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EP 72 – Celebrate Your Summer Body: Breaking Down Diet Culture and Embracing Authenticity

Hola, welcome to a new blog post where we take a deep dive into the topics discussed in the latest episode of “Dismantling Diet Culture: Fuck Being Calladita.” I’m your host, Dr. Hortencia Jimenez, and today we’re going to expand on the ideas of embracing our bodies as they are, dismantling toxic diet culture, and fostering a respectful relationship with food and ourselves. 

The Summer Body Myth

With summer around the corner, social media and various advertisements are bombarding us with the concept of the “summer body” or the “beach body.” Let me tell you why this notion is toxic and harmful. Diet culture thrives on making you feel inadequate about your body so that you engage in restrictive eating, dieting, and excessive exercise. This not only makes a profit for the diet industry but also perpetuates harmful ideals about beauty and social acceptance.

As someone who has gone through the toxic cycles of diet culture, I understand the pressure. I used to do all sorts of things to “get ready for summer,” but that approach led to nothing but body shame and dissatisfaction. My first piece of advice is to honor your body as it is right now. Your summer body is the one you already have, and that is the counter-narrative we should all embrace. We don’t need to change our bodies to fit into society’s narrow definitions of beauty.

The Importance of Gratitude and Mindfulness

Shifting our mindset is easier said than done, but it’s crucial for our well-being. Start by showing gratitude toward your body for all it does for you. When we focus on appearance alone, we miss out on appreciating the functional and wonderful aspects of our bodies.

Think about it: our bodies allow us to enjoy activities like swimming, hiking, dancing, or simply lounging in the sunshine. By getting fixated on changing our bodies, we lose precious time that could be spent enjoying life and creating beautiful memories. This summer, let’s focus on the things that make us happy and content instead of restrictive diets and punishing exercise routines.

Ditch the Scale: Embrace Body Inclusivity

One of the principles I advocate is to move away from the scales and measurements that define our worth by numbers. Weight inclusivity and body diversity are vital concepts that are often overlooked. Even though societal norms may emphasize a particular body type, remember that body diversity is natural and beautiful.

Moving toward a weight-neutral approach helps us value our health and well-being over a number on a scale. Being weight-inclusive means accepting that our worth is not tied to our body size. It’s liberating to realize that we don’t need to shrink to enjoy life or feel good about ourselves.

Be Compassionate: Respect Your Body Journey

Diet culture thrives on insecurity, and it’s easy to fall into a trap of self-criticism. Therefore, practice compassion and understanding as you navigate your body image journey. Your relationship with your body and how you feel can vary from day to day, and that’s okay. The key is to give yourself grace and kindness during this journey.

Enjoyment and Pleasure: Find Joy in Movement and Food

Engage in activities and exercises that bring you joy, not as a punishment but as a celebration of your body. Whether it’s dancing, hiking, or just walking, find movement that you genuinely enjoy. The same goes for food—eat what makes you happy and nourishes your body without attaching guilt or shame to it.

Enjoy the process of cooking or sharing meals with loved ones. This approach can help mend your relationship with food and your body by making meals a source of joy rather than a battleground.

Set Boundaries: Social Media and Relationships

Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel unworthy or perpetuate harmful messages. Set boundaries with loved ones or coworkers who might unconsciously promote diet culture. Your mental and emotional health is paramount, and controlling your digital and social environment can make a huge difference.

Connect With Nature: Find Grounding and Meaning

Spend more time outdoors. Connecting with nature can be very grounding and healing. I find gardening to be a great way to reconnect with the earth. By doing this, you also honor the original stewards of the land and find a deeper appreciation for nature.

Remember, summer is a time to be enjoyed. Don’t wait for an “ideal” body—you already have it. Embrace the joy, pleasure, and freedom that comes with being your authentic self this summer.

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