These Latina Celebs And Foodies Want You To Know Why They’re Never Dieting Again
My mom is Latina and I cannot remember a day in my life that she wasn’t on a diet. Some of them were mainstream, like Atkins and Weight Watchers, and others were just drinking a single, basic soup recipe for months, not eating bread, not eating fruit, and so on. Many of us know what it’s like to grow up watching our mothers try to make themselves smaller. Many of us, including Latina superstars Camila Mendes, Jessica Alba, and Demi Lovato, went on to develop eating disorders and some serious body dysmorphia. Here’s how they are trying to change that.
So I have questions. Did our moms grow up with coming home from school to hear, “tan flaca, come mija” and then wake up to, “dale, gordita”?
Or did they just adapt within two cultures: one that celebrates un plato lleno, and another that celebrates flaca-ness? We’ve inherited the same beautiful assortment of Latina bods but we don’t have to inherit the diet culture. It’ll take some courage and vigilance to uproot our self worth from our bodies and replant into a place of inherent birthright (especially when everyone and their mother’s need to comment on your appearance), but si se puede.
1. Demi Lovato reminds us that #DietCulture dies here with us, because we have a different model of health.
Health is not about thigh gaps, small waists, or the perfect curves. Health looks like loving the one body you have, and the generations of women and men before you who thrived and passed this gift onto us. Lovato has been one of the most honest and open celebrities about their recovery, and she reminds me that recovery isn’t perfect. Sometimes we look in the mirror and self-criticize on default. It’s OK that it takes work to undo the harmful messages we’ve internalized over the years. We get to choose what kinds of role models we have. #TeamLovato #ByeKardashionPops
2. Camila Mendes: “I’m done believing in the idea that there’s a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort. “
Camila Mendes admits that playing the mini-skirt clad Veronica Lodge on Riverdale has challenged her eating disorder recovery and made her stronger.
She’s also a huge advocate of sharing only an honest public image and even went to war with Cosmopolitan Philippines for photoshopping her waist line to be smaller than it is.
Her costar, Lili Reinhart, wrote an impassioned Instagram post about the issue near and dear to both their hearts, “Camila and I have worked incredibly hard to feel confident and comfortable in the bodies that we have. It’s an everyday battle, sometimes. And to see our bodies become so distorted in an editing process is a perfect example of the obstacles we have yet to overcome.”
Mendes also opened up about her experience with eating disorder recovery in the most healing detail we could hope for that sparked a #donewithdieting movement.
It’s all about loving yourself as you are and finding a healthy way to maintain a healthy life.
3. Jessica Alba: “with treatment I have now conquered the fear that drove me to become dangerously thin.”
While training for a role in 1999, Alba became obsessed with exercise and weight loss. The Mexicana star told Glamour magazine, “I got obsessed with it. When I went from a girl’s body to a woman’s body with natural fat in places, I freaked out.” Now she’s successfully founded The Honest Company, which focuses on natural beauty and products that improve physical health, not a perceived appearance of it.
4. Naya Rivera, “One day I just decided to see how long I could go without eating.”
It wasn’t until Rivera started writing her autobiography, Sorry Not Sorry, did she realize how severe her eating disorder as a teenager truly was. “I was so young and it just seemed to be the norm. Everyone was going through similar stuff,” she tells PEOPLE. “I had no way of knowing if I was going through it worse. I was juggling my feelings and it makes me sad that there are girls still going through that 15 years after I went through it.”
She also says, “By the time I was a sophomore, I had started feeling that what had begun as a game had maybe gone too far. I just avoided food at all costs.”
5. Rocsi Diaz reminds us that the mental illness is driven by who we see in magazines.
Correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, Rosci Diaz suffered from anorexia in high school while on the cheerleading team. She told ET “I was obsessed with looking at the magazines and seeing how I can get skinnier. I would look at girls like Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton and I saw how skinny they were and I thought that was the norm.”
Don’t fear, food bloggers are here!
Boricua, Desiree Rodriguez, a.k.a. Rican Vegan, is the guapa to follow. She even has a 7-day meal plan for anyone just starting out on a plant-based diet, and you won’t be eating a bunch of salads. Find Puerto Rican flag color cherry and coconut ice cream bars, non-dairy coquito and all the ‘pork’-based recipes for the boricua in you.
Looking for packable lunch recipes?
Latina mom, Laure Fuentes, is all about creating healthy lunches for her kids (and her self). The key? Find someone who isn’t worked up about the calories in the food, or any kind of diet restriction at all, really. Only restriction here is lunch better be pretty. 🙂
Find yourself a food blogger who inspires you to be the best version of yourself.
Because our worth is so much more than our bodies. Plus, thigh gaps are a total colonization of the non-white body, and we need to surround ourselves with people who see how body obsession as an installment of the patriarchy to distract us from wage gaps.
Plus, we celebrate Equal Pay Day on April 10, but that’s just the symbolic day for how far into the year white women must work to earn what men earned in the last year. For Latina’s, that day is November 2nd. I could go on, but let’s reign it in.
So here’s all of our medicine: do the self work to pass on healthy body images to all the niños in your life.
1. Fill up your feed with bopo warriors like @thisisjessicatorres and @projectheal.
Torres, by the way, is a freakin’ fashion icon and deserving of all your likes. I want every single outfit she wears.
2. Read from authors who self-define as “fat fly.”
i.e. Read Yesika Salgado’s book of poetry that celebrates our bodies, our culture, and our strength through all the heartbreaks. Her work will heal you and her Twitter handle, @YesikaStarr, will light a fire in you on the daily.
3. Throw away your scale.
If the number on the scale determines your self worth, liberate yourself and throw it away and trust yourself to know intuitively what health looks like for you. That could mean eating foods that make you feel more energized, have fewer cravings, help you sleep better and feel healthy.
4. Get the therapy you need.
We’ve been told all of our lives how to look and it might require professional help. Seriously. All the palo santo, sage and seances in your house won’t do it.
5. Eat and be happy. 🙂
Nourish that body that has taken you so far in life with a healthy plato of carne asada, nopales and plenty of warm tortillas.
6. Thank yourself for loving yourself, and rewatch Real Women Have Curves.
We want to hear from you! What other recovery tools have you used on your journey? Comment below with tips, books, IGs, and whatever words of wisdom you have to offer.