Rejecting Diet Culture
Words by Caitriona Potter
Diet culture is everywhere in our society and slowly becomes the sneaky voice in your head saying you can’t wear that dress or eat that cookie. More and more research finds that traditional diets which encourage restriction of any kind do not work, and can lead to the development of eating disorders and disordered eating. There is a lot of evidence that working on rejecting diet culture is the path back to our true health, which can’t be bought or sold. Here are 5 tips to begin the rejection of diet culture and reclaim your body.
Assess your overall well-being
Oftentimes diet culture will dominate our lives to the point where we neglect other areas such as our physical, mental, financial and spiritual health and relationships. If you can determine where the root cause of your feelings have come from, you can decide that you no longer want this mentality that isn’t serving you, to dominate your life. Many people who reject diet culture often report pursuing a new hobby, due to their increased energy and life satisfaction!
Declutter your social media feed
Unfollow accounts that promote diet culture and weight loss. You will struggle to feel confident in your decision to go against the grain if you are still consuming media that promotes this message. Follow new accounts that inspire you, and provide value to your life. There are lots of body positive influencers who share the beauty of being happy in their own skin and offer resources to combat diet culture.
Remember your ‘why’.
Whether it’s improving your mental health, digestion, or balancing your hormones, it can be helpful to have a strong understanding of why you are pursuing your health, not a number on the scale. There will be many times when the lure of control and restriction will seem too strong, coupled with the ingrained belief in our society that smaller is better. Keep your eye on the prize and you will no longer be unconsciously manipulated.
If you have been a chronic dieter, or just influenced by diet culture in some way, you may be unsure of what healthy eating looks like. A nutritious, balanced diet that supports your health will include protein, fibre, fruits or vegetables and fat at every meal. Fuelling your body appropriately and enjoyably will give you more energy, improve your skin, and give you a drive for life.
Be kind to yourself.
There may be times when you lack self-belief that this is the right path for you. You may have spent many years of your life pursuing the promise of a better life in the form of a smaller body. It takes time to let go of this idea and these beliefs. Let yourself work through your emotions and remember that this time you are choosing yourself, which is the most empowering step of rejecting diet culture!
Remember that you are not alone and that help is available. If dieting and food restriction is something you are finding hard to handle please speak to a professional who will be able to help you. Your GP is a great place to start and they will guide you towards other reputable resources.