As we grow and mature, we begin to notice what makes our relationships toxic.
We also begin to notice that toxicity does not only apply solely to our relationships with others, but also with ourselves and our own self image.
Photo: I yunmai on Unsplash
Society has led us to believe, especially women, that weight is a defining factor of our self worth. It is ingrained in so many of our heads that any increase of the number on our scale indicates a decrease in our value.
It is no wonder, then, that at least 30 million Americans (of all ages and genders) suffer from some sort of eating disorder. Worldwide, the statistic is close to 70 million.
One of the largest concerns when it comes to this is that many people with disordered eating habits are unaware that their behavior is unhealthy. Obsessively counting calories, doing constant weight checks, and punishing yourself for eating “bad” foods are not actions towards self care; they are signs of a larger issue.
While dieting and calorie counting are not synonymous with having an eating disorder, these behaviors are a slippery slope to mental illness, and this is nothing to be taken lightly.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Without treatment, those suffering die at a rate of 20%.
Truly, our connection to the number on the scale is synonymous with that of an unhealthy relationship. When one finds themselves in a relationship that no longer positively impacts their life, they know it is time to break it off.
So that is exactly what we should all do here as well; it is time to break up with your scale.
It is time to break up with calorie counting and diets. It is time to break up with tape measures and BMI charts. If your doctor confirms that you are healthy, your weight should be none of your (or anyone else’s) concern.
While we are all responsible for our health and wellbeing, this is an issue much larger than the individual.
Diet culture and body shaming are huge societal issues. As much as we do not want to admit it, many of us contribute to the continuation of negative talk and thought that lead us to think of our bodies as a reflection of our value.
We can all do our part to promote a more positive way of thinking about weight and image. Whether it be ridding ourselves of unhealthy behaviors, getting help when we find ourselves teetering on the edge of mental illness, or being a source of support to those around us, it is on all of us to build a better, more body-positive world.
Caroline is an undergraduate student at Worcester State University. When she is not writing, she also runs a photography business specializing in portrait, wedding, and boudoir photography. She aims to use both writing and photography to empower women and encourage them to find their inner voice and confidence.