Regardless of the time and circumstances, under siege or living free, we’re still inundated with messages and instincts to diet. Lose weight. Exercise more. All the things. Which beckons us instead to detox from diet culture.
It seems like a detox from diet culture has been in the works for a while. I’ve been talking about all the toxicity around this industry for years. Still the battle persists. Still I struggle with my own detox from diet culture, and I’m certainly not alone in that.
A detox from diet culture means detoxing from exploitation. Corruption. Straight-up toying with some of our most personal emotions and fears. It’s a difficult process, in any instance that you’re going “against the grain.” But you’re worth the fight.
So, let’s sink deeper into what it means to truly detox from diet culture. Whether it’s now, during our collective isolation and sheltering-in, or when we’re set free with every opportunity to feed into the negativity.
diet culture during COVID-19
Here’s why I’m returning to this all-too familiar topic: COVID-19. This time when we’re all forced to be at home, which likely leads to more snacks at your disposal and less ways to be active.
Yeah, maybe we’re more susceptible to gaining weight right now. And that leads to guilt and often instinctual desires to do whatever it takes to not “let yourself go.” The phrase itself leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Because I get it. I feel that. I know I’ve gained weight, even if nobody else may notice. You just know. You feel it, psychological or otherwise. If you’re anything like me, you have an automatic “tool box” you go to when that instinct arises. The right foods to eat, or exercises to do, or pills to take.
Our circumstances right now, as much as we’re protecting our immunity, leave us vulnerable. There’s less chance for work and outside priorities to distract us from our questioning self-esteems and self-worth. If we’re not already, then the moment the shelter-in stops, you’ll see a mass crowd hop onto the weight-loss bandwagon as if it’s January 1 again.
so, what do we do to detox from diet culture?!
And here lies the ultimate question. How do we fight against this need to take up less physical space and fit into a smaller pants size? Here’s where the hard part of the detox from diet culture begins.
1. what is actual wellness for you?
The need to rely upon diet culture stems from a psychological place. If we were truly desiring the pique form of our physical bodies, then we’d likely never need to go to the lengths and extremes we do.
The intentions, however, are good. You cannot bash yourself for wanting to feel better about yourself or feel healthier. But the best ways to do so are not from diet culture. Never have been, never will be.
Since this resource is now accessible, I highly suggest the famous Yale online course The Science of Well-Being. Much of it has to do with our collective chase toward happiness, but that also ties into a detox from diet culture. We want satisfaction and purpose, even if it’s not healthy nor realistic.
True “well-being” comes from respecting yourself and honoring your needs as a human. Plenty of sleep, healthy amounts of activity, gratitude, and more are all scientifically proven ways to find that fulfillment and improved headspace. That is wellness. Set your sights there, and you’ll be much more likely to feel better than trying every way to lose weight.
2. find and follow your bliss.
You are so much more than your “earth suit.” That’s a fact, and you need to hear it and believe it. (Trust me, I’m pointing to myself here, too.)
Your true essence comes from who you are within. Rather than trying to seek identity and fulfillment from disordered behaviors, dig deep within yourself to seek out what makes you passionate. What skills and talents do you possess? What subjects and activities set your soul ablaze?
Perhaps you do actually have a passion for how we eat and how we exercise and move our bodies. But that passion doesn’t come from an inner need to fit unrealistic standards; chances are, those passions come from the need to genuinely help others.
Find those hobbies, the career path, that thing that makes you so excited, you’re wiggling in your seat and itching to learn more. That is who you are. If you didn’t even have a physical body, the true you is still present.
You are so much more than your external vanity and body mass. The more time you decide to focus on what the “so much more” represents for you, to sooner you will detox from diet culture.
3. look beyond yourself.
Here comes the bit where I plug in spirituality. Hear me out!
The unhealthy desire to lose weight is entirely ego-driven. I’m not talking about those who want to seek a healthy balance to ensure they live longer for their loved ones and prevent disease. You know what I mean: all the crazy fads that make us think we’re in a desperate need to “detox” and “shed some pounds” and “get back into the gym.”
Take yourself out of the equation. If you had zero attention toward your thoughts, then you’d never think of the scale again. You’d be open and receptive to everything and everyone else around you. This world suddenly becomes exponentially more beautiful, and life itself becomes miraculous.
Whether you’re praying, meditating, lending an empathetic ear to a friend, or compassionately helping someone, your consciousness becomes directed outward. Simultaneously, we’re spreading our energy out toward places of healing and love, as well as descending into a deeper place within ourselves that transcends the ego. Welcome to the Kingdom of God.
This call of action isn’t entirely “You need Jesus.” It’s simply a beckoning toward other life-giving sources that actually fill you up rather than deplete and diminish your precious resources. Trust me: a detox from diet culture isn’t just about the body’s appearance or even addictive and disordered behaviors. You’re bravely deciding to say, “My life has far greater value than how I look. My life finds sustenance in more than eating and working out. I find value and meaning beyond the external world and its expectations.”
With all of that said, a detox from diet culture isn’t easy. I’m still working on it, and I might be for years to come. These suggestions aren’t what you usually hear in this conversation, hence the need to uplift them for your consideration.
Of all the things we could be scared about right now, gaining weight should be at the very bottom of the list. As hard as it can be to let go from that clinging desire, think of the freedom that comes with just living and existing.
Regardless of how you look and how much you weigh, there’s a physical and spiritual world so vast and remarkable. Allow yourself to live there, outside your internal thought battling against one another. Peace is possible. Within that comes the satisfaction you’re seeking.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie
join the soul searchers and receive a weekly newsletter to start your week on a healing note.