It’s that time of week again and I finally have a moment where I can actually participate! Welcome to the Fit Five Friday with with your FIVE amazing hosts – me, My First 5K and More, Running With Attitude, Runs with Pugs, Zenaida ! Feel free to join in on the fun!
Right. Another post from me starting with an apology for being absent again. It’s been … challenging, to say the least, but where there are challenges, then are almost always changes, am I right?
So while we’re talking change, there is something big that I’ve been trying to do for a long time now and that’s deprogram myself from diet-culture thinking and speaking. Now you may not feel like this post is for you and that is totally ok. But you may also find yourself maybe nodding your head in agreement to one of two of these things. In any case, this is just something I’m working on and I do not expect others to follow suit. We all do our thing in our own time.
Five ways to Deprogram Yourself
What do I mean by this? These are just things you could try to change if you feel this way of thinking or this behaviour no longer suits you.
Remove morality from food
And I mean all food. Food isn’t “good” “bad” “clean” nor is food a “cheat”. It’s literally food. You want pizza? Go ahead. Ice Cream? That’s ok too. You are craving a salad. Cool, have that. Diet Culture has us really believing and thinking that there is morality in what we put in our bodies, but honestly, there is none. Are things healthier than other things? Sure but that doesn’t make them moral.
Stop “earning” to celebrate or consume later
So I still have a hard time with this. Justifying a couple of beers or fries because I did a long run. I didn’t actually “earn” it. Sure we want to have a balance right? Balance is good. But, what about doing a couple of hard workouts before a big night out or a holiday? If that is what you want to do, you can. But don’t use exercise as a way to earn what you will consume later. This can really be a slippery slope.
The same goes with rewards. Rewarding yourself with food is kind of messed up if you think about it. This has been programmed in my head for at least 30+ years. This probably coincides with the first time I joined Weight Watchers and being told that we could “earn” our treats if we just went outside for a walk or had some other form of exercise. It’s sad. We don’t have to do this.
Let us not forget that all of this “earning” and “rewarding” can and does unfortunately lead to disordered eating.
A smaller body does not necessarily equal Health
This is something I have learned recently too – even though I’ve likely lost a bit of fitness and I have gained weight, that doesn’t mean I am unhealthy. Yet the messages we receive is still clearly that a smaller body is “better” and a bigger body is “unhealthy” or even worse that bigger bodied people are “lazy”.
I’m still working on being ok with my body. My programming tells me that it’s not “good”, that I should lose weight, that it would be “better” for me. But what if I would just be OK with me, right now?
Stop complimenting weight loss
Ok this is tough, I know. I really struggle with it. Commenting on anyone’s body, especially when it comes to weight loss is really diet culture talk in my opinion. The self-deprecating comments from friends in regular conversations are starting to make me sad. Do we really constantly think about our bodies and our weight? Are we really constantly judging our own bodies?
I am really trying to redirect any conversation about weight, either loss or gain, to make it about something else, something positive about that person. It’s hard because I know we are super programmed to WANT compliments about weight loss, we WANT to hear how great we look, etc. But what about how great we ARE? Isn’t being a great person, more than just looking great?
As a person who has dieted since high school, every time I lost weight I got compliments, praise, everyone wanted to know what I did to lose the weight. But those of us who ride this roller coaster tend to gain weight again. In fact, not a lot of people maintain weight loss for a long time. Some do, sure. But most of us don’t. And we don’t get a lot of compliments when we gain weight. Sad, but true.
You have a shape. Period.
This is something that really drives me mad. Especially advertisements for products or programs to “get in shape”. Actually, you have a shape. And your shape is already amazing. You are ok the way you are right now. You can wear that bikini or crop top right now, you don’t have to be “in shape” for that.
A challenge for you – try to notice how many times you read or hear that someone is “out of shape” or wants to get “back in shape” and I bet you you’ll hear or read it every single day. In fact, I’ve been glancing at personal trainers and programs here in town and every.single.one. talk about a “back in shape” program of some kind.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What are other ways you think we can deprogram ourselves from Diet Culture?
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I totally agree.
It’s the media that makes us think we need to be eating organic food and look a certain way.
Yes I’m thin. But naturally. I hate when friends tell me it’s because I run. Or they need to lose weight to run.
There are better and faster runners than me who are overweight. And if you can walk, you can run. It’s just an excuse to be lazy.
End of rant.
Welcome back to the blogging world.
agree with you Darlene. The media, advertisements, literally everything around us is saying telling us what “good” and “bad” looks like when it comes to food and fitness. And frankly I’m tired of it being a morality issue. While I absolutely want to be fit and healthy to have an enjoyable long life, I refuse to earn my food or starve myself because of a big dinner out. And you shouldn’t have to justify your thinness as much as I don’t have to justify my fluffiness.
Renee, I love this post! I agree 100% with all of it, although some things are harder to implement than others. I still have to convince myself that I don’t need to “earn” my breakfast by working out first (I know- earn my breakfast? That’s crazy talk!) Not complimenting people on weight loss is tricky, because they WANT to be complimented- but it’s not a good conversation to have. I like how you’re thinking on this- we definitely need to deprogram ourselves.
Some things are harder than others when it comes to deprogramming. I am trying very hard to not comment on weight loss anymore. Rather trying to find ways to steer the conversation. but it’s tough.
Totally agree! I hate the “cheat” day and demonizing of different foods and the concept that we have to exercise to “earn” food. It’s so toxic. So many “healthy” influencers are promoting these unhealthy concepts. It’s very hard to deprogram from this!
yes! so agree!! I’ve had to remove a lot of IG accounts from my life because it is just too much toxicity!
I love this so much. Did I mention how much I loved it? Because I love it. We need to all do this. All the time.
I get the feeling you loved this post? ha! we all really need to do this. we need to be the change we want to see in our world.
I totally agree with you! I will admit that I have had a cheat day or complimented people on their weight loss. I am trying to do better and not do any of those things. Not easy but doable.
it is really just practise. you may catch yourself doing it and then make a mental note for the next time. it will take time to deprogram ourselves.
This is a really important conversation. I had dinner with a friend this week. Perusing the menu, she said “I ate light all day, so I can get whatever I want.” I replied, “I can get whatever I want because I can get whatever I want.” I’m not immune from the thinking behind her comment, but I’m trying to deprogram, as you put it.
it’s good to say things out loud as well. I think sometimes we are so programmed that we may not even realise how harmful it can be!