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Monday, May 4, 2015

On Diets and Body Shaming

This post originally appeared as a guest post on Kristie Was Here.
Everyone is different in the grand scheme of the Universe. It’s science. We’re all born with different DNA (fine, unless you happen to have an identical twin. #science) and with that comes different personalities, experiences, and ways of interpreting the world around us.
But there’s one thing we all have in common in Western civilization. We’ve all been exposed to Diet Culture. We’ve been raised with the idea that if we don’t look a certain way, our bodies are wrong and we aren’t allowed to be happy until we fix them. Pre-teen girls commonly think of themselves as “fat” and admit to trying to change their eating habits in order to lose weight. 
Think about that for a minute. Our little girls are taught from day one that their bodies are something to be loathed. How can they ever feel comfortable in their own skin? Comfortable enough to play sports, to stand up for themselves or others, to believe in their voices, to try to create change? They can’t. So, many times, they don’t. 
Just because you’ve been told something your entire life doesn’t make it true. 
Here’s the thing: Hating your body helps no one but the people who want your money or the assholes who want to bring you down. 
People who are told to hate themselves do not treat themselves very well. It makes sense, right? If you hate your body for any reason, how likely are you to nourish yourself in a way that makes you feel your best, or exercise to feel good? You’re exercising or eating to punish yourself for being in a body that you don’t believe is good enough. Body shaming, whether it comes from you or others, just makes you feel worse. There’s no justification for it. So, here’s my advice: do yourself a favor, stick it to The Man, and cut that shit out! 
I know that’s blunt. And I know it’s not easy. These messages aren’t just something you turn off after a lifetime of them being drilled into your brain. You’re going to get upset sometimes when that cute dress on sale only has sizes left in extra small, or whatever doesn't fit your perfectly lovely bod. It happens to even the most fierce body love warriors out there. I’m not expecting change overnight. 
But I want to challenge you to try to look in the mirror and dare not to think of your body as a "work in progress." Love it for what it is right now: a 100% unique, complex gift from Nature or God or The Flying Spaghetti Monster; whatever belief system is your jam. Get to know your body instead of fighting it. Eat food and see how it makes you feel. Exercise and see how it improves your mood. Do and eat things you like. Yeah, spinach is good for you, but if it makes you want to gag when you think about eating it, why put yourself through that kind of torture? Life is too short, gorgeous.