“Diet Culture [is] a system of beliefs that equates thinness to health and moral virtue, promotes weight loss as a means to attain higher status, and demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others.” (Harrison)
That quote resonates with my life pretty strongly right now.
Diet culture is something that I bought into for a long time. Words like that remind me of where I used to be, and what I stand for now. Because I refuse to belong to that culture, I have challenged those beliefs in myself, and I am committed to helping others do the same.
This weekend I had the opportunity to take a course with the host of the Food Psych Podcast, Christy Harrison on how wellness professionals can hone their anti-diet message. Things like practicing neutrality, being mindful of images shared on social media, being aware of potentially triggering language, and being sensitive to the prevalence of disordered eating behaviors was just some of the material covered. It reminds me that while the body positive message I am committed to sharing with world is important, what is even more important is my ability to encourage and inspire others to be part of the change as well. What I’ve learned through coursework and reading to strengthen my own message is information that is applicable to all – not just those in health and wellness fields. We all need to stand up to challenge societal standards to create change.
There is space for you too in the body positive movement, and you don’t have to be an activist to join. If there is one thing you can align with to be part of the change societal standards, and adopt a more accepting mentality, I believe it’s,
See Wholeness, Be Wholeness.
In order to embrace the wholeness of ourselves and others, we must become conscious that the physical body is only one part of a whole human being. Over emphasizing someone’s body, in either a positive or negative way, adds to the too-prevalent sentiment that how we look adds to or subtracts from our worth.
Honor physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, in yourself and others.
Be genuinely curious and non-judgmental about others, remember that there is a person inside that body with values, life experiences, and perspectives. Rather than complimenting someone on their body or how they look, try complimenting their genuine smile, free spirit, compassion, sense of humor, peaceful energy, etc. Make choices that honor your wholeness. Stop dieting. Practice self-compassion non-judgement. Take the initiative to change the conversation when it starts to drift towards body-bashing. And lastly, become aware and present of your own beliefs, and pay attention to your own thoughts about body image.
See wholeness in yourself, so you can see wholeness in others. See wholeness in others so you can see it in yourself.
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