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.
P.S. Why not check out Health at Every Size?