“It’s a lifestyle change;” “It’s about being healthier;” “I just want to lose five pounds.”
All of these are common statements you might hear, especially on a college campus, and they are all a total waste of time.
Our lives are saturated with media messages about the way we look, the things we eat and what those things say about who we are as people. Here’s the cold, hard truth: What you eat and whether you choose to work out or not, doesn’t mean squat about who you are as a person.
And here’s the other cold, hard truth: Whatever name you give it, whatever phrase you choose to make yourself feel less silly about it, if your success is measured in pounds/inches lost, you are dieting. But think about how much time and energy you waste denying yourself things you enjoy and forcing yourself to exercise if you don’t want to. Not to mention the absolutely abysmal “success” rate of diets.
It’s good to be healthy and this isn’t to knock people who genuinely enjoy exercising, but let’s face it, there are a lot of moral judgments that we are given and that we pass based on people’s perceived eating and exercising habits. Those judgments are stupid, misguided and wrong. Good health isn’t a moral obligation; people shouldn’t have to earn respect, civility and human decency.
“I’m trying to be good,” she says while choosing a salad instead of a slice of pizza. Let’s question that assumption: what’s “good” about salad over pizza? Why do we feel the need to place moral judgments on food and what it says about us? Why is any food “good” and any other food “bad?” Pizza, salad, Cheetos, fruit, ultimately they all serve the same purpose, giving our bodies the food they need to function.
He says he’s being good and grabs a salad. What am I supposed to infer then when I reach for the slice of pizza? Am I being bad? Does he think I’m being bad? Have I somehow become less of a good person all because of a food choice? Even if you don’t mean to, when you make a statement like that you are inherently passing judgments on those around you as well.
“I just need to lose five more pounds.” Again, there are unintended consequences to careless statements. She thinks she needs to lose five more pounds? Well what about me? I’m a good five inches shorter and probably 30 pounds heavier. And let’s be honest, it’s never just five pounds, it’s five, then 10, then 15.
Think about the statements you make and think about what messages you might be sending, even if unintentionally. Don’t diet, and if you feel you must then please don’t tell me about it. I’m never going to congratulate you or support you, and I don’t think you need to lose the weight. When you tell me you lost some weight I’m never going to say “great for you!” To do so would be to send the message that I thought you needed to, or that you look better without those five pounds.
Here’s the last, final and most-important cold, hard truth: You look good just as you are and you don’t need to change a thing.
Contact CU Independent News Budget Editor Ellie Bean at Beanee@colorado.edu.