I need to get this out.
To some of you, you’ll read this and roll your eyes, and that’s okay. I’m aware of how this entire blog is about to come from a place of privilege. But for someone whose goal now is to talk about diversity, fatphobia, thin privilege, and the harmful effects of diets, I need to get this out before it continues to eat me alive, so I can fully move on.
Here it goes.
I am so damn sorry. You didn’t know it at the time (and you still might not), but I hurt you. I lied to you.
To you, the college girl, the blogger, the mom, whoever, that started following me 9 years ago (and might still be) I am so sorry for everything that I did to contribute to an industry that’s ultimate goal is to profit off of your failure.
To the thousands of women that I encouraged to start a diet years ago, I am so sorry. I was young and was looking for happiness and to feel important and needed, just like you, and I fell into the trap as well. I remember looking at women on the covers of magazines and in social media and thinking they had the secret to happiness. I remember watching people worship these bikini girls on stage. And since that’s what society has always drilled into our minds as important, I ran towards it. I quickly became the cover model, the sponsored athlete, the one on the other end pulling girls in. I am so sorry for that.
I’m so sorry for using all the diet buzz words to encourage you to buy my *Bikini Body* (blaahhh) meal plan and workout program (Fat Loss, Real Results, Balance, Quick, Fast, 12 Weeks to Happy, Healthier YOU). Back then I thought it was just “smart marketing” but now I know it was also “trigger marketing.” And when you put an image of me next to those words… damn. I’m so sorry for that.
I’m so sorry for promoting brands, expos, and competitions that GIVE TROPHIES to women who have dieted the hardest and portray a FALSE image of healthy and fit. Because again, even if you went to those expos for the “good guys,” you were still bombarded with the messages of “BUY THIS. LOOK LIKE THAT.”
But here’s the thing. Until you realize that someone like me (yes the sweet fitness girl) did this to you too, you won’t be able to recognize the harmful world of diet culture and move on from it.
I’ve come to believe that sweet, mainstream, All-American women like me in the industry, are the worst offenders in diet culture. Why? Because we’re nice. Because we’re relatable. Because we’re not extreme. We’re kind and we play it safe. So then when it comes time to call out something in diet culture, we’re overlooked. We get off scot-free, and we’re not held accountable… which means we keep on hurting people.
Women like me are the best strobe light for diet culture. We are the best band aid to cover up what is actually going on behind the scenes of the money hungry, fraud-ridden, weight loss industry.
Which is why you stay.
Which is why I stayed so long.
Until you and others come to realize that sweet, nice, kind, women like me (white, thin, able-bodied, blonde) are also promoting the harmful diet industry that contributes heavily to disordered eating, fatphobia, and body shame, then the cycle will continue.
I’m begging you to stop the cycle. I’m begging you to listen to what I’m saying now, and not do as I did then. I didn’t know better then, but now I do and I hope it’s not too late for some of you, because diet culture is a really frustrating and confusing world to get out of. It takes years to un-learn everything, forgive yourself, and move on. (Which is what I am still doing to this day, but holy shit it’s worth it).
So if you’re someone who looks up to fitness models, cover models, and women on Instagram who sell workout programs, BACK UP. For real. Take a week and fully separate yourself from them and try to see through their sugary, niceness. Because this is your health and your life we are talking about.
Ask yourself if these people you follow contribute to the diet industry, even a little bit. Are they selling a meal plan or a diet? Are they putting their mainstream media approved body in your face to sell a nutrition or workout program/challenge/lifestyle/system/whatever the heck they’re calling it now?
And for all my peeps, again, I am so damn sorry. It has sucked coming to terms with what I contributed to and the harm I may of caused you and your health (even if you don’t want to admit it). But please promise me this as we both move on: Hold me accountable. I have a platform and my goal with this platform now is to Listen. Learn. Do Better. Which is how I got to this point. I listened to you women for years and then learned, and now I’m doing things for the better.
I don’t take ab selfies anymore. I don’t sell a meal plan. I don’t promote brands or events that subject you to oppressive and harmful products, images, and messages. But I have a lot to learn still. So please, don’t let this nice girl get away with anything.