Something discussed frequently in the anti-diet nutrition world is the fact that there is very little you can do to change the shape of your given body.
For the most part, this is true. The body will fight extremely hard to get back to its given weight/size/shape because that is where it operates best. Most people will hop on and off diet and exercise routines throughout their life, seeing only short-term change when extreme diet and fitness measures are taken. This is often brought up as the ‘proof’ that diet and exercise programs work.
For the vast majority however, these changes seen are temporary. Once the chosen diet or fitness program is abandoned, the body slowly goes back to a place where it feels it can most comfortably operate. For the select few who continue to push past their body’s every attempt to get back to place where it can function best, the maintenance of those body changes comes at a significant cost to their well-being.
The body is forced to continually operate in an undernourished, exhausted state. In addition to a physical cost, there is also a mental cost as the brain tries to function without proper fuel and rest. Often the maintenance of these body changes becomes all-consuming causing individuals to sacrifice or feel significant anxiety at social events, family gatherings, vacations, etc.
The life lived in order to live life in a shrunken body is very small. There is little room for anything other than the strict diet and exercise rules that must be adhered to in order to prevent the body from changing. I would argue that this is not a life lived at all.
When you look back on your life, you will want to think about the memories you created, the experiences you had. Remembering fun times with friends and family, times you showed up and used your voice on matters that were important to you. Those things, not what you weighed or how toned you might have been, are what will fill your heart with joy at a life well lived.
Diet culture wants us to believe that the most important thing is shrinking our bodies, but that pursuit only shrinks our life. Next time you feel yourself being pulled into the idea of another diet or fitness program for the purposes of ‘improving your life,’ think about what you want your life to reflect when you’re looking back on it and let that be the guide for how you choose to live.
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