There is one 4 letter word that I absolutely hate. It’s evil. It’s constantly surrounded in controversy and makes so many women (and of course men) feel inadequate and like total crap. The word diet is a word that needs to be banned from everyone’s vocabulary – it’s faddy, temporary and promotes deprivation instead of making healthy lifestyle changes.
Unfortunately for us, the diet culture is a major feature in today’s society. Whether it’s an advert on the TV, a popular faddy diet being discussed in a magazine or a billboard showcasing the latest weight loss supplement on the market – it’s everywhere and there doesn’t seem to be any escape from it. Don’t get me started on the media’s role in all of this! They have the power and the voice to reach out to young women to encourage body positivity and wellness rather than these unhealthy and sometimes harmful habits.
Don’t get me confused, I have nothing against anyone who wants to lose weight with positive intentions of wanting to become healthier. My issue lies with the diet culture and everything it represents. It potentially encourages all-consuming behaviour and teaches women that they have to control their entire life around what they put into their bodies. To me, this isn’t a sustainable way to live let alone a happy fulfilled one. To become a slave to the food and obsessively focus on each food morsel in the pursuit of health is total BS.
One of the major issues that I have with the word is the restrictive nature and the focus on the foods that you cannot eat. Sorry, but life would be incredibly boring without cake, pizza, chocolate, cheese and all those other foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar. I’ve said it before, but I actually need those foods to be healthy, they give me the balance that works so well for me. Faddy diets instantly make you crave everything that you’ve been told to banish from your kitchen cupboards.
They’re short-term fixes and the truth is that they simply don’t work. More often than not, the main focus is aesthetics instead of nourishing your body and nurturing a healthy mind. Diets don’t address any underlying emotional issues nor do they develop a healthy relationship with food or a positive body image. It’s all numbers, and everybody’s self-worth cannot be determined by a number, your worth so much more than that.
The word diet creates an unnecessary fear around food, however, mealtimes should be joyous, fun and savoured. You should be able to eat freely, devouring your food in happiness. Guilt can be soul destroying, ‘food’ and ‘guilt’ are two words that in my mind shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence. Food freedom is a beautiful thing and we all deserve to nourish our bodies with the food that we love, whether that’s a green smoothie or a huge slab of chocolate cake!
You may have guessed that I don’t subscribe to diets. Regular readers will know that I’m an advocate of balance and I would happily shout it from the office rooftops of these magazines that promote these faddy diets. I follow the 80/20 rule which means that I eat healthy foods for 80% of the time and give myself the permission to indulge my sweet tooth 20% of the time to feed my soul. We all need to tap into our bodies and listen to what it needs rather than forcing them to adapt to limiting diets.
I know now that after punishing my body with restrictive eating in the past, I’m naturally curvy. My curves are my destiny and I wouldn’t swap them for anything. I eat to be healthy and not skinny because healthy is a lifestyle and not a number. My mindset has shifted to feeling the best version of myself through making the right choices for my body and I would take that over any faddy diet.