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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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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. 

Fitness Program Review: I Tried Natacha Oceane’s CUT

I’ve flirted with many fitness programs. I’ve tried PIIT28, BBG, instagram booty builder workout splits (no judgement on these, they gave me some of my best results prior to this program), yoga and everything in between. Over the last couple years I have fallen in love with the weight room because of the results it gave me.

My newfound love of weight lifting led to started following fitness influencers. One of my absolute favorites is Natacha Oceane. As a former gymnast, I am a huge fan of plyometric movements to get my heart rate up and Natacha emphasizes plyo. After following Natacha on instagram I began throwing in a few of her functional or plyo moves in to my workouts with B. He tolerated them, so after a few months of adding box jumps and HIIT to our split we decided to take the jump and purchase Natacha’s 10 week CUT fitness program.

CUT is marketed as a program that will help you burn fat, gain muscle and not jeopardize your metabolism. I personally was interested in this program because I want visible abs and this seemed like my best option (Natacha is absolutely ripped!). After completing this program for the first time I do not have visible abs but I have gained strength and did not have to change my eating habits at all.

CUT is a unique fitness program. The workout split is broken down in five workouts, with an optional and a mandatory rest day. The workouts are broken into plyometrics, upper body & HIIT, lower body, total body and HIIT. Each week the moves in the workouts change but the pattern stays the same. These workouts are KILLER and the upper body & HIIT day is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. My favorite thing about these workouts is the variety. A total body day can go from pull ups, to jumping lunges, to push ups without skipping a beat. I get bored by doing the same moves every week so I loved that the variety kept me going through the 10 week program.

To complete CUT I had to purchase the following items because my gym did not have them.

**The following links are Amazon affiliate links.

Long Loop Resistance Bands

Needed for pull up assistance, glute kick backs, etc.

Barebell Pad

My gym does not have these available and without them I refuse to do hip thrusts

Cons

There are only two cons to CUT as a fitness program.

The first is that you have to have an hour or more to dedicate to the gym for each workout. This is great for endurance but can be difficult when you work a regular job.

The other complaint I have is that I was constantly running across the gym for the next move. I was running from squat rack, to a plyo corner, to leg press, then back to the squat rack for most of the workouts. This is fine if you go to the gym at 6am (like we usually do) or in the middle of the day BUT if you have to work out during peak hours this does not work. The few times B and I had to go to the gym after work we had to switch up the order we did the moves in so we could utilize equipment while it was open.

Contrary to my complaints I absolutely LOVED CUT and am already jumping back into it for a second round! Have you tried CUT or another workout program that you love?

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Gift Guide for the Fitness Inclined

Oh the weather outside is frightful and your Christmas shopping list is not delightful so to make your shopping less stressful, read below read below read below!

Happy Holidays! I know the most wonderful time of the year is usually synonymous with the most stressful time of the year so to ease some of your shopping discomfort I’ve come up with a list of gifts that are budget friendly, easy to buy & will still have time to be delivered gift guide for any fitness lover in your life. I love giving people items that are cute & useful in their day to day life especially if they are setting intentions of practicing healthy habits in the new year. 

**All links in this blog post are affiliate links

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Resistance Bands!

Resistance bands & hip circles are the new cool kids at the gym. The instagram fitness community swears by these, especially if you need a way to up your leg day without upping the weight you are lifting. I’m a huge fan of these and for under $25 they are a thoughtful gift for your gym friend who’s trying to build a booty!

Leggings!

Queenie Ke makes amazing gym & budget friendly leggings. I have a black pair of these that I hold to the same caliber as my Gymshark leggings.

Gym Bag!

Any gym goer knows how much of a pain it can be to carry your water bottle, keys, IDs, warm-up clothes & whatever else you deem necessary for your workout. A nice gym bag is an amazing gift that can be both cute and functional. You can get creative and buy one in a fun color or stick to the classics like I did.

Water Bottle!

Single use plastic is out and cute reusable bottles are in. A reusable water bottle is a great gift because regardless of how many someone owns you can always use an extra. I chose this one because it was cute, well priced and BPA free.

Yoga Mat

Yoga mats are the BEST gifts. You can never have too many! Depending on what flooring I’m on I’ll use two at a time to cushion my achy old gymnast body. Bonus: they’re super cute!

Hope this helps anyone with a last minute shopping list that is a mile long! Let me know in the comments what your favorite fitness item is! Happy shopping!

But Really Thought Tries – Barry’s Bootcamp

I love to dabble in fitness classes. When I lived in SB I took Barre classes all the time but since the move I haven’t been frequenting the studios. I’m currently opting for a weight lifting gym sessions during the week. I’ve started to get a bit bored so I decided to expand my fitness horizons and take up classes again. Recently, this has taken the form of a tumbling class, which has the added bonus of rekindling my love for gymnastics

The cardio queen in me was feeling a bit underwhelmed by all this lifting and flipping so on Saturday morning, so I dragged B to the hardest cardio I could think of – a Barry’s Bootcamp class.

