Friday, January 28

Fuck Your Diet




Dear Dieter,


So you've decided to go on a diet. Well, umm...good for you? I guess? I'd say "Do you want a cookie?" but DUH of course you want a cookie, you're on a diet. You'll refuse the cookie, then sit down and eat an entire box after two weeks of celery and deprivation. But that's beside the point.

Let's be real for a second. Your diet? Your discussion of acceptable foods, portion sizes, workout plans, etc.? It's boring as hell. If you've never believed a word out of my profanity-spewing mouth, believe this.

NOBODY GIVES A SHIT.

So you've been brainwashed by the media, society, slights and insults from the insecure and hateful, crazy-ass, non-standardized clothing sizing, the diet industry, and fear mongering pseudoscience that abounds in clips and buzzwords every night in the news. Here's your chance to wake up. The truth is, if you buy into the bullshit that fat = death and thin = radiant health, YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY MARKETED TO.


If you want to lose weight, that's fine. It's your body, and you have full agency over the choices about what goes into it and what you do with it. Eat well. Move your body if you're able. But find the joy in good, whole foods and the pleasure of endorphins released by exercising. Make it a genuine experience. And you know what? If you want to tell me about the amazing stir fry you made for dinner or the awesome victory you had at the gym, PLEASE DO. I love good recipes and happy stories.


Not only are the details of the latest bacon-and-jello diet boring, you may be doing more damage than you realize to your friends and loved ones. 75% of American women have or have had issues with disordered eating. (http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/04/23/75-percent-of-women-have-disordered-eating/2181.html) Also, at least 10% have had a full-blown eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulemia. Every single time you talk about your diet, there is, BARE MINIMUM, a 10% chance that you are speaking to someone who may be triggered into returning to old, destructive habits. It's hard enough to keep eating normally in recovery as it is. Food isn't like drugs or alcohol. You have to eat to live. Food is everywhere. And unfortunately, so are diets and dieting advertisements. The least we can do for each other as human beings is to respect this fact and understand that you can't tell a person in recovery from someone who's never had an ED by looking, and understandably, this is not information that many people tend to share, at least until they reach a certain comfort level.


So for the love of full-fat dairy products, please stop posting about your stupid diet on Facebook (or your social networking site of choice). JUST. STOP. There are MILLIONS, literally MILLIONS, of diet-friendly spaces on the internet to share tips, get support, brag about success, etc. If you feel that you need to lose 30lbs. not to be a ghastly, unattractive troll that nobody will ever love, I'm really sorry to hear that. But I shouldn't have to hear that. Because if that's what you think of yourself, what are you implying about the reader?


We all have two choices in life. We can buy the messages of hatefulness that are designed to sell products via shame. We can internalize those messages, cosign them, engrave them on our hearts, and spend life feeling inferior, unattractive, unlovable, and morally bankrupt because we don't live up to society's bullshit standards of attractiveness. We can deny ourselves the simple pleasures in life in favor of attaining the unattainable. It's sad, but it's a valid choice.


Or, we can understand that we will never EVER be any younger or more gorgeous than we are right now. We can make peace with our bodies and learn to listen to our hunger signals. Eat when we're hungry. Participate in physical activity that we genuinely enjoy. Spend our time with friends and families, you know, those people that think you're beautiful, inside and out. Clearly, you're good enough for them just as you are. (Understand that if they're the ones delivering the negative messages, it's about their issues and hangups. I promise.) And if society's standards matter more to you than your own opinion and the opinion of those you love, honey, you've got problems a diet can't fix. Consult a therapist. Get a sassy haircut. Do what is necessary to disassemble your paradigm of self-hatred.

Next time you're alone with a mirror, take a good hard look at yourself. See the way your eyes sparkle. Admire the curve of your neck and shoulder. Take a look at your back. I bet it's awesome. Look at your calves, the way they flow gracefully to the ankle and the foot. Start there, and see what else you like. When you come to a part you haven't made peace with, skip it. Look away, and look back to something you do like. Start small, and start slow. But PLEASE, make a truce with yourself. Congratulate your body for making it through everything it's been through so far. Thank it for doing the things it does well. Stop beating yourself up. Stopping the public self-flagellation is the first step.

For what it's worth, I love you and I think you're beautiful. Right here, right now, you're beautiful. Especially your jiggly bits.

Love,
Me



P.S. Why not check out Health at Every Size?
http://www.lindabacon.org/Bacon_HAESmanifesto.pdf
http://www.obesitymyths.com/myth4.1.htm

18 comments:

  1. I totally needed this post. Thank you ma'am! <3 Dee

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  2. Love it: "Do what is necessary to disassemble your paradigm of self-hatred."
    Love it. You rock, and are becoming one of my personal heroes.

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  3. rebeckler: Thank you!!! I'll keep writing them if you'll keep reading them. <3

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  4. Rockin' my socks as always, Julie! <3

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  5. If you feel guilty for eating a cookie, I have a fantastic recipe for cookie dough dip. Here it is!!
    Cookie Dough Dip - makes about 1 1/2cups

    1/2 cup butter
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup powdered sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cups chocolate chips - mini chips work the best!

    Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble, not boiling. Set aside to cool and add vanilla.

    Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar for 60 seconds. Start on low so you don't have a dust bomb in the kitchen. Then add the liquid mixture from above. Add chocolate chips. Mix until combined.

    I like to refridgerate mine for about 30 mins. If you can't hold out that long, enjoy with a spoon, pretzles, or Graham Crackers

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  6. Ohhhh Alyssa. You just made my night. Gettin' pierced, eating Ultram, and making cookie dough dip sounds like heaven!

