I’ve been working hard the past few years to reclaim love for my body. This breakup letter with diet culture below is one more step forward on this body love quest. Thank you to Kate at With Love, Kate for suggesting I write this letter, and thank you to everyone who has supported me along my journey.
Also, this letter is my truth, but it might not be yours. So, if you don’t agree with some of it, totally fine!
Dear Diet Culture –
It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m dumping you. Sorry, not sorry.
I actually think this is one of the most appropriate times for me to dump you. Valentine’s Day is all about love, yet you don’t love me. So, goodbye. Today, I’m going to love ME.
If you still can’t understand why I’m breaking up with you, here’s some more food for thought (food pun intended).
How Do I Hate Thee? Let Me Count the Ways:
- You make me confused and feel like I’m never doing enough. There’s always a new diet to follow that’s supposed to be the best thing ever. And it’s like every diet contradicts other diets out there. Hello, low-fat craze (e.g., Snackwells and those fat-free chips I ate in high school that ripped my stomach apart), Weight Watchers, Atkins, Paleo, Keto, gluten-free, clean eating, whole 30, counting macros, vegan, etc. I’m talking to all of you. You make my head spin, and I’ve decided to put my head back on straight and leave it there.
- You profit off of me. There’s a lot of research that shows diets don’t work – plus only a teeny tiny percentage of the population was actually physically made to look like the models on magazine covers – but that doesn’t matter to you as long as you’re making money. Feeding into people’s insecurities and motivating through shame is no longer OK in my book.
- You’re an imposter. You often show yourself under the guise of “health” but you completely ignore all elements of mental health. Take for example when you restrict me from eating certain things or food at certain times or on certain days. Those restrictions start to disconnect me from my body. I follow your rules instead of listening to my body’s cues. Then those restrictions sometimes start becoming obsessions – which zaps a lot of mental/emotional energy. If I then “break down” and eat something restricted, I often overeat it because – well – I’ve already f*d up so I might as well eat the whole box and then I’ll start over tomorrow (with a hearty dish of guilt and shame). And then the cycle continues. Hmm … and you call yourself healthy? That doesn’t sound very healthy to me.
- You distract me from the TRUTH. The truth is “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”) In this psalm, ‘fearfully’ implies honor, reverence and respect. When God made me, he did it with honor, reverence and respect. I was awesomely made. No strings attached. I am a child of God and no matter how I look, He loves me. I am a worthy, valuable person. Period.
Diet culture – I know this is going to be hard for you to swallow and that you’re going to keep trying to win me back. I know I can’t make you disappear completely, but I’m evicting you from my mind and my heart. Oh, and if you think I forgot about that spare key you have, I haven’t. I have bodyguards – my therapist, family/friends and other kickbutt, positive influencers – guarding my door. So be warned.