Diet culture promotes unhealthy eating habits and unhealthy beauty standards. With advice like “fast weight loss tips” to “foods to cut out of your diet”, we harm our metabolism, relationship with food and self-confidence. Not to mention we also increase mental health and eating disorder problems.
What Is Diet Culture?
“Diet culture” refers to a set of beliefs that values being skinny over being healthy, appearance and body shape above health and mental well-being. The concept also normalizes starving ourselves with restricting calories, it normalizes negative self-talk, and labels certain foods and cooking styles as “good” and “bad”.
How Did Diet Culture Start?
While social media and the internet have made our access to toxic diet culture almost impossible to escape, diet culture has always been around. Dating as far back as we can find, certain body types were glorified and those that did not fit the mark were deemed unworthy, not beautiful and even unhealthy. The “Ideal” body size and shape has even changed over the centuries and decades meaning what was once ideal and healthy is suddenly not healthy. Despite what people do, fatness is seen as lazy and skinniness is seen as fit when both of these characteristics can occur in any size body.
What Is Diet Culture Like Today?
Juice cleanses, whole 30, intermittent fasting and Keto are all diets you have at least heard of, tried or are currently on. All these diets deny our bodies chemistry, hurt our metabolism, create an unrealistic view on food and cause us to rely on outsider rules and not our own bodies signals. No one knows your body more than you do!
Despite the studies that show most people gain back the weight and more, diet culture still pushes out diets that promise lasting weight loss. Diet culture does not truly care about our health but seeks only what we have in our wallets. Even more, the cause of so many eating disorders? Diet culture!
How Do You Navigate Diet Culture?
Here a just a few tips:
- Do not edit photos. Embrace your natural self!
- Avoid fat shaming and speak up if allowed
- Recognize that thinness does not equal health
- Understand that models are not representative of an average human’s body
- Unfollow toxic accounts and instead follow accounts with diverse body types
- Leave toxic conversations, ask them to change the subject and if you are feeling safe-explain why you don’t support diet culture.
Need Help Healing Your Relationship With Food?
Just like those who go to therapy due to trauma, a mental illness, or just needing someone to talk to, when you need help with your relationship with food, you see a food expert. The most trustworthy food expert is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist(RDN). To use that title, they have at least a Bachelors Degree In Dietetics, A 1,200 hour completed Internship and passed the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Exam. To expand beyond that, find an RD who practices with HAES and Intuitive Eating Principles. There are still RDs who encourage Diets just like most Doctors encourage weight loss and Diets.
A common misconception is that Doctors are food experts. NOPE! Doctors are not food experts and the same goes for therapists! They are still very important to have on your medical team but are not the experts when it comes to food.
Curious how Intuitive Eating can help you heal your relationship with food? Check out my blog post here- Intuitive Eating:Explained
If you would like to work with me when my Private Practice, A Nourished Body Nutrition Counseling, is up and running in May 2022-Sign up for my Email List below!
Resources to Check Out
Blog Author- Carissa Kiefer, Dietetic Intern with a B.S in Dietetics