Diet Mentality and Racism

Photo by Tim Samuel on

Dear Soft Hearted Loved Ones,

The incredible book by Sabrina Strings called “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia”* discusses the history of what’s been fed to us as supposed beauty. This has hands down been one of the most eye opening books. As someone who drew lines on her body to indicate where she wanted the fat removed and someone who pined after the thin but also simultaneously magically curvy ideal, I am mind blown by the fact that all of this has been fed to me since before Renaissance Times in one format or another. This is intergenerational, racist programming that we can reprogram for ourselves.

Sabrina Strings explained how “two critical historical developments contributed to a fetish for svelteness and a phobia about fatness: the rise of the transatlantic slave trade and the spread of Protestantism.” Deciders of what is beautiful and healthy began centuries before we ever had racist BMIs, camera filters, and diets. People fear doctors appointments where they will be shoved propaganda that their bodies are to be shamed and the reason for their aches and pains. Really, based on what? Racist research rooted in racist body ideals created centuries ago?

I get it. I get that when I am active and eat intuitively I feel awake and vibrant. I feel me and okay to be! This is the space I now pine over. However, we obsess over dieting. We hear it in the break room, on medias, and it taunts us in conversations with friends. If we keep shaming people into eating and looking a certain way we will keep damaging bodies and spirits. The diet mentality of America has us looking at incredible figures losing weight as a morality marker. So eating more or being in a bigger body means we are less moral? How can we expect anyone to have clarity around these confusing messages?

I’m not promoting any type of body. I’m promoting awareness of the damage we’ve done to bodies and spirits. Sending you love and kindness to your sweet, hard working, curious body in this moment. May we all take a moment to question our understanding of diet mentality, beauty, and bodies today.

With kindness,

Dr. J

To buy this book: 


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