There’s definitely an idea in society that being thin is good and being fat is bad. That idea is so pervasive it’s crept into everything we see, and that’s perpetuated in a big way by what we see in magazines and on TV. But, it’s not to late to undo the damage this idea has done. That’s what one nutritionist set out to do with a recent Instagram post.
Registered nutritionist Laura Thomas, PhD, posted a magazine cover on her Instagram, but instead of the original headlines, she had “fixed” the magazine so it didn’t play into diet culture. The reason she did it, Laura wrote in the post, is because she was horrified at how much the original cover pedaled the idea that there’s a “perfect” body.
“Earlier this afternoon I ran into a shop and was STUNNED by this ludicrous @womenshealthuk cover (swipe to see but literally just to laugh at how ridiculous it is and not because it means anything.) This cover is the EPITOME of diet culture. This is, of course, their yearly ‘transform’ issue, which promises to ‘shed kilos, strip fat, and build muscle’. But remember, going on a diet may transform your body (temporarily, diets don’t work long-term), but it’s not a cure for low self-esteem, it doesn’t help you cultivate body acceptance or good body image, and it can lead you down the path of disordered eating,” she wrote. “That’s the lie of diet culture. It promises you things will be better after you change your body.”
This is such an important point. Losing weight will not, in fact, fix your problems or make you happier. Many people conflate happiness with a certain body type, but the truth is that you should be striving for health and well-being, which might make you feel happy because you’re taking good care of your body. That has nothing to do with body size. Since Laura points out that your problems won’t shed away along with pounds, we should be learning to shed self hatred instead.
To help us do that, Laura amended the headlines on the magazine, turning weight loss tips into body positive mantras. She changed a line that said “the mindset that built my body,” to “the DNA that built my body.” She reminded us that we should “move because it feels good in your body & head/ but don’t forget to rest!”
“No amount of controlling your body will make you happy, and you still have to get up and go to work when you reach your target,” Laura wrote in the caption. “You’ll still have relationship problems and family drama, and all the rest. Diets don’t solve problems. Plus ‘sculpt killer abs’. But guys. YOU ALREADY HAVE ABS, they do an awesome job supporting your lower back and internal organs. What this message is REALLY saying is ‘restrict your energy intake through disordered and restrictive eating & kill yourself in the gym, and don’t even think about having a social life.’ You get the point, right?”
The point is that each of our bodies do incredible things for us just as they are.