The start of a New Year can be a challenge for those in eating disorder recovery. Here are some thoughts on combatting diet culture and fighting through urges to diet or lose weight.
by: BALANCE Communications Coordinator Emily Costa
The start of a New Year can be a challenging time for those in eating disorder recovery. It seems that when the clock strikes midnight, diet culture rages stronger than ever. We see an increase in advertisements and commercials for weight loss products and programs. Hear diet talk a bit louder seemingly everywhere we go.
It can instantly feel that we should be working on changing our bodies or losing weight, and if we aren’t - we are somehow ‘bad,’ ‘wrong,’ ‘have given up,’ or are ‘lazy.’ And that is exactly what the diet industry wants us to feel, so they can take their $65 billion dollar industry and make it even more lucrative.
These messages impact us all as a society. It reinforces some of the skewed or sometimes downright dangerous thoughts we have about our bodies and weight. But it is no secret that hearing these messages when in eating disorder recovery can be particularly challenging.
When you are trying to learn to live without rules, restrictions and disordered behaviors - you already have a voice in your head questioning your every move around food. When it feels like the whole world is joining that voice for the month of January, it can feel extremely exhausting and daunting to hold onto recovery.
And if you are in recovery and feel the spark of hope ignite again that somehow changing your body may bring happiness, an overall sense of worth to your life or a multitude of other beautiful things - you are not alone.
Diet culture has spun the story together that when we change our bodies or lose weight our lives drastically change. The brutal reality is that 95% of diets fail. Dieting even leads to lower self esteem, poor body image and even depression.
Not to mention dieting is the number one risk factor in developing an eating disorder. So if you are in recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or disordered eating habits, there's a likely chance you have had a history or complicated relationship with dieting.
How couldn't we? In 2017 one survey stated 45% of Americans had a resolution to lose weight in 2018. In our society, wanting to lose weight is supposed to be an inherent part of our being.
So what can we do to combat these messages when we are feeling particularly vulnerable? One way is to remember that eating disorder recovery promises what dieting may never bring: a better version of you, health, happiness, a sense of worth and belonging, love and so much more.
Recovery gives us the unique opportunity to find peace with our food and bodies. To see that we deserve more. Are worthy as is. Have a lot more to offer the world than our appearance. It gives you the confidence to show the world your authentic self.
So at the end of the day, don’t let diet culture interfere with your recovery this year or any year.
This post was written by BALANCE Communications Coordinator Emily Costa.