Today’s Read: “Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies?”

I appreciate the apparent intentions behind this piece; however, it’s rife with examples as to why it’s so hard to burn diet culture (re: anti-fatness and patriarchy) to the underground. CW: Obesity, eating disorders

First, it’s not that women hate their bodies, as if it’s something we opt to do. It’s that people are influenced to hate their bodies. Always remember the motivation behind unrealistic body portrayals in the media is to sell products. It’s always about capitalism, power, and control. The article acknowledges the role the media plays, but it fails to shift the language away from diet culture nonsense.

Second, it cites examples of improvement in the media away from putting emaciated bodies first, and two of those examples use the BMI as an accurate indicator of health. If you don’t remember, the body mass index is deeply flawed and entrenched in racist, sexist views. It does nothing but measure the ratio of height and weight, which is a two-dimensional equation for three-dimensional bodies with fourth-dimensional (sure, I’m going with it) social and genetic factors.

Third, it makes little effort to recognize that fat is normal.

What I appreciate is its analysis of the media’s role. However, the company behind this website describes itself as “the largest health information property in the U.S.” a.k.a. the media. Y’all. I’M the media too. Websites, blogs, books, magazines, television, radio, music . . . it’s all media. We’re all trying to influence your knowledge. We should be asking what role they play as well. You should be questioning what I’m trying to do! You don’t think I hope to make a buck? (And yes, I have a ton of capitalist guilt, but that’s a post for another day.)

Yet again, we live in a society that puts continued attention on symptoms and never enough on the causes. This article would do a helluva lot more if it asked, “Who made women hate their bodies?”

Today’s Read: Anti-Diet Culture is Pro-Social Justice

I deeply enjoy Dr. Alexis Conason’s work. So, of course, I had to share this piece.

With the conversation in my IG post today, I needed to highlight this excerpt from Conason’s piece:

Our preference for the term “diet culture” over “the patriarchy” mirrors what has happened in the “body positive” movement, which quickly left behind its roots of radical fat activism to morph into a movement centering privileged bodies that allowed people to feel empowered without requiring any real change. Body positivity is cool while fat acceptance is not.

Dr. Alexis Conason, “Why Do We Say “Diet Culture” Instead of “the Patriarchy?”

Why do I go hard on hating diet culture? It’s because it disempowers women and non-binary folks, and it continues to insult, ignore, and harm fat folks.

Does a Mirror Control You?

“Diet culture keeps women fighting the mirror instead of facing the world.” – Happy Healthy Hans

Social expectations for women’s bodies is a form of social control designed to keep women from focusing on their true power. Agree or disagree?

(By the way, when I searched for images to use for this, I used the built-in tool for stock images and searched “mirror.” Every image I saw was of a woman. What’s that tell you?)

How to Rethink Body Movement

Exercise is body movement. Our bodies need not conform to the fitness industry or diet culture. We can keep it simple:

  • Dance: Nothing formal. Put on that song that makes you move, and move to it even if you’re sitting. My choice: Area by Magnus the Magnus from the iPhone ad.
  • Wiggle: Sometimes, I just wiggle like the Shaq gif.
  • Wave: My friend moves in waves, and it’s beautiful. I had an anxiety attack the other night, got out of bed, sat on my ottoman, and just moved my arms in a Michelle-inspired way.
  • Stretch: I don’t mean follow that list of stretches trainers show you. Hell, even those graphics are centered on fit White dudes. I mean stretch whatever part of your body feels tight.
  • Rest: Maybe your body needs rest over movement. We undervalue rest.

How will you move when you’re ready? Let me know in the comments!

Ten Myths and Rants about Exercise

If you’ve ever been frustrated with exercise, it might be because the fitness and diet industries are full of shit. Here’s my take. You might identify with some of this or think of additional myths. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Myth 1: Exercise is easy.

It fucking isn’t. Y’all don’t get to say, “No pain, no gain,” then tell me it’s easy.

Myth 2: If it’s not easy at first, it gets easier.

So, it’s easy, but it’s not, but it gets easier. But it doesn’t. Like . . . I see people in incredible shape making pained faces as they work out. They look like they’re in agony. That’s easier? If it’s still agony for the fittest of people, HOW DO YOU THINK IT FEELS FOR EVERYONE ELSE?

I love that this the source of this links to a body building website. You’re not helping your own cause. Source: https://gph.is/g/4DA8Gxn

Myth 3: You’ll find the right exercise for you.

Do tell. I’ve tried walking, water jogging, running, treadmills, weight lifting, yoga, ellipticals, team sports, bowling, body weight exercises, yard work, house cleaning, dance, and physical therapy. Everything else feels too much for my body. I’ve yet to find anything I enjoy enough to do regularly. But I’m sure you have solutions.

Myth 4: You just need discipline.

I taught as many as eight college courses at one time, but six was my usual. I have three college degrees and a graduate certificate. I raised my credit score hundreds of points over several years. I’ve self-taught marketing, most social media platforms, and investing. I tracked my calories almost every day for ten years. Yeah. Discipline is my problem.

Source: https://gph.is/g/EqPgAR4

Myth 5: Walking is the easiest exercise.

No. It’s not. First of all, if you have a disability, WALKING MIGHT NOT BE AN OPTION. Second of all, there’s a foot condition that runs in my dad’s family that makes longer walks excruciating. We don’t know what it is. But guess what? I won that lottery! Mine kicked in way younger than anyone else. Walking hurts. I know. I’ve tried. A lot. It takes me several months, the perfect shoes, and a lot of patience to get to a painless walk. And then there’s the anxiety of walking in public as a Brown, fat woman. And the anxiety of walking alone. Just stop.

Myth 6: No pain, no gain.

I’m getting mixed messages here. But beyond that, people started telling me in my 30s that exercise shouldn’t hurt, SO WHICH IS IT?!

Myth 7: If exercise hurts, see your doctor.

lolololol! Yeah, I’ve done that too. The fatphobic medical industry has three solutions: meds, more exercise, and shrugging.

Source: GIS for “doctor shrug”

Myth 8: No one at the gym is judging you.

Bullshit. No one at the gym is judging you to your face. I’ve seen the looks. When I was running at a local Y, there was a window between the walking track and the weight room (why). You better believe I caught people staring at me. I know that quick look away means.

Myth 9: You’re just not trying hard enough.

This is motivating. Thank you. My life is now changed forever.

Myth 10: You’re lazy.

This ↓

Unlearning: Diet Culture’s Hatred of Sugar

**Originally shared in my Instagram stories**

Sugar isn’t evil.

If you crave sugar, it’s likely because your body needs quick energy. Sugar provides that.

Per the CDC, a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep.

So-called sugar addiction is a thing in American because Americans are sleep deprived.

This isn’t an original thought. It’s widely discussed. But it’s something people (myself included) over-complicate.

So much information peddled by diet culture makes us believe food has a moral stance. Food is neutral. Diet culture has a(n) (im)moral stance, which is to generate noise between our bodies and our thinking. This is done in the name of profit, not health.

Our bodies are the signal. They tell us what we need. Diet culture tells us our bodies don’t know any better, which is a lie.

I’ve had two hours of sleep. I got out of bed craving sugar. I couldn’t figure out why. Duh. My body needs energy because it’s sleep deprived.

I’m still unlearning the capitalism-driven control over how we perceive our bodies. But I now get why “listen to your body” never made sense to me. It’s because the noise of society interferes with the signals my body sends me.

Sure, there are healthier ways to get energy like drinking water and getting more sleep. But my body wanted more efficient fuel this morning.

So, I’m drinking AE chocolate milk and working on unlearning the guilt. Because guilt is not an ingredient.