This article was originally written for The Positivity Charge.
Diet culture is a term that is thrown around on social media and articles, often with different definitions. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Hannah Griffith, defines diet culture as “a society that focuses on and values weight, shape, and size over health and well-being”. Meaning that, as a society, we place emphasis on “thinness” and preference of certain body types. You take one quick look through any magazine and you’ll see pictures of photoshopped models, quick fix diet trends like “detoxes” or click-bait headlines that promise losing 10 pounds in a week. If diet culture and the diet industry worked, it wouldn’t be a $72+ BILLION dollar industry. Here are 5 things this dietitian wants you to stop doing.
Stop Feeling Guilty Over Food
Food is life. You cannot live without it and you have to be able to enjoy it. Every culture has foods they celebrate and mourn with. Food defines us. And when we feel guilty and shamed over it, it causes more harm than good. Diet culture prays on the fears that we have been conditioned to believe through years of fad diets and sensationalism in the media. It makes you think that if you could just fit into that dress size or be that particular number on the scale, then you would be happier and healthier.
Stop Denying Your Cravings
The more you deny, the more you crave! Being in tune with your body means that you can enjoy that cookie and move on with your life. A cookie will not, I repeat WILL NOT derail your life. Putting the craving off, on the other hand, can lead to binge eating, making you feel worse. So don’t deny your cravings.
Stop Comparing Your Body To Others
Your body is unique to YOU. I am sure you have all seen the memes of different women in different body types that are all the same weight, yet they ALL look different. Stop comparing yourself to others, love yourself. The wellness industry often tries to disguise weight loss as healthy. But ask yourself: why do you have to be a certain size or a certain weight to be happier? Would you TRULY be happier if you were that weight or size? Do you really need to restrict or worse starve yourself to reach that goal? And most important of all, what does health mean to you?
Stop Allowing the Number on the Scale Determine Your Happiness
It is important to focus less on the number on the scale and more on how you feel, because when you live in a constant state of fear of what the scale says, you stress yourself out. That scale will always be different every time you step on it. It will vary from day to day depending on how much you moved, how much you drank, and even if you have gone to the bathroom. Again, that number on the scale is subjective. It does not define you! Throw away the scale and do not look back.
Stop Ignoring Internal Cues From Your Body (hunger, fullness, and satisfaction)
HONOR YOUR HUNGER! So many people are afraid of hunger, but hunger is GOOD. it tells you your body needs energy. It fuels you. And also honor your fullness, your body is born with the ability to tell you when you are full, listen to it. And satisfy your body, food can be so satisfying and joyful.
The take home here, honor yourself. Diet culture wants to fit you in a mold. You are an individual. Listen to your body and do what is best for you. If you have to pay a lifetime membership in order to stay thin, then it’s not worth it. If you have to restrict yourself in order to stay thin, then it’s not worth it. I challenge you to think of what health actually looks like for YOU and not anyone else. When you are able to define health for yourself, you are able to stop comparing yourself to others and are able to find acceptance, happiness, and well being. Time to ditch diet culture and move on with your life enjoying food without shame!