One of the values of peer support and mental health recovery is cultural sensitivity and diversity. An important form of diversity that often goes overlooked is body size diversity. In order for the recovery movement to be social justice aligned, it needs to be aligned with anti-diet, pro size equality values. Size equality is defined as the absence of discrimination and bias on the basis of size, shape, and weight, as well as the recognition of sizeism as a form of systemic oppression that needs to be addressed. Diet culture, which goes hand in hand with sizeism, is the idealization of thinness as equivalent to health, wellness, and self-discipline, and the promotion of restricting food intake and exercising in order to become thinner. Anti-diet and size equality values recognize that an individual’s weight does not determine their health, nor is it indicative of what food or exercise choices they may make.
It is also important to recognize that diet culture and sizeism are rooted in patriarchal and white supremacist ideologies. Dismantling harmful beliefs about food and weight is a crucial component of combating racism and sexism. In addition, this is necessary for making the movement a safer and more welcoming space for those who struggle with eating disorders and disordered eating.
Click here for an article written by eating disorder recovery advocates and body liberation advocates on some ways that the peer support and mental health recovery movement can be more aligned with anti-diet and size equality values.