Since I am currently trying to battle my binge eating disorder and find a healthier life, I wanted to talk about diet culture and why it bothers me.
I was a big child. I wasn’t always, but when I reached the age of around 7, I started to gain weight.
I was introduced to all these foods that I wasn’t allowed before, my parents relaxed on their strict meal plan and I took full advantage of that.
It didn’t help that on events such as Easter, or Christmas, I acted like I had spent the whole year not eating. This culture was particularly dangerous for me and I talk about that here.
It was like for the first time, I could literally taste happiness.
Before I knew it, I went from a skinny child to wearing woman’s clothes, before I had even hit puberty.
It was mortifying, I felt so exposed, I felt like the fact that I couldn’t shop in the same section my friends could, made me this sort of monster.
As I got into my teen years, suddenly people seemed to care about my appearance. I was told that I was ugly. That there was a problem with who I was and how I looked.
It was so strange because to start, I never cared about how I looked. It baffled me when people told me that I needed to change, because I couldn’t understand why.
If I was happy, then why should I have to change because someone else wants me too?
I started to get treated differently, I would be bullied for my appearance, judged when I ate. The worst part of it all came when people I trusted told me that I was obese.
One year, my parents bought home a Wii Fit. I was excited because it had some cool games the premise of the console was really interesting to me; it was so different to anything else I had heard about in the world of gaming.
To start an account on the Wii Fit, you would have to put in details, and then, it would weigh you.
Now, the weight part didn’t bother me, but when the game decided to put that I was obese in big lettering and made my avatar go from ‘normal’ to pretty damn chunky, I felt my face flush.
My family watched as they all seemed to be in a perfectly fine category, but their little girl was now being classed as obese.
I felt like the fat one in the family – something that should never have mattered.
Around this time, I started being told that I should diet, which led to me going up and down on the scales over my teen years.
I would starve myself, over exercise and do whatever I could to please the eyes of others.
But eventually, I became so sad inside that I would crack, binge eat and gain back the weight.
My weight was now a representation of my permanent state of stress and mental pain.
All I wanted to be was accepted, but now, people wouldn’t like me for my personality, apparently, I had to be easy on the eyes.
My weight has never been a reflection of who I am and what I am capable of, only now do I realise that.
At the moment, I am trying my best to live a healthy lifestyle, but I will never in my life go on a diet again.
I try my best to do some light exercise daily, I will aim to not overeat and get all that nutrition in me that I need.
But I am over punishing myself because I am not losing weight fast enough.
I am over the idea of losing weight for the goal of beauty or to please others.
I am over resenting my body because I slip up and chose to spend the day in bed or eat pizza.
I look after my body because I want to love it for myself. I want to treat it right. I want to give back for all those years it has kept me alive.
Eating right helps us live longer, but we can’t spend our life bullying ourselves out of enjoyment or experience when we don’t have a forever.
Exercise is an amazing tool to look after our mental health, it’s something that we should do for fun, because we want too (sounds strange right).
So, this is my advice on the concept of a diet. If you want to lose or gain weight, that is your choice and I respect that, but please remember to do this for yourself.
Most of all, know that our skin does not represent our talents and skills, it does not tell others what we have or can achieve.
When we die, our fleshy meat suit will go, all those vegetables, gym sessions, cosmetic changes will all be gone.
Our memories, the people we have helped, the things that we have changed for the better. The soul that we give to this earth, that is what will last long after we are gone. Our weight won’t.