A little bit about me – I’m Evie, a 23 year old Mancunian who loves pies as much as you’d expect. I’ve spend the last few years moving around Australia with my boyfriend, travelling to beautiful places, working on blueberry farms, cigar bars and ice cream stands and swimming in the ocean at every opportunity.
I flew to the other side of the world four days after finishing my Psychology degree in May 2017. At the time I was struggling with depression and disordered eating, as well as working tirelessly on my final assignments. To me, moving was a fresh start – a chance to reset my life away from the stress I’d been experiencing. I didn’t think twice.
Early on, two things challenged me. Firstly, going into a mild panic in the supermarket upon discovering that Aussies measure in kilojoules, meaning I had to do a whole shop without knowing the calorie content of my items. Secondly, not having a scale and therefore having no idea of how I should feel about my body.
Obviously these issues are easily rectified – I could look up the conversion amounts and buy a scale – but the disruption to my usual routines made me think. I felt lost without having a number by which I could judge my food and my body, but what did those numbers do for me? More often than not, they brought guilt. Guilt for wanting ‘bad’ food, for exceeding serving suggestions, for gaining any increment of weight in the morning. I’d hoped that one day I’d feel good about those numbers but so far they only gave a reason to criticise myself every day.
I realised that I’d spent years of my life letting these measurements tell me how to feel. I never converted the kilojoules or bought the scale. I decided that this was the time to prioritise my mental wellbeing instead. To nourish, listen to and appreciate my body. To stop scalding myself every day for having normal human needs. To address that this obsession with these measurements was doing nothing but hold me back.
The reality of this hasn’t been as clean cut as I expected. Pressure is everywhere, and it requires continuous strength and effort to reject the ideals of what you ‘should’ be or do. Reading other peoples’ experiences and seeking out research evidence has helped me through my scepticism. Now that I’m a confident diet culture drop-out, I’ll be sharing my discoveries in the hope that I can inspire you to put your mind over these measurements, too.