Diet Culture and Holidays

Cellulite, stretch marks, buffets and six packs (or lack thereof)

So I’ve just come back from a fabulous week off in Gran Canaria and I had a bit of a revelation this morning.

This is THE FIRST TIME in my entire life that I didn’t diet and restrict calories massively before the holiday in an effort to lose weight.

This is THE FIRST TIME in my entire life that the buffet style meals didn’t cause me to feel anxious or over analyse or feel guilty about every morsel of food I put on my plate.

This it THE FIRST TIME in my entire life that I don’t feel the need to start a post holiday “detox” to counteract how “bad” I was on holiday.

Pre-Holiday

Previously – a time of excitement, of course. But always tainted by the anxiety of needed to look a certain way. Diet culture taught me that I needed to have a “bikini body” and in the weeks leading up to holidays, I would agonise over food portions and workouts in order to feel worthy of wearing a bikini.

Now – a time of excitement, full stop. I did not start a pre-holiday diet for Gran Canaria and it was so freeing. Let me let you in on a little secret on how to get a “bikini body”. Do you have a body? Can you put a bikini on it? BOOM – Bikini Body. That’s it. I realised that it doesn’t matter what my body looks like. I can god damn wear a bikini anyway and feel amazing doing.

On Holiday

Previously – I would have felt extremely conscious of what I looked like. I have cellulite. I have stretch marks. I have skin blemishes. And the idea of flaunting in a bikini or shorts filled me with dread. Diet culture taught me that all these things were imperfections on my body. Things that shouldn’t be there. Things that needed to be fixed.

Now – It hasn’t happened over night, and I don’t always feel strong and self confident, but this holiday was a big step in the right direction. I felt comfortable in my skin with its stretch marks and cellulite because guess what? They are normal! Between 90 and 98% of woman, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR BODY SIZE IS, have cellulite. And we have stretch marks because our bodies are constantly growing and changing. That is normal, natural and most of all beautiful. I’m tired of being told that my body is imperfect just so that big companies can make money from my insecurities!

Post-Holiday

Previously – I would have spent my first day back, frantically planning carefully-controlled, calorie-restrictive meals. I would have forced myself to go to the gym and would not take my eye off the calorie counter. I’d burn myself out all in an effort to try and do what I saw as making up for what I’d eaten on holiday.

Now – Although the cold weather is making me a little grumpy… I am feeling relaxed and I really enjoyed my holiday. Although I love to cook, I enjoyed having choices of lots of different types of food prepared for me. I loved the freedom of wearing bikinis and shorts and not having my winter coat on. Bright sunshine in February really is a win. Most of all, I’m loving that I don’t feel guilt or anxiety about what I will eat or how I will exercise now that I am home.

None of these changes happened to me over night, but I cannot describe how amazingly freeing it is. You have so much more to offer than how you look. You were not put on this earth to diet and lose weight. Your body can do so many incredible things. It’s time to start celebrating the amazing things your body can do.

Time to give diet culture the finger!

Love Becky xx

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