Would you rather listen to this? You can do that right here:
We’re all guilty of it- and you’ve likely been on both the giving and receiving ends of this.
You lost weight, received a ton of compliments and extra attention about how great you look, what you’ve been doing to get there, praise about your determination and willpower, and maybe even comments that sounded like “I wish I was as dedicated as you are!”
Or, your friend or family member lost weight, you liked all of her social media posts about it,
told her she looked fabulous, (whether or not you were jealous about it is a completely different story) and commend her for all of her work, effort, and dedication.
So, what’s the problem?
Why is it that weight loss is the only thing women are praised about? No one is nearly as excited when a woman brags about her newest PR in the weight room. Hell, *most* people don’t even know what that is!
No one cares nearly as much if someone were to post about their improved fasting blood glucose levels.
No one cares nearly as much, if at all, if a woman repairs her relationship with food and is no longer anxious, guilty, or neurotic about her intake.
The problem is that no one asks these women how they did it.
Are they happy?
If the answer is yes, we now have another problem on our hands because…
Really? So you were unhappy before because you had 30 pounds to lose and now suddenly,
all of your life’s problems have vanished because you lost the weight? Is it really that simple?
Is losing weight really the happiest journey you’ll ever go on?
If so, you need a new life and a new definition of happiness immediately.
My question is this: what did you do to lose the weight?
Spent multiple hours each day on the treadmill?
Skipped out on birthday or anniversary dinners because #willpower?
Counted every calorie that went into your mouth for months on end?
Calculated how long you’d have to be at the gym to burn off that piece of birthday cake?
YEP! SOUNDS LIKE A SUPER HAPPY LIFE TO ME!
So while every “trainer” and gym across the country along with every
person with an Instagram or a Facebook account can continue to tell us stories
that losing weight is the only thing worth celebrating when it comes to our bodies, I am here to remind you
that you’re missing the entire point.
Each time you congratulate your friend for losing weight and say
“you look great!” you are replaying the narrative that before? She didn’t look great.
Before? She wasn’t worthy of any praise. Before? Not good.
While losing weight is fine, it should only happen as a natural byproduct of taking
care of yourself.
In case you’re so far gone into the diet-culture rabbit hole, taking care of yourself
includes but is not limited to:
-Moving in a way that you enjoy every day
-Exercising regularly in a way that you enjoy
-Getting quality sleep every night
-Proper stress management
-Doing things that you enjoy that have nothing to do with exercise
-Eating foods that bring you joy without worry, anxiety, guilt, sadness, punishment, or shame
-Eating foods your body thrives off of (thanks to diet culture, this idea has been completely ruined)
-A social life that suits your personal preferences and needs
-A solid self-care routine
-Practicing gratitude daily
The pursuit of weight loss alone is a sad, isolating, and a potentially damaging journey to go on.
Go ahead, start asking questions to those who have lost weight. Did they keep it off for good?
Were they happy? Are they happy now? Is putting so much merit and praise on weight loss
really the stories we want to keep alive? Or is there something more important about our bodies
other than constantly trying to shrink?
If you need another example, you can hear about dieting’s damaging effects by going:
here, here, and here.