It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault that you feel bad about the skin you live in. It’s not your fault for being preoccupied with food: the do’s and don’ts, or the cyclone of rules that swarm your head when you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. It’s not your fault that you don’t trust your body the way you once did, or that you feel fear or anxiety in simple decision making; “What should I eat?” It’s not your fault that you compare yourself to others, or that you spend hours surfing Instagram and Facebook intrigued by “flawless” photos and dieting ads. It’s not your fault that you didn’t lose the weight like they promised, or that you did, but then gained it all back.
It’s not your fault, and you didn’t fail.
This is diet culture. I say this phrase more often than I mean to, and I won’t apologize for it. Once you discover the business for what it really is, there’s no going back. It’s everywhere. Home watching tv? Weight loss commercial. Yoga class? Talk of the newest diet. Grocery store? Whispers of “Oh I really shouldn’t.” Out to eat? “No carbs please.” Seasons change? “I really need to work out more.” See what I mean?
This is diet culture, and diet culture has failed you. It fails all of us, because that’s exactly what it’s meant to do.
Diet culture is a business that exists purely to make money off of shaming its customers. And guess what? It’s damn good at it.
Somehow we go from babies with perfect intuition and appreciation for our bodies, to adolescents with questions about that same body that are sometimes never answered, to then grown adults who are taking instruction on how to care best for that body from the sketchy magazine in the check-out line and a guy named Dr. Oz.
Diet culture includes all of the nasty, ridiculous messages that instill smaller = better, more worthy, successful, or desired. It’s the thing that has turned eating into sport rather than an experience. Something to compete about rather than share and enjoy. It’s given something as necessary as the way we nourish ourselves, a moral value: good or bad. So what do we do? We assume that manipulating what we eat and the shape of our bodies will achieve positive attributes or improve our overall living experience. “Everything will change if I just lose five pounds…” Right?
What diet culture doesn’t provide is a disclaimer for how bodies respond to manipulation. The human form is not just a vessel for life, but a machine that is constantly in motion to keep us safe and satisfied. Due to evolution, any form of restricted nourishment creates a sense of panic: starvation mode. The body compensates for being given too few calories by reducing our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). These are big words for your metabolism slowing down to make sure calories are used and prioritized, keeping the body safe, nourished, and cared for.
THIS is why 95% of diets don’t work – they aren’t meant to. THIS is why people re-gain any weight they’ve lost through restriction (and more), and THIS is what keeps people spending money in the diet industry. Brilliant right? You didn’t fail your diet. Your diet failed you. It’s not your fault.
Your body isn’t broken. In fact, it’s a beautiful, wonderful home built with life, strength, vigor, and sensitivity. Your body does not need to be justified, or denied, or shamed for anything it does or doesn’t do.
All bodies are good bodies, no matter the size, shape, color, or experiences they’ve been through. It’s not your fault.