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Lets Talk About Diet Culture

todayJuly 28, 2021 18

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By Autumn McGowan
Web Content Contributor

As a disclaimer, I am not a dietician or nutritionist. I am just a person making observations based on my own experiences with diet culture.

Christy Harrison M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., a self-proclaimed anti-dietician, podcast host, and certified intuitive eating counselor says that diet culture is “a system of beliefs that worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue, promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others, and oppresses people who don’t match up with its supposed picture of ‘health’.”

Diet culture is a big part of what I like to call my programming. We all have programming; ideals that were ingrained in our brains at some point in our lives either by society or by those around us.

Growing up I remember low-calorie snack packs, workout tapes, and low-carb foods being scattered around my parents’ house. In the media back then (and today as well), thin bodies dominated magazines and runways. One of my friends tried the “snickers diet” where she froze a snickers bar and ate only small portions of it throughout the day.

I did not know it at the time but witnessing all of these things culminated in disdain for my body. I spent the next decade engaging in harmful diets and obsessive exercise in a kind of yo-yo pattern.

I internalized diet culture and it manifested in my viewing food like currency. “If I do this workout now, I can have this treat later.” Exchanging food for an output on my part linked it with worthiness in my head. If I don’t do the work, I am not worthy of the food. I had learned that some foods were “bad,” and others were “good.”

Diet culture can be tricky to tackle, especially in a society that still upholds its value. Beauty standards have changed slightly, but overall, there is still a huge market that benefits from people disliking their bodies.

What I have learned though, from consciously starting to de-program diet culture, is that all bodies truly are beautiful. There is not one desired standard for all bodies, how could there be? All bodies are different and require different nutrition and care.

Something that helped me was diversifying my social media feeds. I unfollowed a lot of influencers on Instagram and started following public figures with similar body types to mine.

The body positivity movement was also pivotal for me in reshaping my beliefs about my body. I believe that having a community while doing any type of healing is so important, but be wary of taking mainstream things as gospel, and be sure to follow what resonates with you personally.

For more information check out The Health at Every Size Community.

Featured Image by Autumn McGowan 

Written by: ktsw899

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