Barrys Image 1
Cardio Queens Unite 

Barry’s Bootcamp is self-described as a high-intensity interval workout (think HIIT) with “killer music” and “signature red lights”.  Upon arrival, we were eagerly greeted at the front desk, were given a locker and met the instructor. The instructor talked us through the workout split as the class requires specific moves to be performed at specific intervals/timing. We started on the floor with resistance bands and weights, then we moved to the treadmill, then back to the floor for arm, then off to the treadmills we went to finish the class.

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In my head this is what the red lights looked like…in reality they were just red light bulbs instead of white. 

Highlights included:

  • The treadmill and and the single touch option to switch incline/speed
  • The red lights
  • Full length mirrors to check form

I truly enjoyed the class but it was insanely challenging. I know that fitnesses classes work for me because someone else provides the rules. It’s easier to slack when I pick the pace for my HIIT so having someone tell me what to put the treadmill on and for how long prevents me from cheating myself.

I will definitely be taking another class at Barry’s but I will not be doing their recommended 3-5 classes a week. I love that the class gave me workout inspiration and I can now create a similar workout for myself at the gym (saving me a cool $40 per class).

Have you tried Barry’s? Did you love it or is it not for you?

Gym Leggings Battle Royalle

Since I began my post grad fitness journey I’ve been bribing myself to go to the gym with material things, cute athletic wear to be exact. More often than not I set myself to go to the gym x number of times within two or three month and when I meet my goal I go on a gym clothes shopping spree. I know I have a problem but I’ve also never been in better shape so what’s a girl to do?  Thanks to this rewards system and the instagram algorithm that keeps providing me with gym clothes inspiration I am now the proud owner of too many damn pairs of leggings. To make myself feel better about my MULTIPLE drawers of gym clothes I am ranking my online shopping purchases for you below.  Why am I only doing leggings? As a member of the itty bitty titty committee I don’t think I have any insight on the world of functional sports bras.  I am providing my height/measurements to provide you with a bit of context for my reviews. I am 5’1 (on my tiptoes), 110lbs and I have a 25.5/26 inch waist depending on how much cheese I have eaten in the last 48 hours.Alo

Alo Yoga Goddess Leggings in Lime Green  

Size: XSPrice: $98Let’s start with the most expensive. These were a Christmas gift (thanks mom, love you) and are ideal for at home yoga. Unfortunately they are a bit too low rise to wear to the gym and safely not show everyone my butt. Depending on the day, I could see myself wearing them to a public yoga class but they do give an aggressive camel toe. Besides the fit the only real issue I have with them is that they are not machine washable which in my world makes them semi-impractical since I can work up a sweat rolling out my mat.

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Gymshark –  Dreamy in Black

Size: XS Price: $42 I love the Dreamy leggings.  I don’t understand how pants this soft can be gym appropriate but they are. The material feels like a breathable mix of velvet and silk. If that texture description does not sound appealing to you – then think of the softest thing you own and make it about 50% less hot. These pettable pants do get a bit toasty so I would not wear them on a high cardio day unless you want to sweat it out. On the bright side while you are toasting your buns in these pants no one will see them because they are squat proof. As a shorty I like the cut of these – they are high waisted but don’t go all the way up to my ribs Kylo Ren style. The rest of the cut is fairly traditional.

mesh

Gymshark – Simply Mesh in Black

Size: XS Price: $46 I’m a big fan of Simply Mesh leggings because they let my hot little leggies breathe! These feel like high quality leotard material (if you are not a former dancer/gymnast think of it as high quality spandex) and the mesh down the back of the legs makes them airy while still keeping everything in tight. I gave these a try during my last leg day and they are definitely squat proof. In terms of the cut they are a bit long for me but the cut of the high waist is at the perfect spot just above my belly button. The highlight of the Simply Mesh for me is the mesh pocket on each thigh – I love having a place to put my phone while I’m at the gym.

Sculpture

Gymshark – Dry Sculpture in Black

Size: SPrice: $44I loved the look of these on the model but I think ordering the small instead of an xs tainted these for me.The material is a little too thick for me on a regular gym day but are perfect for a chilly morning run or hike through the presidio. They also have iphone sized pockets on the thighs making them great for the outdoors. Due to the thickness of the fabric they are 100% squat proof; I don’t even see the shine of elastane at the bottom of a squat. Since I ordered myself the incorrect size I have quite a bit of extra fabric in the crotch of the pants but other than that my mistake is barely noticeable so A+ to the design team. I tend to save these for days when I need a little extra room for my food baby.

ASOS 4505 Seamless Leggings in Yellow

Size: Petite SPrice: $40 (currently on sale for $24)Instagram made me do this. I saw these legging on @GraceFITUK & @meganngrubb and I was completely convinced that this set would light up my gym clothes collection. Contrary to the leggings mentioned previously I am a huge fan of bright colors in the gym to brighten up the whole event of working out. I think it may be obvious by now that I really wanted to love these but they’re already sitting pretty in my donate pile. My issues with these were that they were 100% see through to the point where I felt even going commando wasn’t an option. They also were not the right fit for my body. I could not get the waistband to stay up while doing any sort of cardio. One major pro is that even though they were damn near see through they did not show any sweat – whatever material they’re invented over there seems magical I just wish they made it a little thicker.  Those are the highs and lows of my most recent legging purchases. I hope my thoughts provided you with some insight into the online shopping for fitness clothes world. Let me know in the comments if you have any leggings you think I need to try!