth it? How did you feel?

diet culture 2019

There’s no surprise that I’m still struggling with my weight today. Yes, there is more representation on tv, in magazines and larger sizes in clothing stores, but I don’t see me. You see, me is who I want to be. Not media perfect, just more comfortable in the clothes that I want to wear. 

There are hundreds of plus-sized models looking fab in fashion made for them. They are no longer covering up; they’re wearing fashion that would only have been available for a (UK) size 12 a few years ago. And thats brilliant. 

The Nicole Richie’s of the world no longer have the most desired bodies. Curves are in and small tums and big bums are the new normal. 

To use the term ‘skinny’ as a compliment is now a no-no. I’m ok with that. Although what does that mean for natural skinnies? What about those who want to be skinny and do it the right way? Do we shun them and tell them that they can come out in public and share images when they look like the new norm?

The term ‘Fat shaming’ seems to misused now and again. When someone publicly discusses wanting to lose weight, for instance, without even mentioning a disliking of larger framed folks. The last time I checked, you could support one cause without hating another; I can use the phrase ‘Big Girls Are Beautiful’ without thinking that skinny girls are ugly.

Controversially, I commented on concentrating on the root of the medias obsession without naming and shaming advocates of diet pills and hunger suppressants. I’m not down with witch hunts, but that doesn’t mean I’m about to start teaming up with ‘Beach Body Ready’ or ‘Weight Watchers’.

Yes, I’d like to lose a couple of dress sizes, but that doesn’t mean that I have anything against anyone my size or bigger — equally, anyone below the size that I wish to be.

I won’t be using questionable tummy slimming teas, I’m just going to make positive changes to my diet. That’s all, that’s it. No whistles and bells, and I probably won’t even document any ‘before and afters’ if I manage to stick to it. As I said, I’m doing this for me, no one else should really care anyway!

For those who want to shout about changing themselves whether losing or gaining weight, going under the knife, I’m not going to judge. I’m looking forward to the day when it’ll be ok to discuss wanting to change something about yourself openly without offending others. As long as they’re safe, doing it well and doing it for the right reasons. 

If for whatever reason I miss that day, let me know when we get there. It’ll be great once the dust settles and people can be who they want to be; fat, thin and everything in between. 

Looking into making some healthy changes? Take a look at MUMS NIGHT (SP)IN, Boomcycle Hammersmith

“Meet like-minded mums to enjoy an energising and fun spin class, refreshments as well as expert opinions to help boost your wellness and confidence in motherhood”.
TICKETS: 17th January 2019 – 6.30-9.00pm

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diet culture 2019

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