By Tehila Traub. Tehila is a current undergraduate student at Morgan State University earning her bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences, with the goal to become a registered dietitian. Tehila is passionate about wellness and helping others. She looks forward to combining her shared passions in the field of dietetics. In her spare time, Tehila enjoys being active, trying new recipes, spending time with family, and volunteering.
Do you constantly feel like you need to lose weight? Need to try a fat burning tea? Do intermittent fasting that an influencer posted about? If so, you are not alone. All of these and more contribute to the “diet culture” in our society that is harmful to today’s generations and more to come if something does not change.
Diet culture is a term coined by a set of ideals of being “perfect” which glorifies thinness and appearance above health and wellness. Diet culture includes obsessive thoughts about restricting calories, labeling types of foods as “good” or “bad,” unhealthy standards to lose weight, and normalizing negative self-talk. Additionally, diet culture is a consistent pressure to track how much you can eat and control when you can eat. It displays exercise as a means to lose weight, rather than for goals of health or enjoyment!
Diet culture and negative body image have always been a part of our society; however, as social media, TV, and the influencer industry continue to grow, we see diet culture rearing its ugly head more than ever. Messages and ideas of poor body image are around us subconsciously all the time.
Unfortunately, diet culture promotes an unhealthy attitude towards body image and health. This can be dangerous and harmful to people of all ages, genders, and sizes. Diet culture can trigger disordered eating and make it a challenge to reset our mindsets. Media outlets and celebrities contribute to the evil cycle of diet culture by promoting unrealistic expectations of people’s bodies and eating habits.
Now that we understand the negative aspects that diet culture promotes, what can we do to change our mindset and break out of diet culture?
We can shift our mindset to a healthier and more positive approach to food and our body image.
Some tips on how to challenge diet culture and break free!
Learn about what your body needs
- Speak to your doctor or RD if you are concerned about your health
- Do your fact checking (Watch: How To Tell if a Scientific Source is Legitimate)
- Take advice only from licensed and credentialed professionals (Read: What’s the difference between “nutritionists” and Registered Dietitians?)
Speak out about the negative effects of diet culture with friends and family, online, and at work.
- Stand up against diet culture
- Talk about the importance of body positivity
Eat food that nourishes you and makes you happy.
- Decide what your body needs to feel good
- Be creative and find new foods from different cultures you wouldn’t have tried before
Change the language you use about food and your body.
- Choose to be conscious when speaking about your body
- Do not comment on others body, eating habits, or preferences
- Look at yourself in the mirror and say positive affirmations!
Learn about intuitive ways of eating.
- Speak to an RD about intuitive eating
- Join facebook groups and create friends who have the same positive outlook
Take breaks from social media.
Most importantly, trust your body and give it full permission to eat!
To learn more about breaking free from diet culture and respecting your body, reach out to a registered dietitian here at NYAN to speak about more ways we can help you be your best self!