Depose the Diet Demigod

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Image - Depose the Diet Demigod

Credit: Rachel Zack (2008) [CC BY]

Have you ever felt guilty while ogling a piece of chocolate cake – or your empty plate of cake crumbs? Perhaps your vice is potato chips? Did you ever think you could redeem yourself with a few extra laps around the block?

It has become common to use sin-and-salvation terminology when talking about food. We’ve all heard this kind of language before – whether in a magazine, a website, or a talk show. The reality is that we have made food into an enemy. Eating, a God-given activity for the preservation of life, has become a path to shame. A mentality of restriction has made us desire food all the more. But this reaction is natural – like the urge to gasp after having one’s oxygen restricted.

We don’t have an oxygen toxicity epidemic because breathing is not an issue. We have an obesity epidemic because apparently eating is.

Now, perhaps you have joined the crusade for healthy body image. Perhaps you do not even own a scale. Perhaps your sisters and daughters care more about which ice cream flavor tastes best than which has the lowest calories. If so, bravo! But I am calling for an even more extensive revolution – one in which we remove the morals from the experience of eating entirely.

It’s time to depose the diet demigod. It’s time to glorify the Most High rather than the Low-Fat. Restore order by putting food in its natural place, and your weight will find its natural place as an outcome. Discourage the use of moral language in the context of food or eating. Teach your daughters that chocolate cake is not “sinful,” nor is broccoli “righteous.” (These foods simply have different nutritional values!) Purge your home of diet books and magazines and maybe even Dr Oz. I’m serious. If you want your daughters to grow up truly healthy and free, this is the way to do it. Say grace before meals. Cook and bake with your family. Go strawberry picking. And above all, focus on counting your blessings, not your calories.

What are some ways that you challenge Diet Culture in your home?

Copyright 2014 Sarah Blake

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8 Comments

  1. It’s time to glorify the Most High rather than the Low-Fat.

    THAT just might be the best thing I have ever read!!!!!! I want that on my fridge!

    This is awesome in so many ways and I just wish I had a piece of cheesecake to eat while reading it.

  2. I love you, Sarah!! I mean..I love this post…that you wrote.
    Yes, food – what we eat/don’t eat has become not only a “demigod” but almost a religion. And there are many strict rules to follow if you want to belong. Thank you for reminding us that what we eat doesn’t necessarily determine the health of our soul.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this! After years of anorexia in our home, we have thrown away the scale and try to teach that there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Too bad my girls’ schools preach “healthy” eating and have middle schoolers scrutinizing food labels and watching movies that have them terrified to eat at McDonalds.

    Yes, It’s time to glorify the Most High rather than the Low-Fat!

    • It’s definitely an uphill battle. Every young woman I know (myself included!) has questioned something she’s put into her mouth based on a fear of weight gain or body dysmorphia. Thank you for your valiant efforts in teaching your daughters what I call “normal eating!”

  4. Judith Logan Junop on

    Sarah, So well said. I will evangelize count your blessings not your calories. I love the line…Restore order by putting food in its natural place, and your weight will find its natural place as an outcome.
    Once a month is not enough to hear from your!!!!

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