But what can you do about it?
Perhaps you’ve recently taken a deep dive into the world of Diet Drama:
- You’ve tried a bunch of diets
- Discovered that none of them works (in the long run), and realized that
- The only thing that really works is to make friends with your body
Sounds good, but how do you accept your body as it is, especially in a culture that tells you exactly what you should look like and gives you hundreds (thousands?) of images a day to use to beat yourself up? You can start by identifying and rejecting the world of Diet Drama.
Diet Drama tells us that there’s one right/good/appropriate way to look and that we are a better person if our bodies look a certain way. Each year 45 million people in the United States go on diets: it has become a $71 billion a year industry, yet according to studies— 95% of diets fail.
Recently, the diet promotion industry has cleverly decided to talk less about appearance and more about ideal stereotypes of “Health” and “Wellness”. But, dear readers, thinness and health are not the same, and weighing more than the current ideal does not mean you’re unhealthy.
Diet Drama says that a buff, slim body equals happiness and we’re brainwashed to do whatever it takes to achieve it. We’re taught that our worth and access to love is based on what we look like: so, you’d better find a way to work those 100 crunches into your morning routine or turn down that chocolate shake for a kale smoothie.
The next time you look in the mirror and feel dissatisfied that your body isn’t good enough. Consider these ways to stop Diet Drama and make friends with your body:
- Notice how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror or when you’re scrolling social media.
- Behind all those before-and-after transformation photos, Diet Drama is always trying to sell you something: those images of corporeal perfection come with an expensive price tag.
- Notice how other people judge their bodies and the food they eat (or don’t eat).
- Stop commenting (internally or externally) on other people’s bodies: you never know what someone is going through in their life or with their health.
- Heal your relationship with food, don’t take eating – that simple, intuitive act – and turn it into a high-stakes drama. Try this as your new mantra: “Food is just food” and “What I eat is no longer a high-drama telenovela”.
- Stop obsessing with all those “rules” of Diet Drama, like calorie counting and portion sizes. We’ve all got an antenna that tune into our body’s hunger messages, start paying attention to it: your stomach will tell you when it’s hungry by “growling”. Your mind doesn’t know what your body needs. Hunger is physical, not emotional.
- Food insecurity makes it hard to listen to your body. If you’re struggling, this is not the time to beat yourself up for not being “healthy enough.” If you do have secure access to food, ditch all those rigid diet rules, honor your hunger and give yourself unconditional permission to eat. Your body will eventually recalibrate.
- Don’t criticize your body: focus instead on all the great things it does for you.
- Would you treat your BFF the way you currently treat your body? Would you ever tell them that they weren’t good enough because they don’t look like a model? A positive relationship with your body requires the same amount of work as any other relationship in your life: take time to listen, pay attention to its needs and give it compassion.
- Prioritize listening to your body’s cues, whether that’s “I’m craving something sweet” or “I think I’ve had enough food.”
Give these ideas some consideration and see if they work for you. It is possible to stop Diet Drama and make friends with your body: that’s the path to freedom…and a happier, healthier body, no matter what it weighs!