The Damage Diet Culture Plays on Our Mental Health
I’m bearing it all today ladies because it’s time to take back our bodies. We see these before and after pictures all the time, right?
My picture isn’t exactly what everyone hopes for with their own “after” results, but it’s time we take back our social media accounts. It’s time we put an end to these before and afters that make us feel badly. It’s time that we really weed out the unhealthy stuff that’s been in our faces since before we can remember.
In the picture on the right...a picture I took today, I am 20 pounds heavier than I was in my “before” photo. It’s usually the other way around, right?
But, what no one talks about is how they FEEL in the before and after photos.
In my before picture, I was MISERABLE.
In fact, my quest to be thin only added to the pressure I felt in those days as an angry mom and was something I can point directly to when looking for a cause for my rage. It wasn’t the only thing, but it was a big factor. Today I am 20 pounds heavier, BUT, I am happier and more content. Today I am working towards bigger goals that go beyond what I look like in the mirror.
Today, I don’t panic when a friend invites me to dinner. Today I don’t panic and get angry when I miss a workout. Today I am able to fit more into my life than I was back then because back then the only thing on my mind was calories and working out.
If you’re doing it because it fills you up, then keep going, but really ask yourself what your intentions are...because if “thin” is your intention, if size is your intention, then you’re missing it. Life is meant to be enjoyed and it is meant to be experienced. I was chasing thin and when I got there, it left me worse off than I started.
Can we instead learn to love our bodies exactly as they are? Can we begin to idolize women for more than their ability to say no to cheese cake and yes a 5am workout? Can we find our worth in more than what number we see on the scale or what number is on the inside of our jeans?
I still struggle with loving what I see in the mirror. I’m not immune from it, but I post this as a reminder to you and to me, that thin doesn’t mean happy.
I am more content and more fulfilled with my life today than I have ever been and THAT is what I want in my feed. Today I know that how I dress my body gives me confidence and today I know that I can feel so damn great about myself even 20 pounds heavier by dressing the body I have and not the one I wish I had (thanks Sandy Toes & Stilettos)
PS: being 20 pounds lighter didn’t make me like myself any more. Instead noticing my flaws got worse the thinner I became and it was never enough.
I want women at all sizes who are chasing their passions, who love themselves because of their flaws, and women who know they are worth more than a damn before and after picture to show up in my social media feed. It’s time to really pay attention to the messages we allow in our lives.
When I look at the person on the right...the heavier person, I see someone who is more confident than she has ever been and I know, (since I am that girl 😉) that it is because of the work I did on the inside, not because of how many salads I ate or miles I ran. Following people is a choice we all have and just as I have cut out news and movies that don’t make me feel good, I have also done the same with social media. Be protective about your bubble and guard it fiercely.
Drink the wine. Eat the cake. Go for the walk with a friend instead of that intense run. Those are the moments you will be glad you had at the end of your life.
Connect with people. Connect with life. And don’t let rules and restrictions keep you from living your best life.
Peace, love, and cupcakes.