Food is a part of various cultures. Arabs for example, many life events, and celebrations revolve around food. It is a way to share love, sadness, happiness, celebration, etc. Whatever the emotion is, there has got to be food to go with it.

“We often relate food to emotions”

– Sally Moussa

The Trauma Resulting from Food Culture in The Middle East

The food culture in the middle east is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we are taught that food is beautiful, that it is a reward. On the other hand, we are shamed for it, for the food choices, and for when the weight shows.

It is important to look at the relationship of our bodies with food. At the end of the day, food is an instrument, an inanimate object you consume to give you energy. The way we consume, and the way food affects us has got everything to do with our intention and how we use it.

Therefore, one must revisit their relationship with food, understand how they are using that food, whether to cope with life or as a mere tool to gain energy. We reached a point where we have put labels on food and decided which are good and which are bad. In a way, this behavior demonizes food and makes it our biggest enemy. This type of mentality is damaging to our relationship with food and our bodies and inevitably our mental health.

Understanding Your Body’s Needs

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, and looking a certain way, so long as it makes you happy. But it is important to understand that weight has got nothing to do with calories. How much you weigh and how you feel about your body has nothing to do with the number of calories you are taking in.

We must develop the right mindset and approach our bodies in a correct and healthy manner. There is no element in any diet plan that dictates tracking your personal development, feelings, and hormones. Understanding every part of your body is the only way you can achieve your weight goals, besides the right exercising. There is a massive mental health aspect that needs to be present in order for the “diet” and “weight loss” plans to work.

Media And the Pressure to Look Perfect

There are standardized societal norms on body image. Celebrities are often praised for having a perfect body and maintaining a certain image at a certain age. Oftentimes, celebrities are portrayed as flawless, with beautiful skin, and are given a certain weight and are paraded around the media for having what they call “the perfect look.”

Moreover, the existence of Instagram filters, for example, set high standards for how someone should look, neglecting the blemishes, and imperfections someone could have.

Real beauty is true beauty. You do not have to be skinny, with a face full of make-up and clear skin to be beautiful. Beauty is subjective, and no one can impose their standards on you. Everybody is beautiful in their own way. Being conscious of the information you take in from social media is important for self-awareness and appreciation.

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