We are continually bombarded with messages of health and wellness from our Diet Culture. Open any social media platform, and you'll see it instantly. Message after message from the "health" focused diet industry finds it's way into our feeds all the time.
Weight loss. Clean eating. Cleansing. Keto. Paleo. Restriction.
The pursuit of thinness. Before and after photos.
I see it all the time in my feed, and honestly, I'm sick of it.
Diet Culture thrives off our insecurities and wants us to believe that their products are the only way to attain health and the perfect weight. Companies disguise diets as healthy, but in reality, are serving up messages that only focus on a specific body type and preach about numbers on a scale.
It's the same garbage that's been shared for centuries. Yes, Diet Culture is nothing new, and unfortunately, we are still stuck with these messages in modern culture. Anti-Diet Dietitian Christy Harrison has studied the roots of Diet Culture. She shares her findings in one of our favourite books, Anti Diet.
Ancient Greeks saw fatness as morally wrong. "This was because of the belief system that ancient Greeks had about balance and moderation and all things being seen as a virtue," Christy says. "So fatness was seen as an imbalance to be 'corrected.'"
For thousands of years, those with more body fat have been deemed inferior and shunned in many cultures. Fatness continues to be looked down upon, and the diet industry has pressed forward the notion that a body must look a certain way. They have woven the story of how bad fat is through our culture so deep, it affects almost every facet of our lives.
So what exactly is Diet Culture?
Put simply, Diet Culture perpetuates the thought that the shape of your body or the number on a scale deems worth. It presents itself as wanting the best for your 'health' while focusing on restrictive behaviours to attain a particular body shape or size.
✅ Reducing carbohydrates
✅ Calorie counting, insisting on low-calorie options
✅ Controlling portions
✅ Eating 'smaller plates'
✅ Talking good versus bad food
✅ Sharing before and after photos
✅ Devaluing body size ranges, idolizing smaller body sizes
✅ Removing food groups (Keto, Paleo, Whole 30, MLM)
✅ Restricting eating (intermittent fasting)
✅ Body cleanses
✅ Eating clean
So when we are continually seeing images and reading articles that promote Diet Culture, what can we do? Close our social media accounts? Stop following the news? Hide from the world?
None of those are rational solutions since Diet Culture is around our families and us in our daily lives. It lives in the conversations we have with one another and within ourselves too! Diet Culture is within us, so that is where the work must begin.
🍏 UNFOLLOW SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
We likely have a few accounts that we follow that show before and after photos, that talk of restricting certain foods or share never-ending photos of 'healthy' bodies. It's time to unfollow those accounts, my friend. Those images and captions feed the Diet Culture messages in your mind.
🌟 Instead, find accounts that uplift you, that make you feel grateful for yourself as a whole, not just because you're 'hustling' to get to a specific size. Unfollow, now. You'll thank us for this later!
🍏 STOP COUNTING
Weighing food, counting calories, and continuously stepping on the scale are all behaviours that must change. This is restrictive behaviour that tells you that you're 'bad' if you don't do a certain thing and 'good' if you control your food intake.
🌟 Switch the narrative, and start looking at food as an opportunity to nourish your body. Food is more than just calories or fuel for our bodies. Food is comfort; it brings us together in celebration and remembrance and it can make us feel satisfied. Weighing and counting calories assumes that we must ignore our natural desires to eat.
🍏 DITCH DIET TALK
The chatter that goes on in your head about food and the conversations you share with friends and family can continue the Diet Culture loop or stop it completely. As you work to ditching Diet Culture, you have to change the narrative in yourself and your social circles.
🌟 Let your friends and family know that you don't want to discuss weight, weight loss, or diets and make that boundary clear. Tell them things like "I'm wearing my fat pants" or "I'm going to need to run 10km tomorrow to work this meal off" are feeding into the Diet Culture narrative. The same goes for the talk in your head!
🍏 LIVE INSPIRED
Listen to non-diet related messages that uplift your life. There are many resources out there that are food-focused without the side of Diet Culture junk. Podcasts, blogs, social media accounts, websites, and apps centred around Intuitive Eating can inspire and ease you away from Diet Culture chatter.
As you reject Diet Culture's effect on your life, always remember: Your value as a person does not come from the number on the scale or what size of clothing you wear. You are so much more!
Our Dietitian's All-Foods-Fit approach to nutrition can support you as you work by reframing your outlook on food's role in your life. You can move away from Diet Culture, and we're here to help you with that!