Ditch 'Diet Culture' For Good

Friday, 24 January 2020

Changing your mindset when it comes to eating and your relationship with food can seem really daunting and difficult at first. There's so much flying around world wide web that tells us what we should and shouldn't do when it comes to diet and fitness and it can all get overwhelming and very confusing.

I'd like to add that I'm not a health professional in anyway, I'm not qualified to offer health or nutrition advice but I've spent a lot of time researching the benefits of ditching so-called 'diet culture' and would love to share my findings with you!

What is 'diet-culture'?

Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN is an outspoken leader in the non-diet, weight-inclusive movement is and her definition of ‘diet culture’ has been widely quoted and referenced. She says:
“Diet culture is a system of beliefs that:

  • Worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue, which means you can spend your whole life thinking you’re irreparably broken just because you don’t look like the impossibly thin “ideal.”
  • Promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, which means you feel compelled to spend a massive amount of time, energy, and money trying to shrink your body, even though the research is very clear that almost no one can sustain intentional weight loss for more than a few years.
  • Demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others, which means you’re forced to be hyper-vigilant about your eating, ashamed of making certain food choices, and distracted from your pleasure, your purpose, and your power.
  • Oppresses people who don’t match up with its supposed picture of “health,” which disproportionately harms women, femmes, trans folks, people in larger bodies, people of color, and people with disabilities, damaging both their mental and physical health.”
Diet culture can make the idea of just nourishing and looking after your body by eating ALL kinds of foods seem kind of crazy, out-there and impossible. That's because diet culture has convinced us we can't possibly be healthy in body and mind without SOME kind of restrictive diet or special tea that will do the trick for us.

That's where Diet Culture does us dirty. 

Where might you find 'Diet Culture'?

Below are some good examples of diet culture around the web that you might come across on a regular, even a daily basis and not even really assosicate or label as diet culture. Well, you will now!

  • Celebrities flogging ANYTHING that they claim helped them lose 2 stones in as many months
    • I've recently seen an ex Love-Island contestant sharing her weight loss results all over Instagram, dropping to a size 6 and what came hand-in-hand with it? The weight-loss programme she created in order to do it! It's SO important to remember there's not one size that fits all when it comes to what you eat and how you exercise so there's no way that they can guarantee you'll have the exact same results and there's no reason why you should have to either! 
  • Foods that claim to be 'guilt free' or perfect for 'cheat days'. 
    • Guilt isn't an ingredient in any food. All food is guilt-free and labelling food as such simply leads to us making connections with food and creating unhealthy relationships with certain foods. The other end of the spectrum is 'cheat days'. If you start to feel like you're cheating on yourself then you'll be overwhelmed with negative feelings towards certain foods which can easily lead to more disordered types of eating.

How to Recognise Diet Culture & Ditch It For Good

Luckily, there are plenty of ways we can tailor our lives to ensure we're not plagued by diet culture and to help us live our best and healthiest lives! 
  • Be Kind To Yourself
    • Only use words to yourself that you'd say to someone else. Would you outwardly punish a friend for having a slice of cake at work when it's someone's birthday? Or grabbing a cheeky McDonalds on your way home from an evening out? No, so don't do it to yourself. Be kind. 
  • De-Clutter Social Media
    • Something huge that's helped me is keeping on top of my social media feeds. Even I follow someone at 3pm and by 3:15pm I've seen something from their feed which doesn't make me feel positive or inspired then I'll unfollow them straight away again. Go through accounts and people you follow and unfollow any that make you feel like you're not doing enough or ones who share diet culture (some celebs can be huge culprits of this as it makes them a few bob!).
  • Educate Yourself
    • Last week I shared four Health & Wellness podcasts which i'm currently listening to and loving at the moment and I love them so much because they're full of interesting, educational facts from registered professionals across the health industry. When you begin to learn more about health, nutrition and a healthy diet you'll start to easily see through the amount of bullsh*t there is on the internet. 

As I've mentioned previously, I'm not a professional and can't advise on what you should be eating and how you should be exercising but Diet Culture affects all of us negatively, there's no two ways about that so if we can all learn to ditch it and start loving ourselves despite what the internet might want us to think then that's a win!

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