Monday, 2 January 2017

Dealing With All This Diet Talk

diet-body-callAs a new year begins, so to begins a massive amount of diet and weight loss talk everywhere we turn.  Whether it’s commercials for diets, gyms offering free body fat testing, employers starting weight loss competitions,(that are a seriously terrible idea), or friends posting all over social media.  Here are some things that you can do to help get yourself through this:

Create a Mantra

I talk about this a lot, but I have found it to be invaluable.  Create a mantra that you use whenever you see diet or weight loss junk.  My personal mantra is “Hey, That’s Bullshit!” Other people have told me that they use phrases like “Nope, Nope, Nope” or “Hell to the no”  You can use whatever works for you.  The trick is to say it to yourself (or outloud, whatever works for you) every time you have to deal with weight loss/diet talk (radio commercials, magazines, billboards, food labels, social media, everywhere.) In my experience, after a while it becomes automatic and my brain helps me to ignore all that mess before I’m even conscious of it.

Remember What You Know

The diet industry is a bad ex who booty calls us every New Years, but we don’t have to answer that call.

Especially if you’re new to Size Acceptance and/or Health at Every Size, this can be a rough time of year. No matter how much you know about what the research says regarding the near total failure rate of intentional weight loss (whether they’re called “diets” or “lifestyle changes” or “eating plans” or something else,) no matter how many times we’ve personally ridden the diet roller coaster, or how hard we have had to work to get off the roller coaster and start appreciating the bodies we have, no matter how hard we work to overcome the fantasy of being thin and our addiction to diet culture, the weight loss (or, as it should be called, weight cycling) industry is extremely good at luring us back for “just one more try.”

Ask yourself (and the diet industry) these questions.

Consider these 10 reasons that I’ll never diet again.

Remember what you know, remember the road you traveled to get to this place, remember that the weight cycling industry makes billions of dollars a year – and that the number increases every year because their product does not work and their business plan depends on repeat business.

For Your Dieting Friends – Empathy and Options

Many of your friends and family are going to start weight loss attempts.  They are going to get tons of support and praise for doing that. Most of those people will lose weight short term, they are going to get tons of praise for that (including the kind of praise that lets them know that people were judging their former fat body.)  People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, and I don’t want people people suggesting dieting to me, and try not to be a hypocrite, so if people don’t ask me for advice about dieting, I don’t give them advice. I try to just ignore the whole thing unless they bring it up, in which case I use these methods.

Even though I don’t comment, I’m well aware that almost all of those people are going to gain that weight back, and that because of all those well meaning pro-weightloss compliments, they’ll now have to deal with failing at their diet (perhaps not for the first time) and knowing exactly what negative views their friends and family think about their fat bodies.

So I prepare for that by trying to make sure that they know that they are worthy no matter what, by modeling SA and HAES, providing information about Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size in my own social media spaces, and talking about my personal SA and HAES practices in conversations where other people are discussing their diets, so that people know that there are options for loving their bodies, dealing with weight stigma, and choosing a path to health, that don’t have anything to do with their body size, or manipulating it.

Of course, unfriending/unfollowing is also an option.  You get to decide how you deal with this and any choice you make is valid.

Use Your Resources

Spend as much time as you need/want to in Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size spaces, read SA and HAES books, reach out to your friends who are part of SA and HAES to support you. Have gratitude for your amazing body and the fact that you found this community and, with it, a way to get off the diet roller coaster and stay off.

Here’s to another year of ass-kicking Size Acceptance and Fat Positivity!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

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