I don’t want to hear about your diet*, and I especially don’t want to hear about what you are not eating. I say this as a fat person who is completely happy with my body and refuses to go on weight loss diets, for a number of reasons that I will touch on below. To be clear, I don’t say “fat” as an insult about myself, but rather as a neutral descriptor word to talk about how my body looks. Bodies come in different shapes and sizes and that is totally awesome. Bodies are one of the only things that are really and truly ours and I am determined to like mine. Your body is yours and you can do what you want. But I want you to know what I hear you saying when you talk about your diet:
1. I am miserable
I know that when I have something in my life that is really weighing (no pun intended!) on me I like to talk to others about it. Whether it is something good or bad, we tend to focus on the things that are important in our lives. When someone is on a weight loss diet they will likely talk a lot about it, but not in a way that makes it sound like it is filling their life with fun. If diets didn’t already turn you off, all you have to do is listen to a person on a diet talk about how shitty it is to be convinced it is horrible. It’s not fun to be around.
More Radical Reads: When I Broke Up With My Diet
2. There is something wrong with your body
As I said above, I am fat. I am usually what we in the fat-positive community would call “medium fat.” That means that the vast majority of people who will talk about their weight loss diets will be thinner than I am. So how do you think someone feels when you talk about your body as being too big and mine is twice the size of yours?
Look, no one is required to love their body and be happy with it. But I do think that someone should not (intentionally or unintentionally) make someone else feel bad about themselves if they can help it. Don’t complain about something that another person has worse than you to them!
For example, don’t complain about how hard it is to maintain three homes to someone who is homeless. Don’t talk about how you hate how tall you are to someone who is taller than you. It’s pretty simple.
Women especially love to bond over the myriad ways we hate ourselves. I get the impulse, but I think that it is destructive. Let’s talk about how great we are instead of continuing the patriarchy enforced pressure to literally and figuratively minimize ourselves. Or like, books or movies or celebrity gossip or anything besides the way we are flawed.
3. I don’t know much about science
95% of diets fail. Therefore, as a medical treatment for “obesity”, diets work only 5% of the time. Most people on diets have been on diets before, therefore most of us have experienced this statistic first hand. (If that original diet “worked” no one would have to be on a diet again.) A 5% chance of anything means that it is extremely unlikely to happen. The diet industry knows this, studies have shown this, yet people all expect to be the outlier. It makes no scientific or mathematical sense to expect to be in the 95% instead of the 5%. (And if you didn’t know before, now you do.)
More Radical Reads: 4 Ways We Can Make Eating Healthy a Radical Body Positive Act
4. I will probably be boring to talk to
One of the big problems with dieting is that it often becomes the only thing that a person talks about. I love talking to people with varied interests and experiences, it is not fun to talk to someone who can only focus on calories and pounds (which is actually a survival mechanism because your brain is literally starving!). It’s like when my kids were really into Minecraft and that is all they would talk about. I didn’t care about Minecraft and I don’t care about your diet.
I know that people aren’t thinking about me when they diet. (Though maybe they should!) Some of these things are a little harsh, but I am not even close to the only fat person that feels like this when someone mentions their diet (and mentions and mentions…). I do really believe that people can do whatever they want with their bodies, but I can also set boundaries about what kinds of things I want to hear and don’t want to hear and diet talk is one of them.
In order to continue producing high quality content and expanding the message of radical, unapologetic self-love, we need to build a sustainable organization. To meet these efforts, we’re thrilled to share the launch of our #NoBodiesInvisible subscription service. This service will provide our community with access to additional content and rewards for your monthly investment in furthering our radical self-love work.
Need some help growing into your own self love ? Join us for our free webinar 10 Tools for Radical Self Love.
[Feature Image: A person sitting outside on a blue metal bench. Behind them is a brick wall. They have reddish shoulder length hair, a black sweater, a brown dress and red heels. Source: Kathryn]