We discuss the complicated and often toxic diet, fitness, and “wellness” culture that feeds us the myth that in order to be our best selves, we have to lose weight, get into shape, and achieve our dream bodies.
In our pursuits to be “healthy” (meaning thin), we end up doing a lot of unhealthy (and expensive) things! Plus we don’t even have a shared understanding of what healthy means–not even among medical professionals. We attach all kinds of character attributes to the way our bodies look and what we do them. If we eat something healthy, we’re “good.” If we eat a treat, we’re “bad.” There’s no in between.
Achieving health is more than a personal quest. It’s also a justice issue. We talk about how systemic poverty forces people to make hard choices between buying healthy food and paying the light bill, especially poor families with young children.
We also call out the ways that churches have bought into this toxic diet and fitness culture–and have even profited from it.
What We’re Reading and Listening To
Ashley picks up Mississippi author Angie Thomas’s debut novel The Hate U Give about a black teenage girl who is the only witness to a police shooting of her best friend. It’s being made into a movie starring Amandla Stenberg, so pick up the book before the movie comes out!
Katey has been listening to the She’s All Fat podcast, which she first heard on Call Your Girlfriend. Their tag line is, “the podcast for body positivity, radical self-love, and chill vibes only.” The co-hosts Sophie and April are hilarious, smart, and they refreshingly unapologetic about their bodies. They cover topics like plus-size fashion, the depiction of fat people in film and TV, and radical self-love. Definitely give it a listen.
Kindred of the Moment
Ashley lifts up Dr. Linda Bacon, an advocate and promoter of the movement called Health at Every Size. Dr. Bacon has spent her career really digging into and unpacking the science and stereotypes and assumptions behind weight loss and dieting, and in her book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight, she explores the assumptions we hold about how to lose weight and why we lose weight and whether weight loss actually leads to better health. She explores the concept of Health at Every Size– the idea that we can adopt healthy lifestyle habits and find joy in movement and food and taking care of our bodies, and pursue health related goals, without making weight loss or a number on the scale the ultimate focus of our efforts. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Bacon, you can visit her website at lindabacon.org. Thanks Dr. Bacon for all you do!
Links and Resources
- What is a food desert? Click here to learn more.
- Why feeding a toddler healthy food is tough for poor families.
- Some folks think the Whole 30 diet is bad for you.
- What’s wrong with “strong is the new skinny”?
- Roxane Gay’s latest book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
- Users say the Daniel Plan diet doesn’t work (even with all of that praying)
- Find a body-positive health professional connected with the Health at Every Size movement