Three Favorite Posts for One Year of @dietculturesucks!

HAPPY ONE YEAR of @dietculturesucks!! Today I decided I’d compile three posts from the past year of posting, writing, and live-streaming my thoughts to you all via instagram. These aren’t the posts that got the most likes or comments, but they were among the most meaningful to me. I hope there’s at least one new one in here for you—enjoy!

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Dear Little Naomi,

You know you aren’t supposed to look like this. You know when you started deciding to be active, it was a good thing, that rock climbing with your friend, jumping on the trampoline, that biking up the hill, doing your mom’s Pilates video, was just fine. And you know when you started asking for your burger without a bun it was ok, you were just trying to eat less bread. And when you started only using  small plates, it was something you learned in a Women’s Health magazine, and you also started insisting on eating with a small fork instead of the regular dinner one, but that was just another weight loss tip you picked up in a women’s magazine. Perfectly normal.

And when you started weighing how much turkey you would give yourself to eat as an afternoon snack you told yourself you needed to learn portion control because who knows how much you were just eating out of the package and you really should have a good idea about what serving sizes are. And that’s normal. The magazine that told you to do that, you read that magazine while you were in your literal doctor’s office. They wouldn’t have put it in the waiting room at a medical center if it wasn’t true, right? It said people do it all the time, all over America, all over the world—if they care about their health, that is. Nothing to see here.

And when you started taking things out of your lunch, considering at night “How much do I  really  need—I could go without that big sandwich, right?” you were doing something that you’d heard somewhere was just a way of living a healthier lifestyle.

And when you got on the scale and saw how much weight you’d lost, you knew you’d done something wrong. You knew you weren’t supposed to look like this, but at that point it had become too hard to stop. “Healthy” tips had become routines had become rigid rituals that had taken hold of your mind and caged you in. But you didn’t think you had a problem—you were just chubby, so you made changes to your diet, and did a lot of cardio, so you lost weight. And that’s what being healthy looks like. Right.

Right?

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Yesterday while driving in between commitments, running late as always, I started fiddling with my phone. I clicked between songs irritably and as I lifted my eyes a split second later in time to swerve away from the curb, a thought crossed my mind: “I want to crash.” I watched this thought track across my brain, and it surprised me. I didn’t want to crash, of course...so what was I thinking?

I wanted something to HAPPEN. I wanted something to happen to me that would mean that I could take a break. I wanted to be sick, or to hit something, so that I could skip my obligations and people would understand and be okay with it because this THING happened. I wanted an excuse to lie in my bed, to not be accountable to class or work or work events or for responding to texts or DMs or planning, or saying I’ll show up to things that I honestly just can’t.

It’s hard for me to say “no.” I used to be better at saying “no” when I was in my disordered phase, because my priorities were clear: my workout came first, and other things had to fit around that. That’s no longer the case, and I’ve found myself struggling at time to order my priorities, to be ok saying “no” when I need to. I suppose I expected, with my newfound time, to be able to do everything. But that’s just not possible. .

I don’t want my car to crash. I don’t want to get sick, I don’t want myself, and I definitely don’t want anyone else, getting hurt. What I DO want is a break. What I DO want is to let myself say no. What I DO want, is to release myself from this crushing feeling of guilt that I’m letting people down when I set boundaries for myself.

In an ideal world, I could do all the things. But I’m not superwoman, and neither is anyone else. And we ignore our own needs —even if those needs are as simple as lying in bed for 2 hours during the middle of the day—at our peril.

So here’s my renewed commitment to advocate for myself, and to let myself off the hook for not being everywhere I’d like to be in this particular season of life.

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Yesterday before I got into bed I lifted up my shirt in front of the full length mirror that sits across from my bed, and I looked at my body. “I don’t like this,” I thought. “I don’t feel sexy. I don’t think my body is cute. I don’t like the way my belly is sitting. Hm.”

I climbed into bed and lay down, thinking. Thinking about the kind of enormous amount of food I’d eaten that day and the not-so-amazing feeling I was having just then about my body. And I thought something else: “it doesn’t matter.” .

IT DOESN’T MATTER. Wait—what?

I don’t need to feel beautiful. My stomach doesn’t need to be cute. I don’t have to be in love with my appearance all the time, or really, any of the time. My value & worth as a human (ALL of it) lies OUTSIDE of my body. It has nothing to do with what I look like. My friends like me because of who I am, they couldn’t care less what I look like. I do or don’t thrive in school & job settings because of my brain—it has nothing to do with my body. I’m happy because of the people and places and memories and thoughts and passion projects that make me feel all the feels about getting to live my life every day.

Besides, my body literally DOES NOT CARE if I like it or not. It’s here. It’s here to stay, it’s here to keep doing its thing, FOR ME, every day, no matter what thoughts I direct towards it. I can love it or hate it, but my body is going to keep fighting for me all the same. And when I think about it that way, it seems pretty unfair to hate something that’s just doing its best to keep me alive.

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Finally, if you read this (or any other of my writings here or on instagram), thank you. Thank you for supporting me and creating and holding space for me to be vulnerable and honest and explore things I don’t always feel comfortable exploring in other contexts. I appreciate you more than you know.

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