Ah diet culture*, you fickle and slippery creature. With both subtle and overt messages of shame and doubt, you permeate the human experience. You invite yourself into our everyday conversations, you puff up in self-importance and you whisper your dark and sinister words into the ears of billions of people every day.
You suck, not only in a colloquial sense but also in a literal sense. You suck energy, time, opportunity, confidence and sanity. You suck the very force of life, like a desperate leech. You flat out lie. You take our power. You drive us away from our values, and strip away our consciousness and our truth.
You cruelly perpetuate trans-generational messages of body hatred and disconnection from one wonderful human to their offspring and beyond. We can see you have a succession plan, replacing one definition such as “diet” with another such as “clean eating.” You feel really smug, don’t you? With each evolution, you find ways of confusing people, and speaking to a new audience. Men and children appear to be your newest prey. Yes, we see you spreading your tentacles further than the women of the world, a disgusting and desperate move for you to convince yourself that you’re relevant, and essential. There’s no limits to your dirty tactics, is there diet culture?
You hide in dark corners, pretending to be something you’re not. You pretend to be all helpful, all nice, all wise…..but you’re nothing but a pack of lies – a wolf in sheeps clothing. You can also be clearly seen in broad daylight, flowing out of the mouths of parents at school pick up, eager young ears listening so intently, hearing your gossip about how important it is to have an acceptable appearance. “Pass on that juicy gossip, young ladies & men of the world, go forth into your playgrounds and classrooms and pass that on!” you say. School yards are your new playground, diet culture; evidence that your venom knows no bounds and you have no care beyond your own goals of human disconnection, dissatisfaction and misery.
Diet culture, you and capitalism seem to have a nice thing going on here. You’ve got it figured out that if we accept ourselves, there’s not as much money to be made. People won’t spend as much money trying to “fix themselves” if they view themselves as not needing to be fixed. You prey on people’s perceptions of their own failure and with every promise, you’ve designed an escape route. A way of turning around and saying “hey, it’s not me, it’s YOU”, reinforcing your own ideas around weight and worth. Your first step is to convince people that if their bodies were different, their lives would be different. There’s no shortage of options here diet culture – thanks so very much – and there’s a ready access to *this* program or *that* “lifestyle plan” or “28-day shred” most often touted by your minions you have themselves (often unknowingly and without consent) signed up to your diet culture army. Next you heap praise and reward on those who are “successful” by your standards, perpetuating the ideas that you are the saviour of all souls. Then……then when that same person finds your lyrics difficult to read and is no longer singing your tune, you turn to blame and shame like the true low life you are. You convince people that THEY are to blame, that only if they had enough willpower or self-control then the story wouldn’t end this way. And you’ve got your army ready to go at every turn, offering glossy “before and after” pics, testimonials and yet another diet ready to go….because *this time* it will work. And life will be different. You will be….transformed.
And when we dare cry foul, when we dare to connect with our own truth – that we are in fact good enough as we are – you parade your “health” messages and threaten us that we’re all going to die a horrible, lonely death if we don’t conform to your stupid standards. Thing is, diet culture, it’s up to us to decide what’s best for us, and everything (including health) is an opt-in.
So you know what? We call bullshit on you, diet culture. We’re wising up. Go crawl back into your filthy little hole and disintegrate, as you have done to so many people. We are ALL so much more than a body. We are whole human beings.
You, whole people of the world, have permission to take up space in the world, to reject diet cultures very screwed up notions of what makes a person, and life, worthwhile. YOU get to decide makes your life worthwhile, what makes your heart sing, what floats your boat. Your body has the most incredible innate wisdom, and diet culture tries to drown you out with it’s “lalalalalalaaaaaa” bullshit. Your wisdom is still there, and when you can see diet culture for what it is, when you can bring it out of the shadows and expose it, you’re left with your own body’s voice. It may only be a croaky whisper (it has been patiently been trying to get your attention all this time), but it’s still there, ready to chat when you are. You can expect that diet culture will very rudely interrupt your conversations but similarly to what you may say to a child, you can say “I see you. Please say “excuse me” (as if diet culture is ever going to say that hahahaaaa). I am talking to my body right now.” Alternatively, you could just tell diet culture to shut up and fuck off. Each and every day. That’s an option too.
*What is diet culture?
Diet culture encompasses all the messages that tell us that we’re not good enough in the bodies we have, and we’d be more worthwhile and valuable if our bodies were different. Our culture is SO embedded with body- and weight-centric messages that they’re sometimes imperceptible. Diet culture is deeply ingrained in our everyday existence and prevents us from living our most full and meaningful lives. To break away from diet culture, we need first to expose it, then find alternative ways to feel connected to ourselves, each other, and the world in a way that moves away from defining our worth according to our body shape, weight or appearance. Let’s call bullshit together.