When anyone mentions the word “diet,” feelings of dread and distaste are often conjured up. But what if that nasty word weren’t used to described a food plan? What if it were used instead to identify an alternative to self criticism and reproach? Our lives are inundated with messages that attack our self worth. Every time we turn around we are told that we don’t measure up. Whether it’s our financial assets, our retirement plans, our decorating blunders, our education, all aspects of our lives are open to comment. It takes a strong constitution to feel good about oneself given the critical climate we live in. That’s why I propose the following: Start by focusing on one area of your life. For instance start with a positive body image. And go on a diet lean in criticism, rich in self respect.
We can practice a diet of positive thinking, a diet free of self-loathing and harsh judgments. We have a wonderful opportunity to live a life in which we experience our own beauty from the inside out. We can abstain from the general consensus in our society that the 14-plus crowd are second rate citizens. We’re rarely given a break from being reminded, time and again, that anything larger than a size six is unacceptable. With the assistance of non diet, non-deprivation philosophies we can cut out that ideology from our thinking. We can go on the personal growth diet. Rather than counting calories, we can count how many individual traits of which we are proud. Food diaries can be replaced by journals of our thoughts and feelings. Or, if preferred, we can affirm our intrinsic value as unique human beings. The possibilities are endless. Rather than repeat an all too common theme on how much we hate our bodies, we can go in many different directions by placing pride in our accomplishments. If it’s hard to begin, then just think of everything you’ve been through to get to this point in your life.
Since nobody really looks like the women in advertisements and commercials, including the models themselves, we might as well set a new standard of beauty based on real-life women. We’ve already made great strides, and will continue to do so in every venue from malls to the media. By living our lives with joy, and comfortably speaking up for ourselves, we have a wonderful chance to be heard. By celebrating diversity, and promoting individuality, we are reclaiming ourselves.
The next time someone mentions a diet to you, you can tell them you’re already on a diet, a diet which renounces anything less than self-acceptance.