Today is the last day of Eating Disorder Awareness Week- #EDAW2018 here in Canada. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (www.nedic.ca) and other organizations across Canada have been running awareness building and educational activities to try to educated the public that eating disorders are a serious mental health issue that can affect anyone regardless race, gender, class or body size. The theme for this campaign was "Was Size Does NOT fit all" and it has been working to dispel the myth that there is only one specific looking body that has an eating disorder.
I really like this campaign- in fact I have loved all of their campaigns since I became aware of the organization in 2001. (Check out their website..its a great resource) One of the reasons that I have gravitated to this message is because I suspect that many individuals in our society are not diagnosed with an eating disorder because of how they appear on the outside. I personally have worked with individuals struggling with a restrictive eating disorder but lived in a larger body therefore many medical professionals thought they were lying about their restrictive behaviours. I also believe that when we allow for personal bias or societies own eating disorder to interfere with diagnosing we can affect treatment or even miss diagnosis. I was referred a male client once who had finally been referred to a clinic after years of struggling with his eating disorder because his doctor didn't really believe a male could have "eating issues" so spent over a year running tests for other disease states. I have worked with teenagers who struggled in recovery because intuitive eating in the home conflicted with the parents dieting mentality. I believe this circles back to societies ingrained fat phobia and diet mentality. DIET CULTURE. And that is where I think we need to start targeting campaigns.
What would our culture look like if it was no longer on a diet? Seriously- think about it. What would happen if people made food choices strictly based on what made their bodies feel good and what tasted good not what the app on their smartphone told them they should eat today because they didn't balance their "macros" properly at breakfast. Or what some random person told them was "the best way to eat". What if everyone moving their bodies was strictly doing it for enjoyment and not to compensate for said unbalanced macros at breakfast or as punishment for eating something that brought them joy. What if peoples bodies were just fine the way they were? OMFG!! I think I would love this world but if I am being honest I can't picture it clearly. Diet culture is so pervasive, so insidious that I can't imagine fully what this type of world would look like. And that truly pisses me off. Diet culture affects everyone, everywhere. There is not one place I was today that was totally free of it (exclude my house as it is a DIET FREE ZONE 24/7 and if you bring your diet shit in I will politely-the first time- ask it to leave!!)...except maybe my car...no radio today-therefore no "lose xx amount of weight by Valentines Day" just 3 awesome body liberation podcasts...nope I was wrong...I drove by a car that was wrapped in an ad for a fad diet company. It's EVERYWHERE!
So how do we break up with diet culture? (middle fingers up??....well thats how I started) But maybe we start with the realization that one size really does not fit all. There is not one perfect size of body. There is not one perfect way to eat. There is not one perfect way to move. We all come in various shapes, sizes, colours, abilities and so should our lives. We can read blogs by amazing humans doing amazing work in this area...(random thought- Maybe I should post a list of the ones I love...ohhhh...yes...that's coming soon). We can shut down diet talk in the office- "no thank you, I am not interested in hearing about why you think eating like a Whole#CaveManOnAPointSystem is the best thing ever". We can advocate for spaces that have chairs that actually fit human butts in all their various sized glory(I'm looking at you doctor office waiting rooms...well any waiting rooms and movie theaters and restaurants and anywhere that has a chair). For those of us that live with some privilege in this life we can use our voices to get the voices of those are that are marginalized heard-trust me they have amazing things to say. Put on our damn crowns and take down diet culture. (see post called "crown on..."to understand what I mean or visualize any type of crown that makes you happy). Christy Harrison host of Food Pysch podcast (https://christyharrison.com/foodpsych/)calls diet culture the life thief and I couldn't agree more. Let's arrest this thief and lock them up for eternity.
Until next time but Unapologetically you while I be Unapologically Me.