Ditching Diet Culture

Okay guys I'm literally in tears (partly b/c the greek restaurant I am typing this in is cooking some super strong onions right now) but mostly because this is my awesome intern, Zoe Halbert's, last week with Nom-Nomaste! To wrap up she decided to do one last blog post.

Zoe Halbert
Coordinated Program in Dietetics
The University of Texas at Austin

Let’s face it! Diet culture is everywhere; including social media, the grocery store, the gym, magazines, televisions, and even in schools. It can seem impossible to get away from the diet mentality that surrounds us. As you are on your journey to making peace with food, how is it possible to ditch diet culture for good?

It may be difficult to get away from diet culture 100%, but there are some things you can try to reduce its influence on your own life.

Surround Yourself with Support

Who you spend time with matters. Recognize the people in your life that share your values and support you as you work towards having a healthy relationship with body image and food. Connect with others walking the same path via social media. There may still be people in your life that are not as supportive or have their own negative relationship with food, but having some support will help on your journey.

Don’t engage in Diet Talk

Diet talk is so acceptable in our society and it can be difficult not to get sucked in. When it does come up, try to shift the conversation. For example, if your friend says she is trying to lose weight for her next vacation, redirect the conversation by asking her where she is going and what she plans to do there. If someone you spend a lot of time with continues to bring up diet talk you may want to have a conversation with them about how that makes you feel and that you would rather discuss other topics with them.

Check who you’re following

Pay attention to who you are following on Instagram, twitter, or any other social media site. If their posts make you feel any doubt, unworthiness, or negativity about your food choices or body, click unfollow. Find accounts that encourage self-care and body positivity, and that truly are in line with your values. Try to create a feed that displays diversity and true representation of how the world looks.

Fact Check

Next time you hear “gluten makes you gain weight,” “carbs are bad for you,” or any other diet myth being perpetuated, take a second, pause, and fact check. Remember that diets don’t work and no food group needs to be taken out of your diet for you to be healthy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of this ideal that the weight loss industry thrives on; just eat this and you will be happy and thin. The truth is, no diet or amount of weight loss leads to self-acceptance or health.

Throw out the scale

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Smash it with a sledge hammer, throw it out a window, or just toss it in the trash. Banish the idea that your weight has to be micromanaged. If you can, get rid of anything that reminds you of diet culture whether it be the scale, clothes that don’t fit, or magazines that promote weight loss. Write positive affirmations somewhere you will see them every day and have reminders of how amazing you are and to be gentle with yourself.  Make your living space a diet culture free zone.

 Prioritize true self care

Self-care means doing what is best for you and your overall health. Some days it’s moving your body in a joyful way, others it’s eating cake with someone you love, and sometimes it may mean taking a bubble bath. Basically, it looks a little different everyday depending on what your needs are (nourishment, sleep, anxiety relief, comfort, accomplishing tasks, connection, personal development etc.). Remember that feeding yourself in a way that nourishes your body, mind, and soul as well as speaking kind words about yourself are acts of self-care.

We as individuals may not be able to end diet culture alone, but by cutting it out of our own lives as much as possible, collectively we can begin to shift the future towards a culture of self-love and body positivity.  

For more on ditching diet culture follow Nom-Nomaste on Insta!

And check out more from Zoe here