Don't Succumb to Diet Culture

Don't Succumb to Diet Culture

Guess what? There is no wrong way to have a body.
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Inside my college's library stands a large area of blackboard with offered chalk and the open question of "What is your New Year's resolution?" While the answers vary from "wearing make-up everyday" to "make a baby", one that stood out to me, among similar others, was "lose 15 pounds".

The New Year is considered a time for cleaning up your act and determined fresh starts; unfortunately, among the celebrations and cheer, diet culture runs rampant. While it may sound unfamiliar or difficult to truly explain, "diet culture" can be best described as "society that is so inundated with dieting propaganda, that it affects how we relate to ourselves and each other", as aptly put by Melissa A. Fabello in her article for Everyday Feminism magazine.

The article that you are currently reading is not intended to criticize the individuals dieting to sincerely better themselves. Instead, this is an article intended to defend you from, and point out, the culture and self-doubt that declares you are not perfect until you are tan, have hairless skin, and a "bikini body". (You might recall Protein World's controversial beach body ad of 2015.)

In all honesty, diet culture is not established to always protect your health. Various aspects of weight loss like Weight Watchers, diet pills, and different supplements do not exist to simply improve your self-image. Since 2014, you and 108 million others are benefitting a sixty-four-billion dollar system, as recorded by Marketdata Enterprises. If anything, diet culture enforces capitalism and encourages self-hate -- not the directions toward a healthy well-being or a safe and stable mentality.

Here is a little secret: despite what the media insists, there is no wrong way to have a body. Human bodies are too varied and special. They deserve better than to be categorized to criticize and shame: fat, skinny, pear-shaped, hourglass.. We, as people, deserve more than statements like "REAL women have curves", name-calling like "twigs", and photoshopped ads with unobtainable goals. Aren't we supposed to embrace diversity, and not discourage it?

As someone who once skipped meals, who still feels guilt for eating, and continues to struggle with her self-image.. At the beginning of 2017 (or any year prior), if you crafted a New Year resolution to lose or gain weight, make sure you pursue that goal out of self-love and respect for yourself. Refuse to succumb to the enemies labeled peer pressure, fear, and self-hate.

Your body deserves better than that.

Cover Image Credit: Everyday Feminisim

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An Open Letter To The Girl Trying To Get Healthy Again

"I see you eating whatever you want and not exercising" - Pants
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Dear girl trying to get back in shape,

I know it's hard. I know the hardest thing you may do all day is walk into the gym. I know how easy it is to want to give up and go eat Chicken McNuggets, but don't do it. I know it feels like you work so hard and get no where. I know how frustrating it is to see that person across the table from you eat a Big Mac every day while you eat your carrots and still be half of your size. I know that awful feeling where you don't want to go to the gym because you know how out of shape you are. Trust me, I know.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College


The important thing is you are doing something about it. I'm sure you get mad at yourself for letting your body get this out of shape, but life happens. You have made a huge accomplishment by not having a soda in over a month, and those small changes are huge. I understand how hard it is, I understand how frustrating it is to not see results and I understand why you want to give up. Being healthy and fit takes so much time. As much as I wish you could wake up the day after a good workout with the 6 pack of your dreams, that just isn't the reality. If being healthy was easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't feel so good when you got there.

Remember how last January your resolution was to get back in the gym and get healthy again? Think about how incredible you would look right now if you would have stuck with it. The great thing is that you can start any time, and you can prove yourself wrong.

Tired of starting over? Then don't give up.

You are only as strong as your mind. You will get there one day. Just be patient and keep working.

Nothing worth having comes easy. If you want abs more than anything, and one day you woke up with them, it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying as watching your body get stronger.

Mental toughness is half the battle. If you think you are strong, and believe you are strong, you will be strong. Soon, when you look back on the struggle and these hard days, you will be so thankful you didn't give up.

Don't forget that weight is just a number. What is really important is how you feel, and that you like how you look. But girl, shout out to you for working on loving your body, because that shit is hard.

To the girl trying to get healthy again, I am so proud of you. It won't be easy, it will take time. But keep working out, eating right, and just be patient. You will be amazed with what your body is capable of doing.

