Lighten UP! Beach Body Bullsh*t
The Intersection of Diet Culture, Fitness and Food
Lighten UP! is a special podcast series from Fitness Protection that addresses the dysfunction Diet Culture brings to our lives. A fitness expert, registered dietitian, and a trauma-informed therapist offer their perspectives and share tips and tools, so we can, "Lighten Up" and truly enjoy family, food, and fun.
This month, we are discussing International Womxn's Day and corporatizing feminist messages before diving into the noxious culture of 30-day challenges that tell us 'swimsuit season' is coming, a shaming signal to start making our bodies smaller.
Dalia Kinsey is The School Nutrition Dietitian utilizing a background in public health and school nutrition in preventative health care. Jummy Olawale is a Gottman Method Therapist; she helps couples rebuild healthy, shame-free relationships by re-framing difficult conversations.
Coach MK's Intro
I lived abroad for 7 years, 9 if you count my time in undergrad and grad school; that’s a quarter of my life. The pressure to conform to a beach body ideal feels uniquely American to me. I’ve lived on island nations with beautiful beaches and never questioned how I looked or if my body belonged. I didn’t think twice about wearing, much less running or swimming in, whatever I wanted in those hot, humid climates. I am a small, white, femme-presenting cisgender woman, truly not THAT far from normative, and if I feel a million miles removed from this marketing, I have to wonder how much harm it could be causing to others.
Make no mistake, this messaging is harmful. We do not yet believe that all bodies are good bodies; many of us are aware how far we deviate from the societal ideal and feel shame and get defensive. That feeling grows as the temperature increases and our clothing decreases. Saying, “don’t let it get to you” is dismissive and doesn’t acknowledge the way other people respond to our bodies much less the messaging that we may be responding to even subconsciously when we see an advertisement for a 30-day challenge. The only thing that’s out of control is this notion that these airbrushed bodies in advertisements are aspirational, much less standards to which anyone should be held.
In today’s podcast, we are DEFINITELY not talking about running, but we ARE examining the forces that impact our dietary and fitness decisions this time of year. If you are thinking of doing a 30-day challenge of any sort or getting a head start on fall racing, it’s worth asking yourself why. I’m not here to tell you how to feel or how to deal, but I will never stop questioning what it is that you’re actually responding to.
We know we can’t really love other people until we truly love bodies, but how do we do THAT exactly? We are calling in THE BIG GUNS! Dalia Kinsey is The School Nutrition Dietitian and Jummy Olawale is a Gottman Method Therapist. WELCOME TO THE GUN SHOW!
IT IS MARCH! This week has Mercury in retrograde, followed by a full moon, and ends on Friday the 13th. NO OMENS THERE!
Something else that makes March difficult? Marketing. Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and frankly the co-opting of feminism rubs me the wrong way. I want a seat at the table and equal pay for athletes, Nike, not discount; that’s an excuse to give you more money. Plus, gendered holidays exclude a growing number of the population, which, to me, feels like the wrong direction because it reinforces societal gender norms so many do not identify with as well as their status as minorities.
Coming right on the heels of that will be fitness industry messaging, reminding us exactly how FAR we are from those ideals, and encouraging us to DO SOMETHING about it since we are CLEARLY so out of control! Soon, we will be bombarded with messaging about “BEACH BODIES” and ‘getting ready for summer!”, selling us programs that will ensure accountability since we lack willpower and are SO OUT OF CONTROL.
And are we? I don’t think so. What’s out of control is this notion that these bodies in these advertisements are aspirational, much less standards to which anyone should be held. I am a small, white, femme-presenting cisgender woman, and if I feel a million miles removed from this marketing, I have to wonder how much harm it could be causing to others. Diet Culture impacts everyone differently, but it absolutely impacts everyone.
We break all this and more, down!