What Is Diet Culture: Best guide for Diet Culture-2023

Diet culture
Diet culture

What Is a Diet Culture?

Diet culture is one of the biggest myths I like to dispel when I work with clients as a nutritionist. Fad diets, quick fixes for weight loss, and purported influencers are only a small part of the complexity of diet culture.

It even goes so far as to be based on the ways we have been told, marketed to, and sold to think about ourselves, our bodies, and our health. Your life, your relationship with your body, your morality, and your definition of what is “healthy” are all being ruined by a whole belief system.

We’re going to go into great detail about what diet culture is so that you can recognize it when you see it and start supporting five different things in its place. Diet culture refers to the Westernized idea that we should limit our calorie intake, pursue thinness, that our beauty is not defined by who we are by how we look, fitting societal expectations, and that you can only be accepted if you “fit the box.”

Social media, image, and status all come with this package. The fit woman in the Bud Light commercial running through the streets and downing that light beer post-workout to the elitist eaters on social media who claim that you are not healthy if you eat anything with any artificial anything, any non-organic food, or don’t buy the most expensive clothes from the trendiest stores are all promoting what is known as diet culture.

When you die, nobody will recall your weight. They’ll remember you as a person from their memories. They’ll recall the deeds you committed, the emotions they evoked in you, and the experiences you shared. It’s important to fill your life with activities, make the most of your physical abilities, move freely, and radiate from the inside out in order to truly live.

It’s not about depriving ourselves of the food groups that give us internal nourishment, feeling bad about how we look, or believing that we can’t indulge in or enjoy them. Diet culture is pervasive, so it’s important to recognize the messaging, establish a relationship with food, pay attention to your inner voice, read nutrition labels, and increase your daily activity.

By doing this, you can support various methods for improving your health, gain respect for yourself, and permanently break free from the diet culture. We firmly believe that living your life in a body that you adore is something you owe to yourself.

What’s Wrong With Diet Culture?

If you didn’t already know, diet culture is bad because it hurts people. It takes advantage of people’s insecurities, flaws, and distinctive differences to deceive them, make them feel unworthy, and make money.

Gross. It is intertwined with fat phobia, the fear of gaining weight, the fear of gaining muscle, the fear of bulking up, the fear of wiggling, the fear of having stretch marks, or the fear of having a typical human body that moves with you when you move.

Even worse, sources other than our mothers, magazine covers, and billboards now actively promote diet culture. For the younger, more impressionable generations, these messages are practically ubiquitous. They are actually in your hand with every media outlet, including digital advertisements, commercials, movies, and other content.

Diet culture is a problem because it instills in us the belief that our bodies are bad, that there is something wrong with us, that food is the enemy, that over training and calorie restriction are the best options, and that in order to fit in with society, we must give up the foods, drinks, and activities that we enjoy.


Diet Culture
Diet Culture

For long-term change, here are 5 strategies to combat diet culture:

Recognize the diet culture’s messaging.

There are many levels to this, but let’s start with the way you talk about food. Do you frequently use absolutes in your speech, such as “I never” or “I always”? This can encourage feelings of guilt and shame if you frequently consume or don’t consume particular foods, which is an example of diet culture messaging that says “you’re less than if you don’t.”

What about the snide remarks you make about other people? Do you people watch and make snide remarks about the woman whose belly sticks out from her shirt, the woman wearing shorts who has cellulite, the man who has stretch marks on his arms, or any other person?

Advertising for the diet culture is widespread. Everything from low-fat food to how we perceive and evaluate other people to the supplements and foods that are marketed to us as being “healthy” or helping us lose weight.

You don’t have to eat 1,200 calories a day and consume 4 protein shakes to lose weight, despite what you may have heard. This is similar to websites and companies that promote and sell you their own 200-calorie meals.

You also don’t need to restrict your carbohydrate intake to the extent that you become lethargic, miss family gatherings, start bingeing or overeating, or have to rely solely on supplements. There are other things that diet culture ignores, besides sustainable eating patterns, including your favorite foods while maintaining a caloric deficit, and not banning entire food groups.

Establish a relationship with food and show respect for it.

Recognizing the significance of food in your life and in your body would be one of the biggest middle fingers you could give the diet culture. Food can make us feel better, live longer, avoid disease, lessen inflammation, maintain a healthy weight, and live each day to the fullest. Nevertheless, diet culture has taught us that food is the devil and that we should avoid it, limit it, shame it, and refuse to eat it.

Diet culture has taught us to have an unhealthy, unbalanced, and biased relationship with food and has taught us to have no regard for the energy or nutrients that food provides to our bodies on a daily basis.

To develop a respect for food and a relationship with your body as well as food, we suggest that you ask yourself questions about food before, during, and after each meal.

These questions include some of the following:

  • When did I last consume food?
  • Even though I’m currently busy at work, I still need to stop and eat.
  • I’ve got to stop what I’m doing and go get some food because my stomach is grumbling.
  • I’ll prioritize cooking and bringing food because I need them for my body to grow.
  • What physical effects does consuming this food have on me?

