Body Image Issues, or Diet Culture Broke Our Brains

Body Image Issues, or Diet Culture Broke Our Brains

May 13, 2024Dana Chadwell

There is a big part of my brain that was formed in the 80’s and 90’s during peak “Diet Culture.” I went to Weight Watchers for the first time when I was 15, and I don’t really ever remember a time since then that I wasn’t either on a diet or filled with self-loathing that I WASN’T on a diet.  My natural physique is short and thick, but the trendy looks throughout my life have been anything but.  The “Perfect 10,” “Model Thin,” “Heroin Chic,” and even today’s “snatched BBL” looks have never been looks I could starve myself into.  

I learned many years ago that what I could be was healthy and athletic.  I love the gym, I love playing sports, I love being outside and hiking or just walking. That’s what I can do. I can eat healthy and stay active and get sunshine and accept that my body has carried me through so many hard times. My body doesn’t deserve to be starved into submission. I deserve to be nourished and healthy and to get nice treats. (Do I work out every day? Do I eat healthy always? Nope, and that’s fine. Life has seasons!)

Your body deserves the same.

What does this have to do with knitting and crocheting? 

The most common fit mistake I see knitters and crocheters make is body image related, not skill related.  We make things too big.  We look in the mirror and we see ourselves as larger than we are. We think that if we make the garment to our real size, it will be too small.  It won’t hide our flaws.  People will be able to see our “real” size, and we can’t EVER let anybody see the truth about our bodies.

But we’re wrong.  Most of my customers don’t even know their true bust measurement. They just guess at that key measurement and they overshoot the mark by A LOT.  I do this ALL THE TIME, and I know I'm doing it and I still do it, so don't be like me.

One service I happily provide (or force upon) so many of my students and customers is taking measurements. Once you know your actual numbers, you can decide on which size is actually the correct one. 

And when you start knitting and crocheting sweaters to that real size, it helps change your relationship with your body.  Is it going to erase decades of diet culture? Probably not.  But once you start making garments that fit, you’ll start seeing that they also flatter, and that your body actually looks nice when you dress it in truth instead of shame. 

So please, before you knit or crochet your next sweater or top, let us measure you and help you choose a size that fits. Try it once, and give your body a break.  You’re beautiful the way you are, and that body deserves to be celebrated for all it has carried you through. 


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