This was brought up in a comment on my previous post and I thought it was worth discussing in depth here. I’m going to talk about how diet-language is often very similar, if not the same, as eating disorder-language. As should be noted in my blog already, this could be triggering to some so read at your own risk.
I have noticed this many times when it comes to my friends who diet or even people who talk about dieting on blogs or weight loss websites. There’s a lot of talk about if you’re “allowed” to eat something “bad” because you were “good” that day, or if you’re “allowed” to have a “bad day” one day during the week where you don’t stick to your diet. This might sound normal and fine to most people but it really mimics a lot of what goes on in my head when I’m struggling with my anorexia and it mirrors exactly what I went through when anorexia was running my life.
Every single day I’d bargain with myself about if I was “allowed” to have a couple M&Ms or an apple or anything else that would be considered “extra” to my highly strict, disordered self. I remember how I used to obsess about my food choices; what was good, what was okay, what was bad. Most of my day was preoccupied with these thoughts and it seems like most dieters do the same thing, which concerns me.
It seems like fad diets, and society as a whole, promotes disordered eating to people, especially women. There’s a lot of pressure to lose weight and keep losing weight, to the point of becoming healthy. There’s ads all over the place that promise fast weight loss at exceptionally unhealthy rates (20 pounds a week, one ad I heard on the radio boasted). There’s an expectation to be super skinny if you’re a woman, just look at the people on TV and in commercials. Even these very skinny people promote these unrealistic standards when they participate in (unhealthy) weight loss campaigns. If you’re bigger than a size 8 you’re “plus-sized” and have to shop in segregated sections of stores, assuming that store even has a “plus sized” section. Then you have the super models who are walking skeletons, who are often pressured by agents or magazines or fashion designers to lose weight and keep losing it to the point that it has killed some models.
I guess I’m just saying that it concerns me how much emphasis is put on being an arbitrary weight number or BMI number. It’s entirely possible to be healthy while being “overweight.” It’s about lifestyle choices and being active. I wish that society, doctors, and the media would take into account a person’s mental health before they start pushing that person to lose weight and obsessively count calories and develop disordered eating habits.