Top 5 Reasons Marginalized People and Allies Should Stop Dieting
You already knew your diet was a fatphobic jerk; but did you know that bitch is a racist too? Do you really want to be seen hanging out with the likes of her?
Low key you already knew your relationship was trash. Every time you get together you end up feeling worse about yourself. Have you ever thought that might be because you don't belong together?
In the end the decision is yours, but here are the top 5 reasons to sidestep the diet trap and reimagine your relationship to wellness.
Diet culture: the white supremacist capitalist construct that exclusively links thinness to desirability, worthiness, healthiness and morality
1. Diet culture is rooted in racism and closely tied to white supremacy culture.
As a tool of white supremacy, it’s based on the idea that some bodies are superior to others, elevating white, thin, cis, het, able-bodied folks over everyone else. Bodies that don’t fit the ideal in this construct are judged as inherently lazy and unhealthy, when in reality, body diversity is natural. During the transatlantic slave trade, anti-Black pseudoscience was used to identify traits of inferior and superior humans. The racist claim that Black people suffer from poor impulse control in relation to sexual pleasure and food continues to be a popular tenant of anti-Blackness.
Diet culture was never meant to serve people of color, it is a tool of oppression and as such can not contribute to health promotion for folks of color. The way that diet culture demonizes certain body types is harmful to the mental and physical health of both people that fit into the thin ideal and those that do not. Thin people live in fear of losing their access to worthiness while larger bodies are subjected to abuse and discrimination. The dieting industry is a harmful system designed to exploit our fear of losing worthiness, profiting from the desire to shrink ourselves by any means necessary, in many cases teaching socially acceptable disordered eating practices. You deserve better than this.
2.Dieting will turn you into a hater.
Dieting has been shown to make people more judgmental and critical of themselves and others; breeding self hatred in people as they compare themselves with elusive ideals.
Queer folks and folks of color are used to dealing with a lot of BS. From the moment come out, you're fighting against discrimination and misunderstanding. It can be tough, but you persevere because you intuitively understand that there's nothing more worth than accepting yourself and living your truth. Constant dieting works in opposition to self acceptance, undermining your belief in your own ability to care for yourself and your belief in your inherent worthiness. Also being hypercritical makes building community extremely challenging. Community and connection is a powerful antidote to the daily beatdowns that systemic oppression gives us. Weakened social ties can have profound consequences for marginalized people.
3. Diet culture is oppressive and damaging.
You know all too well that the world can be a hostile place. While pushing to live your best life in spite of systemic oppression the last thing you need is one more thing undermining your sense of self. If you're like most people, you've probably been inundated with rules about how to properly inhabit a human body your entire life. Maybe it started with your parents or teachers telling you to be less femme, or masc, to watch your weight, or to conform to popular grooming practices for your assigned gender regardless of how it felt for you. Regardless of how it began, body policing is pervasive and hurtful in all its forms. The message it sends is that we're not good enough as we are, and that we need to change ourselves in order to be acceptable. This simply isn't true. Rejecting diet culture and any practices that reinforce the idea that we are flawed is a powerful step toward creating a world in which we can love and accept ourselves exactly as we are.
4. Dieting is a waste of time and money - it doesn't work anyway
People that have a history of dieting are actually heavier than those who don't diet at all. Severely restricting yourself leads to binges and weight cycling. Most dieters go through rebound weight gain. Dieting does not work and is unsustainable. If you have ever felt like you're always dieting, but not losing any weight, you're not alone. You haven’t failed. Dieting has failed you.
5. Your appetite is the best tool for determining what, when, and how much you should eat.
Pleasure is one of nature's favorite cues. Pleasure is a powerful communication tool that your body uses to tell you you are on the right track. Tap into this natural resource and allow yourself to be guided in real time. You’ll notice that your appetite changes based on how active you are in a day. You’ll start to see that when you listen closely your body tells you what you need to know to eat the most comfortable amount of food at every sitting. Learning how to eat the way that is most pleasurable to you is both delicious and health promoting.
Diet culture is based on pseudoscience and fat-phobia, but it also has roots in white supremacy and the elevation of idealized bodies above all others. We can work together to dismantle diet culture by changing our attitudes about food, weight, health, and beauty. This means not only rejecting diets that don't work (and can cause more harm than good), but also rethinking what constitutes wellness altogether.
Approaching wellness holistically means prioritizing rest, laughter with friends, and joyful movement as much as eating well. Body lead or intuitive eating is a gentle but powerful alternative to dieting. Intuitive eating directs your attention inward and puts your body in charge of deciding what and how much to eat. Learning what foods are satisfying to you and developing a peaceful and balanced relationship with food will support your sense of self trust, making it easier to prioritize your wellbeing in other areas of your life. Intuitive eating is simple in theory, but in practice it is so countercultural it can be challenging. Learning to value your judgment above others takes persistence.
I cover affirming approaches to the pursuit of wellness extensively in my book Decolonizing Wellness, which you can get your copy of here https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/691560/decolonizing-wellness-by-dalia-kinsey-rd-ld/.
After years of questioning, it might be hard to accept that your body is not the problem you have been told it is. But I assure you:
Your existence is proof of your worthiness.
You don’t need to be a certain body size to be worthy of love and affection.
Your body is full of natural and ancestral wisdom that can guide you to balance without external intervention.
All bodies are good bodies.
You are enough.
This month’s supporter goodie is in response to a special request from a new subscriber, a meditation for sensing your hunger.
If you have been having a difficult time feeling your hunger I recommend listening to this meditation one meal a day for the next 30 days.
If you’d like extra support pop over to the 6.15.22 message thread.