What is Diet Culture?

intuitive eating Apr 09, 2019

Diet culture is a lie we’ve been sold that in order to be worthy and loved. It demonizes certain ways of eating while praising others, leaving us super anxious about eating, shameful about our food choices and out of touch with our purpose.

Diet culture is a system of beliefs that:

  • Convinces us that in order to be worthy and loved, we need to make our bodies look perfect and eat the perfect diet (which by the way do not exist)
  • Demonizes certain ways of eating while praising others, leaving us super anxious about eating, shameful about our food choices and out of touch with our purpose
  • Food has moral character and that you by association are more or less worthy based on what you eat or what you weigh
  • Views food and exercise as the only factors in health and ignores the effect of genes, socioeconomic status, mental health, stress levels, spirituality, career satisfaction and more

Diet culture isn’t just about being on a diet. You can still be caught up in the culture of dieting (in the diet mindset) even if you aren’t on a diet.

Examples of the diet mindset:

  • Categorizing foods as good or bad and feeling that you are good or bad for eating those foods
  • Eating only “clean” foods
  • Detoxes and cleanses
  • Feeling like cravings need to be conquered
  • Believing you need to follow external rules to tell you what, when and how much to eat
  • Restricting or eliminating certain food groups or foods
  • Counting, measuring or tracking your food or exercise
  • Feeling guilty after eating
  • Avoiding social situations because the food won’t fit your current eating plan
  • Negatively comparing your body to others
  • Letting the number on a scale or how your jeans fit dictate your mood
  • Feeling like your worth as a person is based on your appearance
  • Celebrating weight loss

So if you were like yep, yep yep that’s me, I want you to know you’re not alone. This is what we are taught will lead us to health, happiness and living our best lives so of course we are going to try everything we can to get that. We’re all just doing the best we can. But I also want you to become aware of the fact that diet culture has got you right where they want you.

Diet Culture Has You Right Where They Want You

The weight loss industry is worth over $60 billion dollars/year on the premise that you are “not okay” and need to be “fixed”. It’s interesting to think about it this way. The diet industry creates a problem by convincing you that you need to change your body. Then, they pretend to have the solutions to your “problem” (and they were the ones who created this fake problem!). Do you see now why diets literally make no sense?

But, don’t worry, this is actually great news because once we become aware of the ways diet culture is manipulating us, we are able to take back our power. Think about all the time, money and energy we put towards having the perfect body or diet. What else could we channel that energy towards?

Imagine all that we could accomplish if we freed up all of that time, money and energy we spend on food and our bodies and actually put it towards what really matters to us.

It’s Not Your Fault

This isn’t to make you feel guilty or beat yourself up over falling into the trap diet culture’s manipulation. It’s not your fault….you’ve been told your whole life that this is what will lead to happiness, health and living your best life so there’s no reason to feel bad about wanting these things for yourself. We all do.

This is just to give you the awareness and offer up a different perspective so you can begin to make the choices that are most empowering to you.

If you’re like “YAASSS but how do I do this?”, check out this post on how to break free from the diet mindset. You’ll also learn why engaging in the diet mindset is the worst thing you can do for your health.

 

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