10 Secrets the Diet Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know
WTF is diet culture?
“Diet culture” is a term for the system of beliefs that values weight, body shape, and body size over well-being.
This culture, diet culture, teaches you that your worth is tied up in your physical appearance. Sound familiar?
What’s worse is that “success” in diet culture’s terms is often defined by losing weight.
BTW you don’t have to be on a diet to be under the influence of diet culture.
Diet culture is hard to spot.
We’re so inundated with diet messages that they seem normal. They’re everywhere: social media, magazines, TV shows, podcasts, and medical offices. Can you relate?
In the last day, I bet you’ve seen “before-and-after” photos in your Instagram feed, ads for supplements to “reduce the bloat,” and pleas from a bride-to-be in a Facebook group asking how they can lose weight.
The worst part is that diet culture and diet manufacturers make you believe that you fail diets because of personal shortcomings.
But the reality is: diets fail because your body is wired to resist them. 🤯
Yep, it’s not your fault.
Diets teach you that you can’t trust your body.
You’re born an intuitive eater with the innate ability to know what to eat, and how much. But eating gets complicated when you believe that you need food rules and restrictions to be healthy.
Diets teach you that you can’t trust yourself around food. That you need to follow something to “keep yourself in check.” That you need to “watch” your weight. 👀
A diet program with rules and restrictions to improve your relationship with food? Seems like an oxymoron to me.
Can you tell that I think diet culture sucks? 😏
Diet fear-mongering, combined with all the nutrition info out there, creates more confusion. Doesn’t it stress you out?!
So here’s the ☕…
10 Things Diet Culture Doesn’t Want You to Know
Besides rules and restrictions, diet culture teaches you that there’s a “right” and a “wrong” way to eat and exist. It sets you up to feel like you’re not good enough. Like you’re the failure when a diet fails you.
That’s not true.
Here are 10 things that diet culture doesn’t want you to know:
The problem isn’t what you’re eating. Nope, the problem isn’t what you’re eating. It’s the way that you’re thinking about food, weight, and your body.
You can trust your body. Your body knows best, not some diet. In fact, not honouring your hunger cues and dieting can set you up for bingeing without even realizing it.
You’re already good enough. You’re not broken. You don’t need fixing. Somehow there’s always more to do. Right? As soon as you start one diet, you learn about a new and improved something else that you’re supposed to do next. It never ends.
A “lifestyle change” is still a diet. Diet culture is tricky. Diets are being repackaged as “lifestyles,” “detoxes,” and “cleanses.” All in the name of wellness. It’s not wellness. It’s diet culture. 🙄
Eating isn’t cheating. The concept of a “cheat day” comes from diet culture. Eating isn’t cheating. This language assumes that everyone is dieting. It treats eating what you feel like eating as the exception.
Your body is meant to change. Hello hormones. Bodies are wired to change. Weight fluctuates. That’s okay.
Restriction isn’t normal. Restriction in some form is the backbone of all diets. Restriction impacts your mental health, cognitive function, blood sugar, metabolism, and hormones, just to name a few. Do you have to cut something out? If the answer is yes, it’s a diet.
Stress eating or emotional eating isn’t a character flaw. The solution to stress eating or emotional eating isn’t another diet. With this approach, you’ll spend years trying to “control” your eating with no change.
Food is meant to be pleasurable. You’re taught how to diet, but not how to eat for enjoyment, satisfaction, and nourishment. Weird, huh?
Health is your body’s default state. It’s true. You can be healthy without giving up gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, grains, and/or processed food. You’re already on track. Your body doesn’t need to detox or cleanse to “get back on track.”
Ready to say goodbye to diet culture?
Do you see how diet culture has controlled the convo about health and wellness for way too long? Yeah?
The simple fact is: diets don’t work.
As I’ve described before, diets don’t lead to sustainable weight loss. They don’t lead to health improvements. And they certainly don’t lead to happiness.
Are you ready to try something different?
As a Non-Diet Nutritionist and Intuitive Eating coach, I don't believe in diet trends, counting calories, or maintaining a list of "good” and "bad” food.
With intuitive eating, there’s no “wagon” to fall off of.
A set of rules of what you’re allowed and not allowed to eat won’t help you have a balanced relationship with food.
The food rules work until they don’t.
I know you know what the diet-binge cycle looks like:
You feel good about following the rules until you can’t anymore.
You go off the plan and “cheat,” saying things like, “Well, I’ve blown it today. Might as well eat it all and start again tomorrow.”
You feel guilty and beat yourself up.
You start over and promise to have more “willpower.”
Does that sound about right?
Rather than dissect nutrition labels and “keep you on track” with a restrictive meal plan. I’d rather help you work through the beliefs, fears, and false info holding you back from honouring your body, listening to your intuition, and living with joy.
How can intuitive eating help you?
Intuitive eating is all about honouring you as the expert of your own body, rather than teaching you to rely on diet rules. It’s a set of tools, not rules.
Sound good, but still not convinced?
Letting go of dieting doesn’t mean that you’re “letting yourself go.” Nope. It gives you the ability to focus more on the things that matter in your life.
But even if you’re aware of the impact of diet culture, it’s hard to break up with it. Right?
How can you start your non-diet, intuitive eating journey?
Start by tuning in to your body—your hunger signals, appetite, emotions, thoughts, and feelings about food.
It can also help to surround yourself with non-diet messages. You can find me on Instagram over @thegoodyolk. Let’s be friends!
If you’re ready, one-on-one coaching can help. Claim your free 30-minute Discovery Session to see if The Good Yolk approach is right for you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meet Ellen Kaross (she/her), the Non-Diet Nutritionist and Intuitive Eating Coach behind The Good Yolk.
Ellen helps women-identifying folks uncover what their emotional eating can teach them, and find joy and balance in their relationship with food.
Her passion for advocacy informs her compassionate, non-judgmental approach.