Why Diet Culture May be Sabotaging Your Progress
Two out of three women who go on a journey to get healthy and lose body fat end up sinking back to hold habits.
It's flat out frustrating and causes many people to throw away their progress instead of pushing forward.
It makes you think... with all these so called revolutionary diets and notable weight loss gurus, why is it that people are still out here having a hard time reaching their healthy lifestyle goals?
I'll tell you why.... diet culture, and the lack of factual information.
Where did diet culture come from
Diet culture was built on the belief that a thinner body type is more ideal and more valuable. It also categorizes food by good and bad based on its contribution to your outward appearance.
Diet culture has helped businesses generate millions of dollars and further influences diet thinking within our society.
The promotion of thin bodies, weight loss, diet gimmicks etc, now leaks into our consciousness because you can't get away from it.
Think about it... when's the last time you went to the check-out isle in the grocery store without seeing magazines plastered with "How to lose 20 lbs in 10 days," or keto this, low carb that.
Or why is it that the some of the most popular searches on social media have to do with juice cleanses, water fasting, keto dieting and detoxing?
The scary part is, people see all of these diet culture influences so regularly that most people aren't asking questions or seeking truth.
Although some information is helpful, we live in a time where people accept information without digging to the root. Which is ironic because you would think that when it comes to your health you would be a little more particular about who or where you get your information from.
Are we psyched out?
Diet culture has trained a lot of us to believe that health and weight loss are synonymous... and that somehow, everything we put in our mouth should only contribute to our physical appearance.
This way of thinking has us doing things like:
Replacing our real food with powders for the sole purposes of losing weight.
Comparing our bodies to other women's.
Getting procedures to meet this ideal standard we've been tricked to believe is the only version of beautiful.
Getting straight out of the bed to see if the scale went down .3 lbs.
Thinking holidays birthdays and vacations are a "break" from our efforts to get become better versions of ourselves.
"Making room" for meals and "burning off" the excess when in reality, most of us don't eat enough to truly gain body fat from food alone (healthy or not).
The bottom line is, diet culture is REAL and has been embedded in American society for generations. It has sunken so far into our consciousness that sometimes we can't detect where our decisions are coming from.
The good thing is, because of technology and access to more information, some of the diet culture influences are making shifts, specifically food marketing.
Food marketing is getting smarter as we get smarter.
That's why you see so much food packaging with big eye-catching labels like "high protein," "only 5g of sugar," "low fat," "gluten free," "made with...," but when you flip the box around and actually read the rest you'll find the truth.
And don't get me wrong, sometimes the truth is that you actually find a good product with minimal ingredients and additives -- and for a bonus... words you can actually pronounce.
But sometimes the truth is ugly, and you'll find that the ingredients you're consuming are unhealthy or way more than you expected.
For example - a package with the label that promotes "high protein" may also have 40g of sugar and tons of extra chemicals.
That's why I encourage people any chance I get to read labels. That way you can at least start making more informed decisions.
Diet culture is not set up for you to care about what's going on internally.
The gag is, it's the internal stuff that's causing the challenges, and what people don't know is causing more harm than good.
Hormone imbalance, processed sugar, toxins, heavy metals, mucus build up and even insulin resistance are causing people to play this yo-yo diet game even when they try to break their own physiological and psychological cycles.
When in reality, it's more than likely that you have some internal healing and knowledge seeking to do in order to help you make some real, long-lasting change.
First of all, if you're doing anything that goes extremely against your normal every day lifestyle... (ex: no sugar, no alcohol, no carbs, only this, only that etc.) STOP NOW! The extreme route may shave a couple pounds off the scale initially but won't help you in the long run when those restrictions slack up a bit.
Instead think about the things you actually like. Are you a snacker? Do you like sweets? Are you a pasta person? Do you love soda (or pop for my midwesterners)?
Once you narrow that down, then figure out from that list of things you like, what may not be contributing to your healthy lifestyle?
Now... don't just jump to cutting that/those thing(s) out, instead do a little research. What effects do those snacks, that pasta, those sweets have on your mind and body? What ingredients are in the things you're consuming? What have you been taught to think about those things?
Start with information. Soul search a little bit. Knowledge is power. Use it to put yourself in control. After all, it is YOUR body and YOUR health.
The more you know, the more you're able to make informed decisions. Don't let diet cultured thinking entangle you in a web of decisions that solely have to do with body image and restriction.