READ ME: 5 tips to help end diet culture
As a Nutritional Therapist I have a lot of conversations about diets.
“What’s the best diet?”
“Do I need to be on a diet if I want to lose weight?”
“Do you follow a specific diet?”
It nearly always comes up in conversation.
And the thing is it’s not really surprising. We’ve been talking about diets for a really long time. Can you remember the first time you heard about a diet? My first experience of it was when my mum resorted to smoking a cigarette in the evening time to avoid snacking (shock horror I know…. but a pretty common practice in the 80’s & 90’s).
But is diet culture harmful? Well in short, yes.
Well quite simply because diet culture focuses on and values our weight and appearance over our actual health.
Unfortunately we still live in a society where aesthetics are the primary determinant for establishing whether someone is healthy (in body and mind) and as a nutrition professional I can attest that that is not necessarily always the truth.
There are so many factors that come down to determining “health” in both body and mind.
So how do we go about doing our little part in ending diet culture? It’s a highly complex subject that will require a multi-faceted approach but we can all do our own little bit, in micro actions everyday.
Here are 5 little tips to help you start right now.
Firstly focus on nourishment. Instead of seeing food in terms of calories and macros focus on other attributes of food such as colour and diversity.
Throw away the scales. When is the last time you stepped on scale and actually felt good about yourself? I wouldn’t hesitate in saying never. A scales is quite frankly like a shitty boyfriend….you keep going back to him but you aren’t sure why. Dump it.
Focusing on the weight on your scales can only result in you fixating on your weight and your weight is simply not the only determinant of health.
Stop complimenting your friends/family/work colleagues on their ability to lose weight. Ever gotten sick, lost some weight and someone told you, you looked great? That’s diet culture right there. By all means compliment people….but maybe try and move the conversation away from weight.
Say no to calling foods “good” and “bad”. The truth is broccoli can still make you gain weight if you eat enough of it. Chocolate can still make you loose weight if you eat very little of it. No food is inherently “good” or “bad”. Let’s stop giving it that power.
Audit the publications you read and the people you follow on social media. Diet culture is both pervasive and subliminal. It is constantly being read in headlines and being talked about by influencers. Become more mindful and aware of it and choose to not be a part of it.
What do you think? Does diet culture affect you? I’d love to know?
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