Have you heard of “Diet Culture?” The professional definition is “a belief system that focuses on and values weight, shape, and size over well-being.”1 My own personal definition is “the reason why this whole thing is so freaking hard.”
Diet Culture: Yeah, you need to lose weight.
Me: Well, first of all, why?
Diet Culture: Because you look terrible so that must mean you are unhealthy. In other words, you need to try these diets to fix yourself.
Me: But when I’ve used those I feel sad, angry, and then the weight comes back right after.
Diet Culture: Well, that’s because you’re a fat sack of s*** that has no motivation. Look at this skinny girl, she’s intermittent fasting.
Me: I call that “skipping breakfast,” which has been proven to slow your metabolism.
Diet Culture: Okay, but these keto girls really look like they know what they’re doing.
Me: Shouldn’t you have carbs if you lift weights? I’ve been getting into lifting lately.
Diet Culture: Well that just sounds like quitter-talk. You’re supposed to run on a treadmill for hours to lose weight. Look at that skinny girl on the Stair-Master!
Me: She looks legitimately bony. That doesn’t look healthy.
Diet Culture: But skinny = healthy. What are you missing here? Do you think being fat is healthy?
Me: Of course not, I –
Diet Culture: Then we agree! Now next time your husband says he’d like to go out tell him that you can’t because you need to lose weight…
You get the picture.
Diet culture assumes that a skinny person is a healthy person and then encourages different eating/living patterns to support that. It is assumed that if a larger person is doing “healthy” things, they are doing it to lose weight. With diet culture, you can encourage any kind of disordered behavior in order to encourage weight loss.
“I started wrapping myself in sea weed and plastic wrap!” “I count every morsel of food that passes my lips.” “I only eat between 10-2 now.” “I have pills that make me not hungry at all, I practically have to force food down my throat.”
Seriously, can anyone see how crazy this is?
I don’t think I have to reiterate the health benefits that come with being a smaller size, but I think we should be encouraging healthy behaviors to get there. If we crash diet all the way to the smallest size, what’s going to happen when we try to “go back to normal?” Well, I can tell you. We do what 98% of dieters do: gain all the weight back and then some.2
Just like the beauty industry gains by making you feel ugly, diet culture gains by making you feel fat.
The whole philosophy of my brand is “ALL ROADS.” Freedom is the key. Living in freedom keeps you from these stupid habits that Diet Culture has taught us. But Freedom for me is not just “do whatever I want,” but it is “freedom from and in all things.”
If I go to binge and give myself the “freedom” to eat what I want, I’m not free at all. I’ve been captured by my binge and feel out of control. We have to be free to make the right choice in order for it to be real freedom.
All Foods? Are you sure?
Why not? It’s proven that restricting a thing brings it to the forefront of your mind more than if you were to indulge. How many times have you denied yourself a cookie at the office only to eat an extra helping of dessert at home? You would have saved yourself the guilt and pain of an over-full stomach and sugar crash if you had just had the darn cookie.
Maybe avoid food you’re allergic to, or food that hurts you. I have learned that soda makes my face break out, but sparkling water doesn’t… and I like sparkling water.
Whatever you decide, make the decision for yourself!
So in an effort to increase my knowledge of “ALL FOODS,” I’ll be expanding and adding updates more often about recipes I’m trying! Don’t forget to check out my recipe page to see all the goodies or try them out yourself.
1From “Eating Disorder Registered Dietitians & Professionals” website.
2Just as I have! I wrote about this in Weight Loss History.