Cover Image Credit: Stock Snap

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As A Plus Size Woman, 'Sierra Burgess Is A Loser' Is Offensive And I'm Not Here For It

The first teenage plus size romcom and she can only get the guy through catfishing? Rude.

tiannat
tiannat
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As of now, most teenage girls have watched "Sierra Burgess Is A Loser" on Netflix, probably because we all have a love for high school romances and Noah Centineo's face. I was interested in the film after watching "To All The Boys I Loved Before" because it was the definition of a fantastic teen love story. So, when I saw another Netflix love story that also featured Noah Centineo, I was all in. However, the film was right, Sierra Burgess is a loser. The film had a perfect opportunity to showcase a plus size teen girl dealing with relationships in high school but turned into a catfishing fiasco stuffed with backhanded confidence and offensive underlying messages.

1. She is introduced as an average teenage girl. 

http://www.futureofpersonalhealth.com

The film begins with Sierra getting ready for the day. As she gets out of the shower, they show a shot of her feet, which is something not everyone pays much attention to. However, for me, I notice that her legs and ankles aren't super tiny, which is something I can relate to because I am also a plus size teen. She looks at herself in the mirror, wet hair and all, and positively affirms herself, something that I totally appreciate. If the film would've continued on this route, I would've loved it.

2. The bullying is unnecessary. 

https://maggieandbeth.tumblr.com/

What's a high school movie without some bullying? Well, in this case, it is so unnecessary. Sierra gets bullied for her appearance but only by the classic mean girl, Veronica. No one else really seems to care about her appearance. She isn't ugly, Sierra was actually fairly pretty. Sure, she was a little awkward but why does the attention of being plus size always have to be taken in a negative way?

3. Meeting Jamey was actually meant to make fun of her. 

http://bcnoist.tumblr.com/

The whole reason Sierra even gets Jamey's number is that Veronica was making fun of her. I understand that this was just a part of the bullying but the entire situation was doomed from the beginning. After Sierra realized that Jamey was not actually expecting to talk to her, she should have admitted the truth. Who knows? Maybe he would've liked her? I mean it was her personality that won him over, even if he was imagining Veronica's face.

4. The whole basis behind the lying was because she was ashamed of her appearance. 

http://livelovecaliforniadreams.tumblr.com

Again, going back to her appearance, SIERRA WAS NOT UNATTRACTIVE. However, the classic skinny, popular girl seemed more appealing, yet I do believe that if Jamey knew it was actually Sierra, he would have been down for it. But, because her hair, her makeup, and her body isn't "perfect," she feels the need to lie.

If I watched this movie as an insecure teenager, what would it have taught me? That if you don't look like a Veronica and more like a Sierra, the best option is to lie about who you truly are. Um, no. Wrong answer.

5. Then, she has this crazy breakdown. 

https://adrideran.tumblr.com/post/

Honey, no. We all understand that everyone has insecurities, but what happened to the magnificent beast at the beginning of the film? Where did she go?

Go and get your Jamey already, be proud of your appearance. You're great.

6. "You're not exactly everyone's type, but you're my type."

https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/

I'm sorry, but no girl wants to hear, "You're not exactly everyone's type." I know that is endearing because he actually ends up liking her. Yet, why was that necessary whatsoever? If you like her, you like her. There was absolutely no need to bring up her insecurities. I just think that this should not have been the resolution. I believe there was a perfect opportunity for him to say something like, "I like you because you're you," or "You're perfect to me." His approach just seems like a backhanded compliment.

At the end of the day, sure, Jamey and Sierra end up together. However, why does a movie about a plus size girl have to only cater to her personality? I'm sorry, but this is showing a completely negative light on the topic.

It tells plus size girls that they will only be loved for their personality and not their appearance. But, I would like to say, all women are beautiful and I want to see a movie where the boy falls for her, for all of her, not just for her personality. Make that and I guarantee it would have done WAY better than this mess of a movie. Even comparing it to "To All The Boys I Loved Before," she wasn't perfect. Lara Jean was quiet, shy, and very reserved. She was beautiful but not known for being the prettiest girl at school. In fact, she usually went unnoticed. However, she still gets the hot jock that everyone teenage girl dreams of.

Overall, "Sierra Burgess Is A Loser" had the potential to inspire young women, yet I finished the movie feeling more insecure than when I started.

tiannat
tiannat

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