Why it's Okay to Prioritise Your Physical Health Whilst Not Falling Victim to Diet Culture.
Toxic diet culture is everywhere we turn, it's persuasive, consistent and crushing. Whether it's an image on social media or in a magazine which affirms the damaging ideology that the skinnier you are the happier you are, or the promotion of a public figures new book which eliminates a certain food group to achieve weight loss, we as consumers are constantly smothered in a myriad of different ways that we can look better. This can often lead to confusion, which adds pressure to look a certain way. Diet culture has become such an unrecognised part of society, that it’s hard to spot, and therefore we become predisposed to it. By talking about it, and highlighting it, hopefully we can help you become savvy to it, so that you can actively block it out.
But what do you do when you want to prioritise your physical health for reasons other than the way you look? You may find yourself looking at material for help and guidance, but it can often lead us to feeling deflated, unmotivated and soon enough back to old bad habits. Always remember, people are trying to sell something, and it’s an all too common marketing tool to make people feel bad so they buy into a “cure” to make them feel better. And ultimately it’s us that pay the actual and proverbial price.
This is a situation I’ve recently found myself in, and for me personally, I've found it hard to block out the sources of material that would make me feel a certain negative way about my body, because I’m surrounded in it. I learnt that you can’t control everything you’re exposed to, we are swarmed by paid advertising that is targeted towards us, especially us millennial women! Where I can, I have been pro-active in changing my exposure to these damaging sources, by actively following account that promote body positivity but ultimately, I've had to look at myself and realise, what health means to me - and that’s not just in the way I look, it’s the way I feel, and want to feel in the future. I think this is a really important step because it will be different for everyone, and we have to appreciate that irrespective of how we look.
For me, my focus has shifted to becoming more present, to elongate and prolong a quality of life that I love. The most valuable thing to many older people, is health, it’s something you can’t put a price on. I want to be free from diseases linked with weight issues, I want to be able to conceive healthily, I don’t want my mental health to suffer because of my physical health. I am less focussed on what the mirror shows me, but more attuned to focussing on how my present self can preserve my future self.
I threw away my bathroom scales. I realised that for all the times I weighed myself during the week, if I saw a number that I didn't want to see on there, I would let this negatively affect my mood and outlook for the rest of the day, effectively self sabotage, when actually, I’m much more productive when I'm thinking positively. You have to be willing to make tangible changes in order to create an environment of positivity, be kind to yourself. Throwing them away was liberating, and since then I've been tuning into how my body feels, and what it needs to power itself.
A certain mantra that has become hard-wired into my brain is ‘Be kind to your body, it's your home”, and this keeps me grounded to focus on self-care. By self-care, I mean eating good wholesome food, exercising regularly, meditating and doing activities that I enjoy.
Love, Amy Czuba x