Friend, the entire world is currently in a state of acute trauma. Now is not the time to pressure yourself to be productive. We are experiencing hardship. We are experiencing unprecedented (unless we survived WWII or the Great Depression) levels of stress. Productivity and growth do not usually happen in the midst of moments like this — unless that productivity is aimed at survival.
Diet Culture, including the fitness industry it has co-opted, is in a full-blown panic right now. Turns out, It can be more challenging to get people to give a shit about whittling their waistline during a global pandemic. And Diet Culture needs your attention because it needs your money!
It needs your money so much, that it is coming at you with thousands of advertisements a day — like a grand finale at a fireworks show! — to get you to jump on the diet train NOW! You have so much time on your hands. You can’t control the virus but you CAN control your food intake. You should be ashamed if you come out of this quarantine with less than a perfect body. You have no excuse NOT to workout and eat right! You could die from the virus if you don’t workout and eat right! These are Diet Culture’s messages. You can tell because they shame you, they should you, and they make you feel like you are not doing enough.
Friends, you are doing enough. If you are staying away from other people by taking recommendations for quarantine and physically distancing yourself from others, you are doing enough right now.
It’s true, there are about a billion at-home workout subscriptions and programs to choose from. And if engaging in these activities helps relieve some of your current stress or gives you a momentary retreat from the current state of things, then by all means, engage! But while you’re deciding which at-home movement option to try, you might want to consider how steeped in Diet Culture your choice is. Because the last thing any of us need at this moment are thinness-obsessed, weight-loss-focused divas shoulding on us in the midst of global trauma.
If you find movement and nutritious food choices help you weather this storm, that’s awesome. Just remember, because we are experiencing trauma, you may find your interest in these things is erratic. You may find it’s helpful some days and not on others. You may find previously disordered behavior around movement and food cropping back up. You might find untreated eating disorder trying to takeover your life. You might also find that you WANT to move and choose nutritious foods but you just can’t. In the midst of trauma, SURVIVAL is the only thing that matters. There is no “should.” There is no “not enough.” There is survival.
Despite what Diet Culture will tell you, you do not have to use this quarantine season to “get fit.” In fact, if you try to do this, your efforts will very likely be undermined by your body-mind’s need for coping and survival. So just be gentle with yourself. Move when you need or want to move, or don’t. Eat what your body-mind tells you to eat, or don’t. Rest. Cultivate compassion for yourself and others. And keep surviving.
is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer; an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor; a certified Yoga Teacher; a Certified Intuitive Eating Professional; and a degree-holding Health, Fitness Specialist. She lives in Frankfort, Michigan and owns Every. Body. Fitness and Yoga Studio.