If youve been following me on social media or reading my blog, you certainly have come across the term diet culture.Ive mentioned it many times before. But what is diet culture? How does it impact your life? And what should you do about it?
This article tackles this topic and teaches you how to opt-out of it. Also, I offer some resources that will help you start a new life outside of this oppressive belief system. Heres what youre going to learn from this blog post:
What is diet culture?
How to navigate the diet culture
Diet culture educational resources
Now, lets begin exploring the diet culture so you can take your first steps to freedom!
From the sound of it, you might think the term diet culture refers to a group of people who are on a diet. But it actually has a different meaning.
Christy Harrison, a colleague of mine, has the bestdiet culture definition.She defines itasa system of belief that worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue. Its now prevalent in our society and oppresses women from all over the world!
How does this impact your life?
This means you may have spent your entire life thinking that youre broken just because you dont look like the impossibly thin ideal.
Thats just one angle. You can also look at the diet culture from three other angles:
The second angle is that it promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status. It makes you feel compelled, almost obligated, to spend massive amounts of time, energy, and resources, trying to shrink your body so you can fit into this thin ideal. Now, research is very clear that the dieting model has a 95 percent failure rate, so it might as well be an exercise in futility.
The next angle is it demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others. It forces you to be hyper-vigilant about your eating, shames you for making certain food choices, and distracts you from the pleasure of eating as well as from your purpose and power.
Last but not least, it oppresses people who dont match the supposed picture of health or the thin ideal. This affects us most particularly as women, although its starting to affect men.
As you probably know, I used to have a love-hate relationship with food and my body. A 25-year career in dieting left me obsessed, frustrated and confused about food. I was also at a loss on how to take care of my body.
Dieting was stealing my life and at 39. Then I decided that I had enough I finally chose to take my power back and free myself from dieting and body shaming. The Going Beyond The Food Method was born out of my personal journey.
Now, as a health professional, Ive helped hundreds of women work their way out of this oppressive culture and develop a healthier relationship with foodusingintuitive eatingandbody neutrality.
Is diet culture affecting you, too? I invite you to consider its impact on your life. Take our quick self-assessment tool we created to help women determine if intuitive eating is the right solution for them.
I invite you, and honestly all women,to become diet culture dropouts!Below are the four steps you need to take in your journey towards freedom:
Now is the best time to be a woman. Unlike the generations before us, were liberated and empowered! You have to understand that diet culture is a tool that the patriarchy uses to keep us from being in our power. It keeps us busy minding our calories and macros. It induces guilt and so we feel inclined to punish ourselves when we fail.
Whether you want to stay in the diet culture and be oppressed or to break away from it and change your life, its totally up to you. But you should know that you have the power to make that choice.
With great power comes great responsibility. Now, that sounds like a quote from a Spiderman movie, but as an empowered woman, you are responsible for your life. No one else is!
Now, you can be the victim of diet culture and drown yourself in self-pity and helplessness. Or you can say, Screw this! Im going to take responsibility, and Im going to work myself out of it and change my life.
Its your call.
Read books and blogs. Listen to podcasts. Consume content that supports the choice that youve made for yourself. Be on guard against the content that might suck you right back into the diet culture. As Ive said before, beware of diet culture programs disguised as wellness practices.
Ive made it my personal mission to empower women by educating them so they dont allow themselves to be oppressed. And so, I have put together some resources for you.
We haveanti-diet culture podcastepisodes on the Going Beyond the Food Show, where I interview health professionals. I invite you to listen as they share their expert insights and opinions on our relationship with our bodies and with food.
You can also read our antianti-diet culture blogposts on this website. Here, we go deep into the research and the studies around diet culture as well as dieting and its impact on health.
If youre looking for aanti-diet culture book, I recommendHealthAtEvery Sizeby Linda Bacon, PhD. Dr. Bacon does research around health and dieting. Its a book that gave me a lot of aha moments and subsequently changed my life.
Youre going to shift fromthe way of life thatdiet culture has taught you to a more empowering way of thinking and doing things. This means theres a lot for you to unlearn and relearn, so youre going to need all the support you can get.
The Going Beyond The Food Method is a 5-step strategic process to help women move out of diet mentality and into self-care. Our 5 pillars are: mindset, emotional wellness, mindfulness, body neutrality and intuitive eating.
As a clinical nutritionist, Ive found thatintuitive eating is the most effective toolfor developing a healthy relationship with food and your body. Intuitive eating teaches you to tap into your innate hunger and fullness cues. It requires you to relearn how to engage with food without restriction and without labeling food as good or bad.
The trauma around body image is more powerful than the one around food. What I have found over the years is that when we work through our relationship with food, its a lot easier and faster to heal body image issues.
We offer a variety of programs that will help you should you decide to opt-out of diet culture:
1)TheIntuitive Eating Project This is a self-study program that will help you relearn how to eat intuitively at your own pace.
2)The Going Beyond the Food Academy This is group coaching program where we teach the Going BeyondTheFood Methodandoffersupport and coaching in a more in-depth approach.In this program, wetalk about mindset, emotions, body image, intuitive eating, and mindfulness.
3)Conquer and Thrive Thisis a six-month, high-touchintensiveprogramwhere you work one-on-one with me. Here, you learn how to work your way out of the diet culture and heal your relationship with food, your body, and yourself.