Dodging Diet Culture
We do this move in Moxie Boxing called “dodge,” and I cue it by talking about ducking out of the way of an imaginary opponent. The move gets your heart-rate up, strengthens your glutes, quads, and calves, wakes up your abductors and adductors, and can be silly and fun.
I wish avoiding Diet Culture was as easy and fun to do and cue.
Here’s the thing -- our entire culture is touched and shaped by diet culture. It’s in the media we consume (the stories and the people telling them). It’s in the places we shop. It’s in the ideas in our own heads. Diet Culture is so insidious we can get caught by a jab without seeing it coming or even knowing it happened. What’s worse is that sometimes we’re the one throwing the punches.
There’s only one spot I’ve found that’s truly safe -- my body (with Hip Circle being a close second).
My body has no idea Diet Culture exists. In its oblivion it moves and thrives. It dances and grows. It runs and rests. If I listen to my body -- really listen -- I hear stories of strength and bravery and humor and love. My body tells me when a class or workout was good based on how it feels, not on some construct created to keep me preoccupied and docile. My body tells me when a meal was delicious, nutritious, or both by how it feels, not because of outdated or misunderstood statistics and figures meant to keep me looking for approval.
Diet Culture doesn’t want us to be comfortable in our own skin. It wants us to worry about our BMI and compare clothing sizes and stress about our appearance. It is a construct with deep ties to white supremacy that wants all of us (but especially Black and brown women) to question our validity instead of celebrating our power. It wants to knock us down and get us to keep coming back for more.
We can choose to dodge Diet Culture.
Will you join me in listening to your body more than your neighbor? In letting your body guide your choices in clothing, activities, and snacks? In changing the media and ideas you follow and share to let your body’s voice shine through?
What I’m asking isn’t easy. Diet Culture is LOUD (except for when it whispers). And passive aggressive. And aggressive aggressive. And sometimes masquerades as “health and wellness.” And, again, it’s everywhere. To quote Christy Harrison from her book Anti Diet, “In Western society in the twenty-first century, where there are rules about what to eat, there’s diet culture.”
I promise, our bodies are smart and intuitive and kind -- all we need to do is listen.