Since we started this Merrymaking thing, what we do online and we as people has changed a lot. It’s been 8 years (on 7 March 2021!)… so change during that time is 100% guaranteed. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There’s no doubt, recipes, the paleo diet, sugar-free, keto, low carb etc… have been part of our lives and our online lives. They will always be part of our history. But right now, we don’t live and eat with such restrictions.
Sure, we eat whole foods most of time… but now, we’re not afraid of a fresh glass of juice or bowl of pasta (and yes, afraid really is the right word because we were afraid, we were anxious, we were stressed… about food).
We don’t say no to the Pizza date invite.
We enjoy the gelato on a hot summer day.
We enjoy the glass of wine (or Aperol spritz or Margarita).
We say yes to fun and joy-filled experiences with food and we no longer waste hours of our lives feeling guilty or planning the work out to make that ‘naughty dinner’ ok.
We now have a sense of freedom around food, it feels lighter and more expansive. There is less stress and more love. There is more space in our minds and hearts, more space available for passions, art, hobbies, relaxation and fun… ahhh more space for LIFE!
Now, we realise that all diets CAN and do have a negative effect on your relationship with food and also yourself.
Sure they have a place, some need diets for health reasons and obviously, allergies. But it’s always important to check-in. Check-in with how your diet makes you feel, physically, mentally and emotionally. If it’s not so good… maybe it’s time to scrap it.
And also, if you’re wondering why you’ve been on a diet since the age of 11 (like us). If you wonder why the most concerning thing in your life has been your weight and NOT looking ‘right’ (like us for many years). If you now realise the eating disorder you kept secret is/was actually a bit of a big deal and you might need help (can call 1800 33 4673 The Butterfly Foundation in Australia and yes, this was Emma’s story). If you wonder why you ever feel like your body is ‘wrong’ in some kind of way.
Two words… Diet Culture.
You’ve been living, breathing, reading and have been influenced by Diet Culture. A culture that values thinness and youth.
You’ve been brainwashed to think if you have body fat, this means you’re overweight.
You’ve been taught to believe that thinness = greatness.
And somehow you believed that if only you lost weight (and then a little more, more, more)… that all of your problems would be easier to deal with. Maybe even solved.
You rarely saw a range of sized people in the magazines… back when we were teenagers in the early 2000’s we’d see predominantly size 4-8… perhaps a size 10-12 labelled as ‘curvy’… let alone size 18, 20 and up.
The images in magazines, films and TV shows of women’s bodies taught us that one size was ‘right’ and all others were ‘wrong’.
Thankfully, this is beginning to change.
Actually, while we are here, let’s talk about growing up in the 90s and 2000s.
You would have seen 99% fat-free EVERYWHERE, the 90s female body ideal was ‘the waif look’, think Kate Moss who (in)famously said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Then in the 2000s, it was all about being fit and showing off your abs, think Britney Spears and Giselle Buchanan.
And yes we can talk about this for every single decade for women’s bodies… from the 20s flapper girl, the perfect hourglass figure of the 50s, and in the 60s it was Twiggy style. Ok, you get it… body ideals are forever changing and also complete BS, we chat about them during THIS podcast episode.
Right now it’s all about the booty. Thank you (not) Kardashians.
And this is why waist trainers are a thing. To make the waist seem smaller and the booty appear larger. How anyone wears these is beyond us… we are meant to breathe and expand our rib cage!
It’s simply ridiculous… we remember our Mum was FOREVER worried about her ‘large butt’ and it was never ever actually big (thanks Diet Culture for telling her it was), well maybe in the 90s it was classified as big and ‘wrong’, but hey! Now it’s ‘in fashion’ Mum. *insert eye roll*
Ahhh. Body trends and beauty ideals are awful, non-inclusive and make you feel inadequate and not enough. Let’s not give them any more of our attention, if we don’t believe in them they have no power.
Diet culture and these body trends oppress us, they keep us small in ideas, ambitions and love. They keep us focused on things that are actually not important. They are toxic and damaging.
Yes, when we shared our first-ever ‘paleo recipe’ this was a form of diet culture. We did not realise back then. And even so, we’re actually grateful for it all as it has led us to where we are.
We can’t change the past, and we never did anything with an ill-natured intention. We’re grateful for all the experiences we had, but we no longer want to be part of Diet Culture. This is why it’s important we begin to share our current perspective.
And this is why, now, our driver and message behind everything we do is Self-Acceptance.
The message that you are amazing, just as you are, right here and right now.
These days… we still enjoy all our old recipes but we don’t restrict ourselves (ever) and this has been a game-changer for our mental health around food, exercise… and life in general.
When we followed diets, these were the types of things we did…
- We’d restrict our diets. Usually after reading the newest find or fad (maybe both) in food and the world of health and nutrition.
- We would continually think about food, and not in an excited way… more in an anxious way. We were always just a little bit worried about what we ate. This changed depending on what we read or the diet we were on.
- We’d flat out say no to social invitations unless we knew we could make dietary changes.
- We’d get restaurants to make up new meals for us. “Can we just have a chicken salad, olive oil on the side?” (so we could manage the drizzle). Yes, we were those customers.
- The goal was to always lose weight. We felt like we had ‘lose 5 kgs’ on our to-lists for about 10 years no matter what we weighed.
Now, that we don’t follow any diet and we are quitting Diet Culture…
- We eat all different foods, as we mentioned… pizza, pasta, chips, juice, wine, chocolate, actual real traditional cakes (yes with sugar and flour), cheese (yummmm burrata!). We also still eat healthily, as in whole foods, heaps of veggies, proteins, good fats. The point is, we allow all types of food… BUT this does not mean we live off pizza, chocolate and chips! We focus on eating to feel good.
- Just because we don’t diet, doesn’t mean we are anti-weight loss, anti-doctors, anti-exercise, anti-health food or anti-health! We know some people need to lose weight for their health, we know exercise is good for us (we LOVE exercise that makes us feel good! We also teach exercise in this way too, checkout MerryBody) and we love healthy food!
- We feel 100% less guilt, stress, anxiety and worry about our food choices. We experience more joy.
- We see people of all shapes and sizes in a different light. We used to think subconsciously that thin = healthy, large = unhealthy. But this is simply not true. Someone can be perfectly healthy in a larger body, someone can be extremely unhealthy in a thinner body and of course vice versa.
- We accept our changing bodies. As we age (both of us are now in our early 30s) we begin to see a few lines appear on our faces, we have bumps and lumps where was once smooth. And instead of stressing about this, we embrace them and we realise it’s a true blessing… to age that is.
- Sometimes we fall back to our old ways of thinking. This is ok, after all we spent so many years living and believing in Diet Culture. It’s all about coming back to the truth, that you are enough just as you re. We use tools like Yoga, Meditation and each other to help us come back to this truth.
As always, if you have any questions or simply want to share your experience let us know.
Emma + Carla
Ps. If you’re interested in learning more about MerryBody and our mission to move and exercise from a place of Self-Acceptance, check out this page and sign up to the 7 day free trial.
Pp.s here’s the full feature photo… us skipping joyfully away from Diet Culture.