From physical appearance to our daily diet, our society has limited the range of what qualifies as healthy. Here is why bringing back diversity is the balance we need to sustain both a healthier body and mind.
The definition of health is the condition of being sound in body, mind, and spirit. It means being free from physical disease or pain. Therefore, you have to have health to live life with purpose and fulfillment. This is a beautiful description, but sadly not the main focus of today’s diet culture.
You can eat all your points in Halo Top Ice Cream, have 10 gluten-free kale salads, or shove organic Twinkies into a portion-control container, and it still won’t make you healthy. It’s all or nothing, either good or bad. When the scale moves down, you receive praise, and leaving you full of shame if it doesn’t.
Ironically, the diet mentality is what blinds us from actually being healthier.
How has the word health become more about appearance than being well from within? Why do we compare ourselves to others with unattainable expectations? Why is the focus of eating on restriction instead of joy and nourishment?
Why are we praised when we take up less space?
One of the most obvious reasons is because the scale and BMI are used as the primary indicator of success, despite being so limited in what they can actually tell us about our mental and physical wellbeing.
It is difficult to help improve people’s health when the scale determines if they have failed or succeeded. The number unfortunately often dictates what should be eaten, self-worth, and what you are “allowed” to do. People become a slave to an object that only measures mass or downward force to the Earth.
But being healthy is about adding to diversity, not limiting it. Our bodies are brilliant and complex, and healthy can look so many different ways.
Let’s see more photos of real bodies, moving as they would in real life without being retouched. Normal bodies have cellulite, tummies that squish, and a shape that is constantly changing to adapt. All body shapes and sizes are good, because it embraces our uniqueness. You don’t need to be skinny, have perfectly sculpted abs, or have a ton of food rules. You just need to respect yourself and treat your body with more kindness.
Do not forget how important food diversity is, because the way we live isn’t just about nutrient-dense foods. If you are scrolling through your social media feed and only see “healthy” foods, you are not getting a realistic idea of what a normal diet includes. Social media can be especially toxic, make it a goal to follow people who eat a variety of foods.
And most importantly, let’s begin to allow ourselves to open up to the possibilities of all the meanings of healthy by celebrating the diversity in our lives.
Adapted from the original article.
Haley Goodrich, RD, LDN is a private practice Registered Dietitian based in Pittsburgh, PA inspiring others to have a healthy relationship with food. Specializing in disordered eating, intuitive eating, and GI disorders, Haley’s mission is to show that healthy doesn’t have to be restrictive or defined by how you compare to others. To stay inspired to be your healthiest you, visit Haley at INSPIRD Nutrition.