Time to ‘break free’ of diet culture

People should look beyond the physical appearance; everyone should enjoy life’s experiences



Pettit advises people to eat healthy meals and avoid the scale. She also practices Zen, mindfulness and meditation for her mental health.


The weather is nicer, and the heat has started to come around — it’s that time of year again! Summer! I, for one, always love the warmth of summer and all of the enjoyable memories that come with it — whether that’s swimming, going for nice walks, camping, there’s always so much to do.

However, with the warm weather comes the need to change our wardrobe into comfortable clothing. With the constant quarantining because of COVID-19, many have found that they have gained weight or are no longer the same body size as before.

We have changed, which is a very normal reaction. Coming to this conclusion can create some discomfort and fear for many women, especially while we wear clothing that may show curves more than others.

I would love to remind all readers of the simple rule that we learn as early as preschool: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Let us be aware and mindful of making a comfortable and safe environment wherever we go by not commenting on things such as people’s weight if they look “too big” for something, stretch marks, scars or anything else.

Find the positive in people and look further than the shallow views that have been conditioned into our mindset from before entering double digits. That body belongs to a person, a person with a lovely radiant smile, or a person that has so much joy, or simply a person that is going through many hidden issues at the moment. Be a light in the world and share your positive — not harmful — words.

In reality, someone’s weight or appearance is nobody’s business besides their own. Plus-sized people are just as entitled as everyone else to enjoy their summer without worrying about “a bikini body” (which isn’t real, any body is a bikini body!) or being so caught up trying to lose weight that they forget to enjoy what’s around them.

As a plus-sized woman, hearing about others bragging or talking about diet culture is very uncomfortable for me, as for many others as well. It is something that should be avoided, simply because there is so much more to value in life than appearances and weight! Breaking free of the obsessive thought process in diet culture is difficult, but once you start the path to recovery, everything is so much more enjoyable.

We can spend more time enjoying a nice swim on a hot day without worrying about not eating first so we do not look “too fat” in a bathing suit. We can enjoy warm s’mores without obsessing over the calories to be found in them. We truly get the time to stop and enjoy the flowers without a harmful discouraging voice consuming our thoughts. We can be fully present and practice mindfulness in whatever activity it is without having the nagging pressure from society’s voice in the back of our heads.

The way that I practice my health is through eating healthy complete meals and not stepping on the scale. I practice Zen, mindfulness and meditation for my mental health, which has completely changed my outlook on myself and the world we live in. I have learned to be more loving and less judgmental.

This is an invitation to you, the reader, to free yourself of society’s voices and pressures to look into a self-compassionate way of healing. To stop criticizing yourself or others based on shallow views. There is so much more to life than how others perceive you! Health is more than just a boring size or weight.