Diet culture is way more harmful than you probably think. But what IS it? Essentially, diet culture has the foundation that thinness is the ideal beauty standard. It's the epitome of being “healthy” and is more morally valued in society. No one's saying you shouldn't work out and eat healthier, if that's the personal goal you wish to achieve then you should absolutely go for it however, with the fluctuation of different fashion trends it's easy to get sucked into the idea that you need to be skinny to be pretty and healthy when... that's not true.
RECOGNISING THE SIGNS
It's all fair and well to explain what diet culture is and the harmful effects of it but what about actually being able to spot the difference between a healthy advert and one that is designed to make you feel bad? Or perhaps how it's already ingrained in your everyday conversations and activities? Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought “they'd like me more if I was slimmer.” Or perhaps you're seeing someone ( a friend or a family member ) eat five meals a day and not gain any weight and think to yourself “I could never eat like that! I’d put on so much weight.”
These might not seem shocking to you and that's most likely because it's already so normal to put yourself down when talking about weight gain.These are just examples of how stuck we are in the idea that being skinny is more healthier, prettier and more deserving of love and happiness. Which start’s to fuel internalised fat-phobia.
Where else are phrases that contribute negatively to diet culture seen? Well the gym poster right next to your favourite treadmill that's telling you “you’ll lose x amount of weight if you join their 8-week intensive course?” it seems like nothing, it's just promoting information about their course at the gym which is fine right?... wrong! Our bodies are all so unique, and so different so the fact you're paying all this money for an 8 week course that might not even work because your body responds to stimuli differently. However, if the program offers a challenging and engaging way to lose weight it's most likely going to be much more of a supportive environment because it’s more realistic and inclusive for everyone.
Another example? Food advertised as “guilt-free” or “clean” not only guilt trips you into feeling bad for eating foods you like or crave at the moment it also demonises foods such as chocolate or bread as something that will ruin all your hard work of eating greens everyday for the past three weeks.
HOW TO MOVE AWAY FROM DIET CULTURE
Clean your social media feed!
Unfollow people who make you look at yourself in disgust or who make you feel like you simply aren't doing enough. Influences who make you feel like your life isn't at its prime point because you're not flying to Bora Bora with your partner. Then fill your feed with non diet, body positive accounts who make you feel good and empowered… trust me.
Physically reject diet culture!
Change how you talk about food, how you talk to yourself! If you do want to lose weight, research how to do it healthy and in an accepting environment. Once you change the way you talk about yourself your mind will follow.
Create a support system!
Now that you've edited your feed so you're not comparing yourself to other people constantly, the next step is to keep learning and you don't have to do this alone! You can create a community of like minded individuals who can make the process easier ditch the diet Facebook group is a great place to stay connected meet new people and feel like the powerful person you are!