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The other day I was chatting with my Filipina colleagues, and we were discussing the increased levels of anxiety when getting together during family events. Body shaming in our culture has become normalized that we anticipate it in family gatherings. When we ask our elders why does our culture body shame? They respond with, "That's just the way it's always been." Because Filipinx has been colonized for almost 400 years, generations have been taught that our culture is inferior compared to our colonizers.
David and Nadal (2013), Filipinx American Psychologists, have discussed this phenomenon as the colonial mentality, "a form of internalized oppression that conditions colonized people to believe that their ethnic or cultural identity is inferior to Western culture or whiteness."
Because of this inferior thinking among the Filipinx American community, diet culture has become our way of living.
Diet culture in the United States is "pervasive norms that emphasize thinness, control, and restriction around eating and exercise behaviors, and the moralization of how food plays a significant role in contributing to body dissatisfaction" (Faw et al., 2021).
Why does this matter?
Body dissatisfaction is associated with a host of negative health outcomes, such as increased risks of depression and anxiety and lower levels of self-esteem.
An 8-week program to break free from cultural system beliefs and standards on body image, reconnect with your body, make peace with food, and refocus on what really matters.
The program approach is to collaboratively work with individuals and meet them where they are on their health journey. I do not believe in prescribing fad diets and falling into a diet culture approach because I have found there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I am focused on partnering with each individual to build body trust, respect, and compassion for ourselves. This approach creates a more peaceful and joyous food
relationship because being ‘body shamed’ or feeling ‘guilty’ about food is never fun.
The goal is to support individuals in making peace with food and their bodies by bringing awareness of how foods contribute to the way they feel, understanding their cultural beliefs about food and body image, and honoring the realities of life. This journey will give you agency in taking your power back, understand that health comes in all sizes, and liberate yourself from years of dieting.
It is estimated that about 84% of women in the United States are unhappy with their body image and have a desire change their bodies. This unhappiness can negatively impact mental health and can increase negative feelings of self-worth. Diet Culture is a "system of beliefs that equates thinness to health and moral virtue" (Faw et al., 2021). Having personally gone through body shaming experiences, I am passionate about changing this narrative, helping Filipinx American women redefine what health means to them so that they refocus on what really matters.
Are you ready?
David, E. J. R., & Nadal, K. L. (2013). The colonial context of Filipino American immigrants' psychological experiences. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19(3), 298-309.
Faw, M. H., Davidson, K., Hogan, L., & Thomas, K. (2021). Corumination, diet culture, intuitive eating, and body dissatisfaction among young adult women. Personal Relationships, 28(2), 406-426.