It took me 43 years to Hit Diet Bottom and finally realize that there had never been anything wrong with my body. I have wished many times that it didn’t take me that long. Through social media, I follow many women and men in their 20s and 30s who found out a lot earlier than I did and I envy the time they have given themselves to live fully in their power. When I see teenagers embracing their bodies and saying “Fuck You” to Diet Culture, I feel hopeful and excited for their futures.
The older a person is when they Hit Diet Bottom, the harder it might be to leave Diet Culture and Dieting behind. The older we are, the longer we have been living in Diet Culture’s lies as if they are the truth. Leaving Diet Culture is very much like leaving a cult – EXCEPT the cult lives all the way around you so you never actually escape. You have to learn to live physically inside the cult while refusing to believe their lies anymore. But if we’ve already bought into that cult’s bullshit for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70+ years, the more difficult it will be to see it for what it is. Many older people will NEVER be free of Diet Culture for this reason. They have been too inundated for too long.
On the other hand, the older a person is the more likely it is that they have experienced weight cycling and the lie of weight loss first hand maybe many times. They have gone on restrictive diet after restrictive diet, lost the weight only to regain it back again and again and again – oftentimes, with more and more interest. The first several times, they believed the lie that THEY had failed but the more the pattern repeated itself, the more they had to admit that perhaps this was a failure of the system itself and NOT them. So, with this experience and the willingness to learn something new, an older person might have even more motivation to seek Body Liberation and to stop Dieting.
Similarly, a young person might not have been living with Diet Culture’s bullshit long enough to be fed up with it. They might be young enough to still be susceptible to the peer pressure of Diet Culture and the hope that when they just get that perfect body, all their dreams will come true and all of their problems will go away. That is the promise that Diet Culture gives young people. It’s a promise that is easier to see for the lie that it is the older and more experienced you are.
Whatever your age, it is never too early or too late to seek Body Liberation. Everyone deserves freedom from the prison of Diet Culture. The sooner you get that freedom, the more life you have left to enjoy it!
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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.