A Heavy Weight


It boggles my mind that in a day and age when women are supposedly more empowered than ever, we are still convinced that the one thing we cannot do is make wise, rational decisions about what to put into our mouths.

I’m convinced that diet culture is just society’s way of keeping us quiet and tying us down. Because guess what?

Hungry people are not threatening.

Malnourished people are not strong.

People who are so engrossed in fear of gaining weight don’t have the mental capacity it takes to put up a good fight.

People who are so preoccupied with their appearance are less likely to take center stage.

People who are obsessed with measuring calories, and dress sizes, and weight just don’t have as much time or energy to think about important things…let alone do them.

If a woman can be a CEO, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a general, a pilot, a president…you better believe she’s capable of deciding whether or not she wants cream and sugar in her coffee.

I’m looking at you OA sponsors, WeightWatchers, self-proclaimed #healthcoaches. I’m looking at you Atkins, Beachbody, Keto, SouthBeach, paleo, Medifast, “cleanse”, or whatever you call yourself today.

You “empower” her by telling her she can succeed, but only after you convince her that she is a failure.

That’s not empowerment.

That’s subjugation.

That’s oppression

That’s slavery.

That’s codependence at its worst.

It is that insidious message that has her convinced that her success is measured in pounds lost.

It forces her to lose sight of all of her other successes and goals.

You’ve put her on a pedestal of your own creation, and thereby kept her from aspiring to be anything more than what you want her to be.

You know how powerful her will is, so you’ve hijacked it.

All of it.

And focused it on one goal: the ever-elusive pursuit of thinness.

(Where would the world be if just a fraction of that raw energy was diverted to any other purpose?)

You swore to bring her to the promised land: health, happiness, confidence, fulfillment.

But you knowingly drag her on the endless path of deprivation and impoverishment through the desert.

You capitalize on both her strength and her fear.

You maintain a delicate, calculated balance between her determination and her hopelessness.

But you can’t have it both ways.

One day she will wake up to her captivity.

She will remember that she is not powerless, as you had her believe for so long.

She will rediscover her strength and rechannel her determination.

She will learn to trust herself again–her own intellect and intuition–and realize that her loved ones had faith in her all along.

She will no longer look to you for validation or encouragement.

She will not ask your permission or seek your approval.

She will shed your narrow standards of beauty and success; outgrow the skin you forced her to wear.

And then…

Then she will fly.

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Gigi Bergman is a full-time mom to three boys and part-time Hebrew school teacher. She loves open conversations about taboo topics, dark chocolate, and anything with peanut butter. She enjoys weather between 67-73 degrees, reading, and crocheting. Gigi grew up in the outskirts of Chicago and currently resides in Seattle.