Diet Culture & Why I Will Never go on Another Diet

Diets are a lie fed to us by diet culture telling us that we are no more than what we look like under the guise of being “healthy”. Unless you are on a diet for a health concern that a licensed professional has determined is the best option for you, diets are not healthy.  

What is Healthy?

We all have our own interpretations of what healthy looks. By definition, health is a combination of physical, mental, social, and emotional wellbeing. Yet, we often refer to people as looking healthy or unhealthy based on size. Size is not an indicator of health it’s just a factor of genetics, priviledge, and other variables, This is fatphobia and it is a product of diet culture. As a fatphobic society we take our fatphobia a step further and inaccurately associate health with diets. 

Since society skips the holistic approach and tries to determine health based off physical appearance, the wellness industry has fed us diet culture to keep us wanting more. We all want to look “healthy” (skinny, abs, thin). The diet industry convinces us that we just need to try their products to become the epitome of health. 

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Have you ever Googled “Healthy Diet”? The first thing that comes up is a WebMD article titled “11 Simple Steps to a Healthy Diet”. All this article does is encourage you to swap “bad” food like mayo for “healthier” options like mustard. A food swap won’t make you any healthier, but it will create a mental boundary around a food you may actually enjoy potentially harming your mental health. This is diet culture in action. It tells us we have to only eat “good” foods and exercise everyday. Having a little mayo on your sandwich may not be the best for your physical health but it might be perfect for your mental health. Diet culture feeds off our desire for health but it assumes that we only care about our physical well being. 

Fit Tea and Diet Culture

To make things even worse, stars buy in to diet culture. They feed their fans the lie of diet culture in the form of detox teas or flat-tummy tea. The diet industry loves our insecurities around our tummys and make $64 billion dollars a year off of us.

So let’s all take a minute and say “screw you diet culture.” I will no longer contribute to the BILLIONS diet culture makes off of a lie about the definition of health. If you want to eat whole wheat bread, eat it! If you want to go on a run, run! If you want to stretch on the floor while watching tv, do it! If you want to watch Veronica Mars and eat popsicles, have at it! Just make sure you are doing it because it contributes to your health holistically and not just on attribute. I love movement, fitness and nutritious foods but we are all more than our bodies. Are you ready to quit caving in to diet culture and start living a truly healthy life? I am. 

I’m Ditching Diet Culture

I’ve made a major fitness mistake; I’ve been actively participating in diet culture.

Dietician Christy Harrison defines diet culture as a system of beliefs that worships thinness, promotes weight loss, demonizes certain foods and oppresses people that don’t match others picture of health. Diet culture is an oppressive fatphobic, food-phobic system. It teaches us that juice cleanses, 1200 calorie diets and excessive macro tracking are the only ways to be happy in your body. Diet culture is a joy thief. 

As someone who loves exercise and the fitness industry, I have fallen hard into the clutches of diet culture. I tried to become a booty builder and eat 1gram of protein per body weight. Then, I followed all the fitspo’s and copied their diets. Debated going vegan just to be part of the vegan body-builder movement. I #mealprepped and yet, none of it ever made me happier. Movement improved my mood but obsessing over what or when I ate never made my life feel full; instead it made eating in to a chore. 

Anti Diet Influencers

I’ve been sitting with this uncomfortable feeling towards diets trying to determine my next move.  It wasn’t until I saw one of my favorite booty builders Madalin Giorgetta go anti-diet culture that I realized I needed to dig deeper into this. Sad to say but it wasn’t until I saw an influencer, who had made most of her fame off of the fitness industry and being conventionally pretty (that I love and follow), throw it all away for this message. Her willingness to shake up her life for this message encouraged me to dismantle diet culture. Through her influence I realized that I have thin privilege. I will never be rejected from a job for being too fat. As someone with this privilege I need to use voice to speak out against diet culture and fatphobia. 

This sounds like a mission so to frame learning experience I’ve tasked myself with answering these questions: 

  • What does health/wellness mean? And why do we associate diets with health?
  • Why are we afraid of “fat”? What does fatphobia look like in our everyday lives?
  • Is body neutrality better than body positivity? 

Want to come on this journey with me? Let me know in the comments.