In a world obsessed with achieving the “perfect” body, it’s time to pause and reflect on the damaging effects of diet culture. We are constantly bombarded with messages about what to eat, how to look, and what constitutes beauty. This hyper-focus on unrealistic body standards, and the normalization of restrictive diets, has led to widespread fractured relationships with food.
Diet culture promotes the belief that our worth is tied to our appearance, fostering an unhealthy preoccupation with weight and body shape. It perpetuates the idea that certain foods or activities are “good” or “bad” – a mindset that can lead to guilt, shame, and negative self-image. Besides the ill effects on mental health, the fad diets and exercise regimens promoted in diet culture can have a variety of negative effects on physical health as well.
How can you start to repair your relationship with food?
Embrace intuitive eating: You can start by learning to listen to and honour your body’s hunger cues. This can be tricky if you’re used to followed a prescribed routine, but giving yourself permission to eat without judgement is the first step.
Cultivate body acceptance: Our bodies are constantly working, keeping us alive and moving. Accepting and appreciating your body in its current form, rather than chasing a number on a scale, is a great act of self-love, and a great step away from diet culture.
Reject comparisons: In the era of social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, including yours. Unfollow accounts that promotes unhealthy diets, or trigger negative self-talk.
Breaking free from diet culture is a transformative process that requires self-compassion, patience, and willingness to challenge societal norms. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorder Information Center hotline and live chat is available.
Live chat: nedic.ca