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  7. I love the cookie-dough dip recipe...so excited about trying it.

    I talk about what I eat a lot. Also, about what I can't eat it, because I'm diabetic and gluten-intolerant/allergic. I can't have anything with wheat, barley or rye and I have to watch my carbs. It's hard to get people to understand that I'm doing this because I get sicker (mouth sores, swollen lips, headaches, sniffles, extreme intestinal distress from gluten alone...too many carbs means decrease in blood glucose levels and increase in risks of an entire host of complications)if I don't. They assume, because I weigh approx. 370 lbs, I MUST be doing this because I'm desperate to lose weight.

    This letter has inspired me. I realize I DO have a way of explaining this in simple terms to simple minds:

    The way I eat, the food choices I make are a LIFEstyle, not a DIEt.

    Thanks. :D

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  8. Wonderful! I love this!! I really do. Like that friend of mine I posted about earlier- I don't care what you feel about yourself but you saying your fat and ugly makes me feel like you think I'm fat and ugly too. I love your strongly worded letters- they are so awesome.

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  9. I lurk on your blog. Can I just say the only thing more beautiful than you is your writing.

    Please don't stop these loving, thoughtful essays. They need to be heard (read)!

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  10. "Congratulate your body for making it through everything it's been through so far"
    Oh yeah my body definitely deserves congratulations. And thanks.

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  11. This is amazing and I could not agree more. I am a size 14 and when I look in the mirror I always feel BAD for thinking that I look good. I feel like it's completely absurd that I should be happy with my figure but on a daily basis I am shamed when I see someone who looks like me and they are talking about how they're going to lose weight so they can be more attractive- NOT so that they can simply feel more healthy! This is a lovely message and thank you so much for posting.

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  12. this is the first time since coming to your blog about a month ago that i feel the need to comment.
    i understand where you are coming from, and the message that you are trying to deliver- however, i think this post is conveying a message of hate.
    first of all- please keep in mind that some thin people do read your blog. some thin people who watch what they eat, and exercise in ways that aren't always SUPERFUN and AWESOME, because there's little reward in that. it's okay to work out, and watch what you eat. now i wouldn't say i DIET- i do try to make sure i have more calories going out than coming in generally speaking and guess what- i'm happier than i have been in years. eating shit makes you feel like shit. when i overindulge in bad food, i feel tired and get headaches. i think it's important to treat my body as well as i can.
    saying that someone should only do physical things that they want to do is like telling someone to not do their homework because it sucks. or to not clean up at work, because it isn't fun. life isn't all about fun and games, a lot of it is just shit to get by. and in order to do the physical activities i ENJOY doing (hiking, biking, etc...) i need to do some that i don't enjoy.
    and if you don't want to exercise or watch what you eat, that's your life choice. i'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't post on facebook about your bacon sandwiches. if you don't like a friend posting about their diets on facebook, then don't be their friend. i respect all life choices people make, and think we all have the right to make them- whether i agree with that choice or not.
    you shouldn't censor yourself because you may be talking to someone with an eating disorder. i happen to be a 24 year old recovering alcoholic, do you think i'd have any business going about my regular life at college asking people to please not mention alcohol or binge-drinking? absolutely not. being more aware of the person you're talking to is always a good thing, but trying to censor yourself because of a slew of mental problems one may have? impossible.
    so while people of all shapes and sizes should embrace themselves (or not, if you want things to change...), please be careful that your blog doesn't become hateful towards us who are thin and work at it.

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  13. and really, one more thing. you are putting a lot of emphasis on what society says about you and how it's bullshit if you feel you have to fit society's idea of what is attractive, but you wear make-up, dye your hair, and dress in ways that will get you attention. do you think that you came up with dressing the way you do, getting things from vintage stores, or making things? because as someone who has lives in brooklyn, if i walk out of my apartment right now i will see 90% of people who look pretty much exactly like you.

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  14. You have some great points, and thank you for the feedback. There have been conversations going behind the scenes about those who diet to live, who are thin, and who have had other addictions like alcoholism and the steps taken to self-insulate as well as not cause intentional triggering. I hope you understand by the overall tone of this SWL that it isn't a hateful message -- and it can't make anyone do anything they don't want to (much like your advice on friends). Julie is very conscious of and concerned with the myriad of different folks from different walks who read this blog -and- her letters, and if I'm being honest I think you took this a little out of context just to get pissy about it. *shrug* But rest assured, just as I am like 90% (100%) of people out there, even in Brooklyn, your attitude was noted too.

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  15. Anon--we've got to talk about your reading comprehension. Yes, there was one important distinction that I missed in this piece, I accept and own that, but HATE? Wow, you're really reaching there. And in case you missed it, this is a fat blog run by a fat person with a fat Friday contributor. While we never endorse hatespeech of any kind, making this a safe space for skinny people isn't exactly a high priority. Skinny people have the acceptance and approval of the world. You're free to eat, exercise, and live in whatever manner you see fit. I give you permission. I'm more concerned about people who do these things out of self-hatred, who never have the privilege of looking in the mirror and thinking "damn I look good". That's my audience.

    The rest of your arguments are too weak to dignify with comment.

    Furthermore, if you were paying attention, you'd realize the "Strongly Worded Letters by Julie" is, in fact, not authored by Brenda. Shocking concept, I know, but it goes back to that whole reading comprehension thing. Attacking her style is completely petty and classless. If you want to rage at someone because your feelings got hurt, rage at me, bro. Better yet, if you don't like what's said here, there's a handy X at the top right corner of the page that will take care of that for you. PROTIP.

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