Such inquiries from a nutritionist or coach would help you gain a better understanding of the foods you’re consuming and the outcomes you’re seeing. However, you can start by asking yourself these types of questions to begin to understand how what you eat affects you from the inside out.

Pay attention to the internal dialogue you are having.

Diet culture messaging has a big impact on the things we tell ourselves about our bodies, how we view food, and how we criticize and praise ourselves. Take into account the dim lighting in a dressing room as you try on clothes in front of a mirror. I’m talking about your internal dialogue when you couldn’t fit into a pair of clearance pants because they were two sizes too small for you.

When you walk by a window and think about yourself, I’m referring to those moments. the way you judge yourself after viewing a photo of yourself that was taken from behind in direct sunlight, emphasizing your legs’ dimples. The stretch marks that you have from weight gain, loss, or creation (you know, all those wonderful things your body is capable of) that are white or purple are included in the lack of tolerance you have for your body.

I’m talking about the harsh, harsh things you tell yourself about how you look, how you act, dress, and what you eat, as well as the negative internal dialogue that permeates every aspect of your life.

Breathe through all of the negative self-talk that diet culture messaging has influenced, which tells you that you are unattractive, different from others, flawed, and that you should be ashamed of those characteristics because they don’t fit the stereotype that med spas have shaped our culture into.

You don’t need me to elaborate because we ALL engage in it. We all say foul, degrading things about ourselves that we’d never dare say to another person. Give diet culture the finger, take back your power, and start to change that story. That power is ultimately YOURS to use, and let me tell you, mastering it is a very potent thing.

Check the nutrition facts.

Being able to read nutrition labels, be aware of what you’re eating, and know what to look for on the label to have or not have are all in and of themselves superpowers. By becoming conscious of what you’re putting into your body and realizing that you have the power to change it, you can reclaim your power from the diet culture messaging and way of life to which you have grown accustomed.

When reading nutrition labels, look for ingredients you can pronounce. Look for high-quality protein, omega-3-rich fats, and carbohydrates. High fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and trans fats are examples of highly processed foods that should be avoided because they cause systemic inflammation and are foreign to the body.

Try to include high-quality protein in your meals and snacks that are carbohydrate-focused, while reducing your overall sugar intake.
Along with reading nutrition labels and learning more about what you’re eating and how much of it, you can start to strengthen the internal dialogue and relationship you already have with food.

It begins to make sense why eating a food makes you feel unwell when you turn it over, look at the nutrition label, and discover that it contains processed ingredients and 46g of sugar and 26g of fat.

You can begin to comprehend why a food should be avoided if YOU have determined that it is not healthy for YOUR body and the way YOU want to feel. You’ll be able to stop berating and punishing yourself for feeling ill after eating if you do this.

Be active each day.

We advise starting a sustainable gym routine that works with your weekly schedule or going for a brief daily stroll outside. You’ll be able to do this to lessen stress, burn calories, move your body more, reduce inflammation, become more mindful and present, and generally feel better. We know it’s difficult, but try to move your body for 30 to 60 minutes each day rather than using social media.


Diet culture
Diet culture

What ties diet culture and anti-fatness together?

The Body Positive Journal author and Rebel Eaters Club podcast host Virgie Tovar, who advocates for people who are overweight, says, “I think of diet culture as the pervasive a setting where dietary restrictions are both accepted and celebrated. “.

This is a result of the anti-fat sentiment and universal, almost-from-birth fear of being overweight or gaining weight. “Right now, our culture values weight as a proxy for health and automatically labels those who are overweight as unhealthy,” claims Tovar. “.

In essence, our culture believes that diet culture is the solution to the obesity issue. However, the link between weight and health is incredibly complex. Like being thin doesn’t automatically make a person healthy, neither does being fat.

Furthermore, despite the fact that being overweight has always been linked to poor health, there is no concrete evidence that dieting results in significant long-term weight loss or that losing weight in and of itself is advantageous for everyone.

According to a highly cited 2013 research review published in Social and Personality Psychology Compass, which looked at data from 21 existing weight loss studies that followed up with participants for at least two years, the average amount of weight lost at follow-up was about two pounds. And a 2020 study found that people typically regain any weight they lost while adhering to well-known diets within a year.

Tovar claims that another fundamental aspect of diet culture that is fatphobic is the idea of healthism, which holds that each individual is solely responsible for their own health. Although it seems logical at first, science does not back up that claim.

An advisory committee for the Department of Health and Human Services called the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation issued a report in April 2022.

The remaining 50% of a person’s health and the remaining 16% of medical care (including access to healthcare) are determined by the social determinants of health (SDOH), which include housing, food access, transportation, social and economic mobility, connections to social services, and physical environment.

If you are unable to afford fitness classes, do not live near a safe place to walk, do not have access to a car, or do not have access to public transportation, for example, it may be very difficult for you to fit regular physical activity into your schedule. It’s also possible that you won’t be able to go to yearly exams.

Diet culture is largely based on the notion that controlling one’s eating habits is necessary for maintaining health. The fact that our diet has little effect on our general health, however, cannot be disputed.


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