“It is difficult to believe that your recovery is the most important thing when diet culture and a fatphobic world are telling you that the most important thing, by far, is being thin by any means necessary.”
– Ragen Chastain
Living in a technology-and-media-saturated world, the message that our bodies are flawed attacks us from every angle. Ragen Chastain, who presented EDRDpro’s members-only webinar in July 2018, points out that the diet and beauty industries steal our self-esteem, cheapen it, and sell it back to us at a profit. She calls this the Cycle of Diet Culture Disempowerment.
Rubbing salt into the wound, so many of us internalize this pernicious cycle. We impose diet culture’s oppressive standards upon others and ourselves, falling prey to the lie that meeting the media’s narrow definition of perfection dictates morality and worth. We learn to value certain bodies over others – which ultimately harms us all. The Cycle of Diet Culture Disempowerment (and the fatphobia it perpetuates) contributes to, at least in part, the 119% increase in eating disorder hospitalizations we have seen in children under the age of 12 from 1999 to 2006. Similarly, 47% of girls from 5th to 12th grades report wanting to lose weight because of the images they see in magazines. And, 90% of adult women as well as 80% of adult men do not “like what they see when they look in the mirror.” Diet culture truly abuses us all.
What’s the eating disorder professional’s role in all of this? Recovering from an eating disorder is already challenging – and even more so when diet culture reigns supreme. Fear of weight gain makes sense when the media insists that manipulating our bodies is an obligation. In order to prevent eating disorders and support full recovery, Ragen says, “We need to insist that the eating disorder community, and the world, be fiercely fat positive.” We could not agree more. ALL bodies deserve healthy relationships with food, body, and self – and that is the root of our work here at EDRDpro.
EDRDpro members can hear more from Ragen anytime in the members-only webinar library!