Diet Culture Club

 I just wanted to re-post this as I feel very strongly about it. I believe that the Diet Culture is to blame for a lot of the weight issues out there. I believe that the Diet Culture and its unhealthy chemical laden shakes/bars and pills are part of the reason why so many people find it hard to lose weight because their hormones are so out of balance.

I know people who are intelligent and smart yet they mix powder with water and call it a meal.

WE ARE SMARTER THAN THAT!

Please don’t give me diet tips or a ‘special diet’ plan. I don’t want it. I am trying to deal with the damage that this way of thinking has caused. This is NOT a diet or weight loss blog.

 

Looking back I can see that I am a product of the diet culture that has captured the world. I was a teenager in the late 80′s and early 90′s so can safely say that my attitude towards healthy eating and body image has been shaped by Jane Fonda, Aerobics Oz Style, Lycra and a myriad of diet products etc etc and in my opinion it has given me a warped sense of what health is and ultimately a warped sense of self. Let alone what a healthy body image is. I grew up thinking that dieting was a way of life, exercise was just to lose weight and shake diets or crazy fad diets was a goal to achieve if only you had the right discipline and could stick it out with self-control and if I could just lose xxkg then I will be happy. And if you couldn’t? You failed.

I don’t claim to know how to lose weight and to be honest I don’t even really care about that if it means a life of yo-yo dieting and failure. You see, the diet culture in my opinion is unachievable to most, unhealthy and I really believe that it is a major contributor to low self-esteem. You can be confident and successful but to starve and berate yourself over food just screams low self-esteem and low inner worth. People we are worth more than that!

You might find this strange if you have been following my weight loss journey. But for me this weight loss journey is not about berating myself or trying to achieve strict eating habits to obtain a number on the scales. It is about finding that balance of healthy eating, exercise for my body that makes me feel amazing and also good blood sugar levels.

It is also about cleansing out all of those unhealthy, self sabotaging thoughts and behaviours that are so ingrained in me from an early age and strangely enough I have Diabetes to thank for that.

Diabetes has taught me that food is not all about calories in and calories burnt. It has taught me that the body is an intricate machine that requires nutrients and a balanced approach. A healthy diet is not a diet because it also promotes a healthy mind and a peaceful soul. Blood glucose levels are not just balanced through food but through exercise, meditation or whatever relaxes you and food that has a positive physiological affect on your body.

Having grown up in a diet culture club I had already labeled food either good or bad, everyday food or treats and associated either positive or negative feelings along with that. Diabetes amplified this as now there is even more of a cause and effect situation when you eat. As a diabetic you become so focused on food, carb counting, carb to insulin ratio that it can become overwhelming and you can lose sight of what is important. Both food and blood sugar levels are neither good nor bad. It is the thought that makes is so. There are food and blood glucose levels that make you feel well just as there is food and blood glucose levels that make you feel bad but these are physical and should not be mental. That is the difference between eating, exercising and living for wellness or being trapped in the diet culture club.

Wellness is a state of mind and a way of life. Dieting is a chore, something you need to get done rather than enjoy. Rebellion is unavoidable when we have to do something and burnout is when we stop banging our heads on the wall to berate ourselves.

Liking me, just the way I am

I found myself talking to a delightful 15-year-old this week. I have known her since the day she was born and she has the most beautiful eyes that you have ever seen and a giggle that can send you into fits of laughter. She is bright and she is as caring as she is sweet. Except when she is talking about the way she looks. Then the words that come out of her mouth are cruel and hurtful. They are critical, harsh and unfair. And she does this without a blink of an eye.

So I asked her in a way that made me realise that I am soooo old, “Why are you so hard on yourself? Why do you need to be so self-critical?. “She just rolled her eyes and shrugged in that way that only a 15-year-old can and said, ” Coz everyone does, come on..I’m only saying what is true!”  and I continued, “but you, my goodness, you are soooo beautiful and healthy, can’t you see that? Your perfect just the way you are.”

And then I realised that even though I am 20 years older than her I am very much the same. What hope is there for her if after all these years I am only slightly better. Why is it that we as women are our worst enemy? and why is it that as a Diabetic we judge ourselves and feel judged? It doesn’t have to be someone else we are comparing ourselves to as sometimes it is ourself and our own expectations that send us into the despair of failure or low feelings of self-worth.

Being diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 30 changed my life forever. But I had already grown in to someone before. Someone who had lived a certain way, exercised and ate a certain way and thought about things in a certain way. I felt relatively comfortable in my own skin but still struggled in that way that we all seem to… Which is to scold ourselves for being bad, eating wrong food, not going to the gym as much as we should. (But overall I was pretty healthy and pretty active). Diabetes made that part of me protrude even more. However, for the first time in my life my focus was different. I may not have obsessed about my jean size as much but I obsessed about my numbers. What was worst though was how I would berate myself when my numbers were off and we all know how often that can be. Diabetes is harder to control that just your average diet and thin girl obsession and I kind of wish I knew how easy that was in comparison before.

So I vowed not to berate myself so much. To not be so impatient when I had a hypo during or after exercise or if I had ‘bad’ numbers from time to time. Actually, maybe I wouldn’t label numbers ‘bad’ or ‘good’ (okay, maybe I’ll keep the good ones:) as is that really the root of this problem?

So even though I am trying to lose weight, it is with a different mindset that I am setting out with. Health – Physical and Mental.No pressure. No judgement.

Because I am finally liking myself, just the way I am….. and in some strange (and kinda ironic) way that is changing me into a better version of myself. And a happier one.