Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Dear Diet Culture, Its Not Me...Its You



Dear Diet Culture,

I'm writing this letter to let you know that our relationship has to end.

You first became part of my life when I was 11 years old...although if truth be told, you'd been around in various forms long before then too.

The more acquainted we became, the more you started to teach me...to begin with it was the smaller, more subtle lessons...you taught me that smaller= better when it came to women's body size, That the less of me there was physically...the more I would be worth to the society I live in.

You taught me that my dress size was intrinsically linked to my value on this planet - that as long as I was always trying to shrink myself, I would be applauded, rewarded and appreciated.

Over time, the lessons became even more damaging. You taught me to study the calorie content of everything I ate. To pay more attention to that than to the nutritional value it held.

You taught me to start seeing food in terms of imaginary labels - some foods are red foods, some foods are green foods. You taught me that certain foods belong in lists - and that my body could only handle a limited number of foods from each list per day.

You even went as far as to teach me that food was to be viewed as a "sin". You can change the spelling of the word, but the meaning remains the same...you demonised food, how did I ever think this was a healthy relationship?

You taught me to question my bodies signals. Not to trust it. To ask myself, am I REALLY hungry or am I just thirsty. Am I really hungry or am I just bored?

You taught me to ignore my bodies cravings, because rather than trusting that my body was capable of telling me what it needed in that moment it was better to trust that you knew what was best for me.

You taught me to tune out my body. And to listen only to you...you and your rules, you and your control.

For years I believed that I was the problem in our relationship.

That I was a bad person for not always being able to live by your rules - that I was disobedient, greedy, and too stupid to know what was good for me.

It was always my fault for not trying hard enough. Always my fault for losing my way.

So I'd become depressed, and I'd come crawling back to you - swearing that this time it would be different, this time I'd try harder, this time I'd do better.

It wasn't working between us but it never occurred to me that perhaps the problem wasn't me after all....perhaps it was you.

But now I've finally started to see the truth...and the truth is, you were using me.

All of these years that I've spent believing that you wanted what was best for me...believing that your way was the right way to live...have finally come crashing down around me.

All you wanted was my money. Paying for my presence in your weekly classes, buying your magazines, buying your foods and your shakes and - when I wasn't able to slim down enough - your pull-in pants and your miracle teas.

For all of these years, you have profited from my insecurities.

You knew that things probably wouldn't work out for us...because statistics show that for 95% of your loyal followers, it never does work long term...but you took my money anyway. My money, years of my time and - worst of all - you destroyed my relationship with my body and with food in the process.

You made it so that I feel completely detached from the body I live in.

You've taught me to question it's signals and cravings, not to trust it...my relationship with my body is broken because of you.

You changed the way I look at foods.

Even now, a whole year after I walked away from you, I still struggle not to see foods as red or green, A's or B's....not to see it as a "sin".

Our relationship didn't work, and it has damaged me in oh so many ways, but I'm determined to work hard to repair my relationship with food and with my body.

And I know now that the problem between us was never me....it was you.

We're over. For good.

And the truth is, I've found someone else...

Someone that goes by the name of self acceptance, self love and trust in my own intuition.

And guess what?

We're really happy together!

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