There's a lot of talk about reinventing ourselves at this time of year. Or fixing ourselves if we're going to be honest. There's always room for improvement, but we all tend to think of ourselves as walking disasters that need to be whipped into shape. And then we wonder why resolutions don't work.
Instead, let's stop beating ourselves up. Great concept, but how do we do it? This past weekend, Danielle shared an article on Facebook and it contains some life changing stuff. Yeah, I know. It sounds like too much to ask from one Buzzfeed article.
But when we change the way we talk about things, we change how we think about them. A few years back, I embraced a lot of these concepts and it really did change my life. When I stopped beating myself up, I had all this spare energy that I could then devote to being my best self at work and play.
Headings and quotes are from Please Stop Using These 16 Words To Describe Bodies, Diets, And Food.
So what are the 16 words?
1. Cheat Days
Ugh. Cheating on a test or on your spouse is morally wrong and has far reaching effects. Cheating on a diet? Please.
"Food is good. You need to eat it to survive. There shouldn’t be certain days when certain foods are acceptable, which we then label with a negative word."
The experts Buzzfeed spoke to suggested that we not restrict food to the point that we simply have to cut loose.
2. Guilt Free Food
Food doesn't have an inherent moral value. Frozen yogurt is not more virtuous than ice cream.
3. Flat Belly
Time for an anatomy lesson - women don't have flat stomachs. Trying to make your belly flat is as silly and futile as me trying to become taller.
Diet is supposed to be a neutral word for whatever you eat. But in practice,
"it implies a temporary and often extreme approach that’s about deprivation and under-nourishing your body"
You may need to stick to a restrictive diet because of allergies, celiac, Crohn's Disease, etc. But that's about protecting your body from something harmful instead of trying to transform it.
5. Muffin Top
If you have a muffin top, your pants are too tight. It's not a reflection on someone's attractiveness. It's as uncomfortable as it feels. Stop worrying about size tags and encourage your best and dearest to do the same.
Talk about extreme deprivation.
“Our body has organs such as the kidneys and liver that naturally take care of getting rid of toxins on their own...We do not need to follow a detox diet or fall for a detox/cleanse product!"
7. Love Handles
Like muffin top, this term is derogatory. Having a little extra fat around the middle is human. Insulting that body part is just mean.
8. Fat Burning
There is no food or pill in the world that can target stored fat. Stop perpetuating harmful myths like this.
9. Low Carb
The implication here is that carbohydrates are unhealthy in some way.
"For lots of people, carbs make up most of the calories in their (totally healthy and OK) diets. Too often, people say they are “cutting out carbs,” but don’t even realize that some of the most nutritious foods in the world are technically carbs."
Fruits and veggies are carbs. "Low carb" has become just another way of describing a restrictive, unsustainable way of eating.
10. Moobs & 11. Bat Wings
These are incredibly insulting terms. Moobs (man boobs) insults a man by saying his body is like a woman's, which is inferior for some reason. Nobody comes out of that one un-insulted.
Bat wings makes it sounds like a person is less than human because they have some loose skin on their upper arms.
12. Thigh Gap
The only way to achieve a thigh gap (besides Photoshop) is to be born with wide-set hips. It has absolutely nothing to do with physical fitness, and it's rare enough that it shouldn't even be a thing.
When we deny that most people's thighs touch and rub, we ignore the reality of chafing. Which leads to painfully chapped inner thighs that could've been easily prevented.
Failing to reach or maintain an arbitrarily selected goal weight doesn't mean you're weak willed. The human body is designed to survive famine.
"In short, starving yourself seems to make your body mad and it’s going to fight for every bit of energy it’s ever stored. The body doesn’t give a damn about your “willpower.”"
Stop blaming yourself and trying to force your body to do something it's not made to do.
14. Beach Body &15. Bikini Body
These terms imply that some bodies are unworthy of being seen in public in a relative state of undress. So we're expected to take extreme steps to make our bodies acceptable for public viewing.
Let's stop doing this to ourselves and stop judging others for their choice of swimwear.
Ankles? Really? Why do we say rude things about thick ankles?
It may take some effort to banish these words from your vocabulary, but it's worth it. When you're kinder and more realistic in your language, your thinking will follow.