February 20, 2020

Healthy Mama || Why We All Need To Ditch Diet Culture

Like 99% of the nation, when it came to new year I knew this was a good time to start thinking about my health again and I have. I am admittedly very unhealthy currently and being mid thirties as well, I am getting quite scared about my health. I am currently very overweight, scarily so in fact and I could do with shifting at least six stone to get my weight and measurements in a healthier range and I really want to achieve this. I also have back issues that will be better if I lose weight, so the motivation is there, the need is there, but it's how I approach it this time that has to change.

One thing though is that I can't deal with diets any more. I have a super unhealthy binge starve kind of mindset when it comes to food, so for the best part this year I've just been trying to listen to my body, to feed it when it needs feeding and stop feeding it when it's content. I'm trying to look at food as fuel more than constant 'treats', and actually feeling like a takeaway on a Saturday night once a month is a real treat instead of the norm. I am looking into some proper help with my eating, which I've always been too embarrassed to do for the fear of people thinking I'm just greedy or laughing me out the room. I like to think nowadays though that the support is there, so we will see. Until then, the intuitive eating seems to have clicked with me and is something I can't obsess over or feel the need to cheat. 

So far this approach has worked well for me, I've lost 12 pounds this year and the best thing is I've not had to obsess over food, write anything down or restrict myself. I've had everything I've fancied and not felt at all deprived and why? Because I'm not engrossed in the never ending obsessive cycle of diet culture that we've all come to know and love (hate). I really honestly believe that for most of us, if we really want to succeed in getting healthy long term, we need to ditch the diets, get off the bandwagon and treat our own relationship with food as it needs to be treated.

It's only when not engaging with diet culture and looking in from the outside, that you see why it's so unhealthy, why it never works and why people make so much money from it. I don't disagree with the concept of weight loss because many of us do have to lose timber to live longer, it's just fact, but I think the way we go about getting there and the way it's talked about needs to change and here's why.

Paying someone to tell you you're fat is so pointless and such a waste of money

Talking about points, calories, syns (don't get me started on how shitty the concept of syns is) makes you obsess, feel deprived, then be worse than ever, gain weight and the cycle continues. It really is a never ending cycle, it's just another money maker and of course it works and for some they will keep the weight off, but to be honest if you're in the right mindset to drop seven stone in a group, the willpower was there all along. We need to have more faith in our abilities to keep control instead of attending patronising groups once a week and feeling shamed for being 'naughty' and having a slice of birthday cake.

Food is not naughty or sinful. The whole 'I can't I'm trying to be good', or 'ooh I was very naughty I had bread' is not a healthy way to look at food, nor is it something you should be like long term. Getting to goal is great, but then what, can you never have bread again? Are you going to constantly be thinking in points or syns? The whole thing makes me really mad because no food is naughty or shameful, just don't eat it by the bucket load and be sensible. We need to learn self control and labelling food as bad and restricting it so heavily just isn't the way forward.

Hearing people talk about diet foods and how they might as well not celebrate their birthday because they can't go out for a meal or have cake is utterly absurd. Life is far too short to not be enjoyed and if food is a part of that for you, let it be so, just learn to be sensible with it. Have what you fancy but walk more, drink more water, have a smaller portion, dance around the kitchen, anything small and unnoticeable that helps but doesn't have you constantly obsessing about food, exercise and weight is a good thing.

Are you sick of diet culture too?

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