Diet culture

I am reading the most incredible book by Alex Light called ” You Are Not a Before Picture” and I fully recommend you read it too (especially if you have been on and off a diet for decades like me!).

The words tumble out incredibly eloquently yet with a familiarity that makes me feel like we have been best friends for years and she is filling me in over a glass of wine in her living room. Her private life, thoughts and struggles laid bare to the reader, who in this case is desperate for some emphatic, earth-shattering advice on breaking the diet cycle. Expert voices are weaved throughout seamlessly, stopped abruptly in their tracks if Alex has something to add or clarify so it never feels too stuffy or sciencey. (Technical term!)

I myself have been “on a diet” of some sort since I was about 15-years-old. If I could show you are graph of my weight fluctuations over that time period it would make for some pretty crazy analysis. That means I have had the “diet starts Monday” mentality roughly 988 times. That is an awful lot of Sunday night guilt and Monday morning determination that was subsequently followed by a dramatic failure, isn’t it? Reading Alex’s book though for the first time I can see it isn’t all my fault. Society sets us up to equate thinness with beauty and fat with ugliness and villains so that longing and yearning to be in a different body starts shockingly early.

Personally, I vividly remember feeling bigger than my friends at around the age of 6. I wasn’t fat, overweight or chunky in any way, quite the opposite but I have a clear memory of being aware of my friends’ dainty wrists and slender hands in comparison to my thick wrists and chubby fingers. Looking at my children now I can see how they are exactly the same, thick wrists with strong bones but so incredibly healthy looking it breaks my heart a little that mini-Ailsa saw this as a negative and already the cycle of body awareness and distain started.

Fast forward to age 34 and beyond a surgical, irreversible procedure, (which don’t get me wrong, I have looked into,) I think I have pretty much tried every “diet” there is. So many holidays spent either miserable watching everyone else eat incredible food or full of guilt for breaking the latest diet to join in with the family. Where has it got me? I’m pushing the upper end of my heaviest limit having touched on the lower end a handful or times in that period. I wish I could count how many of the same pounds I have gained and lost as I bet it is shockingly high, like a whole person’s weight high.

The biggest shock for me in adult life though is how many people have hang-ups about something. The mum at the school gate who effortlessly fills her skinny jeans to the exact plumpness perfection might wish they were a size smaller. The friend with the most incredibly defined stomach muscles might cover her legs at all times as she hates her knees. The tall, model looking pal might desperately be trying to add a bit of timber to lessen the thigh gap and add a bit of boob. The list goes on but it really surprised me that the women I would perhaps genuinely consider chopping a body part off to look like, might well do the same to look like someone else.

So as I begin my journey to be diet free and instead lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle, I am beyond grateful to have found Alex, her amazing words of wisdom and her incredible swimwear collection that is inclusive of everyone no matter what their shape or size is.

Link to purchase

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