Something I discuss often in my book, as well as on my Instagram page, is diet culture. You know, the constant pressure or emphasis on making yourself as small as possible, while eating as little as possible and moving as much as possible. And while I know that not everyone here struggles with disordered eating, consistently poor body-image, or compulsive exercise, nearly all of us have had some experience with diet culture in American society.
These beliefs and ideologies have been instilled in most of us from the time we were young. We have been bombarded with weight-loss programs, “ideal” bodies, pressures to conform, and more. And for a long time, we all just accepted it as truth. It hasn’t been until recently that people have begun to challenge the status quo. However, unlearning everything we have ever known isn’t simple.
Personally, I hate diet culture. It is like that toxic friend. The kind of friend that is initially so sweet and inviting, making it seem as though they will only ever have your best interest in mind. Then, as time goes on, you come to find that their “kindness,” is only self-serving. This is diet culture. It acts as though it wants you to succeed, then takes your money, resources… mental well-being, and blames you for it.
So, while I entirely support the idea of leaving diet culture in the past, I don’t think it is realistic to ask people to do this without providing some more guidance on how to do so. And maybe, you are someone who is ready to leave it all behind. Maybe you are over dieting or being overly critical of your body. It is exhausting, but maybe you are scared to venture into the world of intuitive eating and body neutrality due to a lack of guidance. This is reasonable. However, initial doubts and fears should not stop you.
Here are five small ways you can move on from diet culture immediately:
- Identify your reason why it is time to leave it behind and consider where you could be without it.
- Release the need for control. This means, deleting calorie tracking apps, forgetting “perfectly” balanced meals or macros, and eating when you are hungry, rather than when it is scheduled.
- Set up an environment that is supportive of your new goals. Throw-out the kitchen and bathroom scales, find clothing that moves with your body, rather than restricts it, surround yourself with those who care for you as a human being, not as a vessel, remove full-length mirrors, and give yourself permission to learn as you go.
- Recognize that this is a journey. You have spent a lifetime engulfed in diet culture. It will take time to heal. Time marked by great victories, and some setbacks, and that is okay. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself.
- Invest in yourself. Use the newfound mental freedom to enjoy your interests, find new hobbies, rest, spend time with loved ones, start that new business venture, or even just save money.
This is a process, but it is possible. Please consider my coaching opportunities if you may need more one-on-one support. You deserve freedom.