Please do not feed the diet monster

It’s only been two years since I started trying to break out of the whole mainstream fatphobic diet mentality thing, and I already have far, far more good days than bad. I learned to love my body and my self no matter what size or shape, I can recognise damaging talk when I hear it, I will never go on another diet as long as I live.

But earlier this week I made a mistake. I had a meeting after work, and traffic was bad so I only had a few minutes at home to change out of my work clothes. I threw on some jeans and a hoodie and ran out the door.

Fifteen minutes later, when I knew I would make the meeting on time and had calmed down enough to notice, I realised that my jeans didn’t fit. At all. What should have been boot cut was now super skinny, I couldn’t bend my knees fully, and even when I was standing the waistband dug into my stomach.

I was stuck in those jeans for 5 hours. Aside from the physical discomfort, I noticed some thoughts sneaking in as the night went on. Thoughts like

This is just because of the injury. Once I start exercising again I’ll get smaller.

If I use my kettlebells, that’ll have an effect faster.

These used to fit me, how did I let myself get so much bigger?

And hundreds of variations on that theme.

I had forgotten how ingrained fatphobia was. Here I was thinking I had beaten it, but less than an hour in some tight trousers was enough to push me a huge step backwards and get me planning and plotting to make myself smaller.

What’s even worse is that the effect didn’t go away when I took the jeans off. It’s days later now and I’ve got my first salsa class since before my injury; I know I’m bigger than last time most of the salsa scene saw me, and I’m afraid of what they will think of me. There’s a small part of me that is actually seriously considering not going.

All this because of ONE PAIR OF FREAKING JEANS!

Of course I’m going to salsa. That nasty voice in my head is still trying to stop me, but I’ve had two years practice at throwing my shoulders back, lifting my chin and doing it anyway. And then the second I have enough free time, I’m going through every item of clothing I own and getting rid of anything and everything that doesn’t fit me. If I then need to go and buy bigger clothes, so be it. Clothing sizes are just numbers and not one of them is better than another.

My body is perfectly fine exactly as it is. My body (and my mind) deserves clothes that fit well and that make me feel fabulous, not like a sausage about to burst its skin.

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Real life horror story

Or Why I Will Never Ever Be Part Of The Diet Industry Ever Again

One of my colleagues was ill over Christmas and new year, bad enough to have been hospitalised and still unable to return to work two weeks later. Which led to the following conversation.

Colleague 1: She can’t even eat; she’s lost about a stone

Colleague 2: Oh well that’s alright then!

Colleague 1: I know, she must be so happy

Colleague 3: Every cloud and all that

Colleague 4: I’m so jealous

Colleague 1: Aye, me too. I might go for a visit – see if I can catch something!

*All laughing*

Me: *silently screaming into my hands*

 

I’ve heard of people with cancer who lost weight because they were unable to eat without throwing up or their gums were too sore for food, who were then told “cancer really suits you!”. But I didn’t really believe that could have happened, that people could be so phenomenally superficial.  That anyone could ever say to another human being, “Yes, you might die, but at least you’ll go out skinny!”.

I believe it now.

This is what our beauty ideal and the diet industry have created. Thin is good, praiseworthy, to be envied, no matter how it’s achieved. Anything that makes us lose weight is automatically good, even if it will kill us.

How did we let this become a thing? How did we get to a point where people can have a conversation like that and not be utterly, utterly horrified? I know I am.

Dealing With All This Diet Talk

Dances With Fat

diet-body-callAs a new year begins, so to begins a massive amount of diet and weight loss talk everywhere we turn.  Whether it’s commercials for diets, gyms offering free body fat testing, employers starting weight loss competitions,(that are a seriously terrible idea), or friends posting all over social media.  Here are some things that you can do to help get yourself through this:

Create a Mantra

I talk about this a lot, but I have found it to be invaluable.  Create a mantra that you use whenever you see diet or weight loss junk.  My personal mantra is “Hey, That’s Bullshit!” Other people have told me that they use phrases like “Nope, Nope, Nope” or “Hell to the no”  You can use whatever works for you.  The trick is to say it to yourself (or outloud, whatever works for you) every time you have to deal with weight loss/diet talk…

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