Diets are out and “lifestyle changes” are in. But you still might find yourself falling prey to diet culture. Many diets are masquerading as a “healthy lifestyle” and they’re still doing damage. Which is even more treacherous because these programs are promoting dieting under the guise of promoting health. Same beast, different name.
Dieting leads to poor body image, preoccupation with food, a cycle of restricting and bingeing, weight cycling, unhealthy relationship with food, increased risk for eating disorders and poorer health outcomes in the long run.
Ways diet culture manifests include:
-Weight loss programs, competitions and surgeries
-Any eating plan that restricts any foods or restricts eating to certain times of day
-Counting calories, macros, “points”, etc.
-”Good” and “bad” foods
-”Clean” and “unclean” foods
-Only eating prescribed/prepackaged meals and snacks
-Cutting out sugar
-Exercising more if eating “bad” foods
-Only eating if you’ve exercised
-Having “cheat days”
-Choosing smallest portion regardless of hunger
-Changing the way you eat when other people are around
-Eating drastically different on weekdays versus the weekend
-Restricting food before an event
What this means is we have to be more vigilant than ever to recognize and reject diet culture in all its forms. I’m a firm believer that to make peace with food and your body, you need to reject diet culture in full (this is why rejecting the diet mentality is the first principle of intuitive eating).
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