Say no to diets

There are many ways to waste your precious life, but obsessing about your looks and your body is possibly one of the saddest ways.

There are important health reasons for wanting to lose weight when obesity is involved but let’s be honest – most people who want to lose weight want to do it primarily for looks, not for their health.  That’s not to say it shouldn’t be done – it’s fantastic to feel good about yourself and within yourself. It’s just the mindset we approach it with that is all wrong.

Our image-obsessed society creates nothing but narcissism, a sense of unworthiness and unhealthy attitudes towards food and body. The weight-loss and beauty industries are not built on promoting health and wellbeing. They survive on people’s insecurities. They sell the message that once you are beautiful by their standards, you will be acceptable, your life will be wonderful and you will be happy.

It’s all BS. You are already worthy and acceptable, despite the size of your stomach or butt. Self-acceptance is the first step to true health and happiness.

Women have been objectified and defined by their looks for thousands of years. These days though, advertising and marketing are invasive in that they are in front of us everywhere we turn, and from a younger and younger age. Social media has intensified it and brought about a whole new comparison trap that women, both young and old, get caught in and then struggle with feelings of not quite measuring up.

Today is International No Diet Day – an initiative of The Butterfly Foundation to combat negative body image and the low self-esteem and lack of confidence it drives.

On their website, they share these statistics:

  • 90% of 12-17 year old females are on a diet of some type
  • Nine out of ten girls feel pressured to be thin by the fashion and media industries
  • 25% of people with body image and eating disorder issues are males

The fact that nearly all teen girls are on a diet of some kind is appalling and shocking. The fact that nearly all of them feel pressure to be thin is incredibly sad and scary.

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We need to educate our daughters, and our sons, that being healthy is the key message. That taking care of themselves is as simple as eating real food and finding things in life that they enjoy doing. That their looks have nothing to do with their worth and value as a human being.

We need to teach them complete self-acceptance and tolerance of imperfection.

To do that, we need to model it. We need to show them that happiness doesn’t come in a size 0 or whatever ridiculous standard the magazines now set.

Sitting down to eat a plate full of healthy food is showing them. Not obsessing about your weight and calories is showing them. Enjoying a type of movement rather than punishing yourself in a workout you despise, is showing them.

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Accepting yourself completely – your age, your wrinkles, your sags and bags – and showing your joy in your life and living it every day, is showing them.

Dieting doesn’t work. Restrictive eating and punishing yourself will back fire and set you up to fail, and subsequently feel worse about yourself. If you feel you need to lose weight, ask yourself why. Is it for health or because you feel bad about yourself?

Start looking after yourself, in mind, body and soul, and your body will look after you.

Self-acceptance and positive body image are some of the topics being discussed at the special Sense of Self event: The Mother Daughter Date, this Saturday on the Gold Coast. I’ve wanted to host an event like this for a long time so that mums and their daughters can go home and further discuss how wonderful it is to be themselves. I want them to understand that eating real food is the key to looking after their body and to natural beauty and that they don’t need to go searching for self-worth: they already are.

Life is too short, too magical and too beautiful to struggle with self-loathing. So no to diets. Be your own kind of beautiful!

 

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