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. 

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!

Waking Up is Hard to Do

Unfortunately (or fortunately, I don’t know his life) I do not wake up in the morning feeling like P-Diddy. Instead, I wake up in the morning wishing I could go back to bed while still enjoying the pleasant calm of being up before everyone else. I’m a morning person but I suck at getting up in the am. It’s like being the extraverted introvert of morning people.

I’m serious, I love the morning the most. In an ideal world I would wake up at 5:30am, do my workout, shower, read the paper and enjoy hanging out with B before heading off to work. Lately, I haven’t even gotten myself out of bed for my 6 am run/yoga sesh let alone up early enough to check the news and panic about the orange monster. I want to be better at mornings. I don’t know if I’m just exhausted or if I’m reverting back to my lazy post grad self but it’s time to kick this sleeping in habit. To assist me in this coming home to mornings, I turned to my bff on all questions, Google.

Obviously to get up early, I have to go to bed early, which I usually do but I haven’t been actively applying all of my healthy sleep habits which has resulted in monstrous mornings.

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Monday (Going the Extra Mile)

To jump back into this I’m starting easy and using an old tactic, placing my alarm on the other side of the room. It’s times like these when I wish I had invested in “clocky” when he first came out.

Hardcore fail. Placing my alarm on the other side of the room was unsuccessful. Apparently the 20 thousand times I wake up in the middle of the night to pee has trained me to solve the problem and climb back under the duvet.

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Tuesday (Meditation)

Meditation always makes things better in my book.  Monday night before bed I meditated using my Calm app that I am obsessed with. Meditation definitely did not hinder my sleeping abilities but I still struggled to fall asleep. When my alarm (ie phone) went off on the other side of the room (consistency) I went and grabbed it then brought it back to bed with me like a crying baby. Four snooze attempts later I was up. Another epic fail.

Wednesday (You Have to Have a Plan)

At this point I was a little discouraged. What I used to do with ease I now could not muster. According to one of the many blogs I ready on waking up in the AM successfully having a plan was key. Tuesday night I visualized waking up Wednesday morning ready for my morning run. Wednesday morning I looked at B and said “Let’s be bed bugs instead”. This bed bug barely made it to her bus on Wednesday.

Thursday (Let it Go!)

After feeling shitty about myself on Wednesday day I decided that evening to let it go (see I told you I meditate). If I love mornings as much as I think I do I should be able to get up and enjoy them, not beat myself up over the ones I miss. Wednesday night I decided I didn’t need to get up early on Thursday to work out (but I could if I wanted) I just needed to get up with my alarm and greet the day. I could wake up and read Harry Potter (my favorite past time of all time), do some light stretching, get in a full HIIT workout or meditate (BUT NOT FALL BACK ASLEEP). Thursday morning I tried. I tried really hard. I hit snooze three times but by 6:45 am I was up. I didn’t get a workout in, I didn’t get any reading or writing done, but I had time to make my lunch because I forgot to #mealprep  AND I had time to have my coffee. Better than most mornings. Maybe all the stuff about slowly starting to get up earlier really does work…

Friday (Accountabilibuddy)

Thursday evening a catastrophic accident threw a wrench in my morning plans. There was a tragic weight lifting accident at the gym and my beloved iPhone did not make it out alive. Unfortunately, my iPhone is my alarm. Fortunately, I live with another human and he has a fully functioning iPhone and is naturally a morning person. Unfortunately, he sucks at tough love. Friday morning I once again slept until 6:50…which is better than 7 am…right?

Saturday (Consistency)

On weekends normally my rule is to get up by 8:30am BUT the internet told me that I need to get up at the same time every day if I want to be a successful morning person. Friday night, after an hour and a half trip to get my phone after work, I set my alarm for 7am. At 3am I woke up and changed my alarm to 7:45 am because I like to self-sabotage my success. Saturday morning I woke up, naturally at 7:30 am. Not proud but definitely not disappointed.

Sunday (Consistency)

Sunday is the day of rest. Since I had failed all week I threw myself a pity party and turned off my alarm. Naturally, I woke up at 7:30am.

Monday (Try Try Again)

I went to bed on Sunday happy after organizing my linen closet (I know, I live a riveting life) optimistic about Monday morning. I woke up Monday morning feeling like crap. You can’t win them all.

By Tuesday I had a cold that lasted until I went to SF on Friday…

Google failed me. I failed. I failed miserably. Does this mean I’m not a morning person? Maybe! But I’m going to keep trying and keep you updated as I do.

If you have any tips on waking up in the morning please leave them in the comments. I’m in desperate need….