5 Ways to Avoid Diet Culture
Diet culture is a set of ideas and behaviours that promotes thinness and relates body weight to morality or health. Additionally, it is the prism through which beauty is frequently perceived and defined. In other words, diet culture reflects group standards based on what is considered “hot” or “perfect” at the time. The saddest aspect of diet culture is how it sets consumers up for failure and disappointment Since the “perfect body” doesn’t actually exist. Only frustration and a persistent worry that we aren’t “enough” as we are will be caught if we keep chasing after it.
The “ideal” has changed throughout time and across the decades, much like the fashion industry. More body fat did not have the negative connotations it does today in the 1500s (this is seen throughout famous paintings in that era). Rather, it was originally thought to be a sign of prosperity and good health. Additionally, women’s beauty standards changed over time, moving from voluptuous and curvy to hourglass to supermodel-like shapes. Today, it seems that getting “ripped” and lifting large weights are more popular.
This is not to say that men’s criteria of attractiveness have not evolved as well. In the 1960s and 1970s, having a slimmer body type was admired. The “standard” today is bulky and muscular. Even children’s action figurines reflect this; GI Joe was small-framed in the 1980s; by the early 2000s, those same figures had increased tremendously.
These standards, combined with the ubiquitous diet culture myths, are a persistent source of outside pressure that sends the message that we are not good enough. Instead, we must realise that it is acceptable to want to improve our bodies in a healthy way while also realising that there is nothing inherently wrong with how we are right now. It’s known as body harmony.
Rejecting Diet Culture’s Messages
The messages in this article are not the only ones related to diet culture. What follows, however, is a collection of the most typical diet culture myths that tend to derail us and make us doubt our “enoughness” for certain things. Let’s look at these messages and see how we might think differently about these lies. nawazpanda.com
Consuming bread is unhealthy
Consuming bread is unhealthy and leads to weight gain. It’s not horrible bread. It is a main ingredient in many dishes. Additionally, it is a tasty food item that contains nutritious ingredients (depending on fibre and micronutrient content). Bread by itself won’t directly lead to weight gain. The main cause of weight gain is excessive calorie consumption. If you don’t have a bread allergy, feel free to indulge. Select whole grain options and combine them with natural nut butter, cheese, or another protein and/or fat for improved blood sugar management
Sugar is toxic
The key takeaway should be that consuming too much sugar can be dangerous. An individual may get dental difficulties, vitamin deficiencies, and troubles with blood sugar regulation if they consume too much sugar during the day. It is permissible to consume sugar in moderation, such as in desserts.
Eat healthy food at all times
The dichotomous thinking in this statement—that meals are either excellent or terrible or clean or dirty—raises the first red flag. Food has no moral significance. Food serves as nourishment, fuel, and food. The word “always” is the subject of the second worry. Humans cannot consistently act in one manner or another, continuing to do so without “slips,” indefinitely. Last but not least, there is no definite definition of what “clean” is. Would that be organic? Does this imply that all foods must be entire and unpackaged? It is interpretable in various ways. Instead of removing or cutting out items, the emphasis should be on including more nutrient-dense foods (such as fruits, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, and lean proteins) in the diet. Food isn’t filthy or unhealthy. Food is often either nutrient-rich or high in energy. It can be either or both.
Weight loss is a positive step
Body weight is useless as a standalone statistic because it does not represent health or disease. In fact, severe weight loss may indicate an illness or functional issue. We must consider measures such as blood pressure, mineral storage, sleep fitness, stress levels, mental health, body composition, resting heart rate, body temperature, etc. in order to fully describe health. No one’s health, but rather how they relate to gravity, is represented by their weight.
Exercise to lose weight
Nobody has to work for their food. Since we are physical beings, it is necessary for us to eat in order to even maintain our health and body weight. Here, it’s crucial to be aware of and respect hunger cues, maintain a reasonable caloric intake, and engage in frequent exercise and NEAT movement (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or the calories burned by the movements we make when we go about our daily business). Exercise is not a way to earn a pizza slice or as a punishment for eating dessert. Food cannot be used as payment for labour. Enjoy, eat, and move.
We probably won’t eradicate diet culture or the insane ideas it propagates. What we can do is expose them for what they are and call them out on it. Diet culture is all about restriction and image. Finding a balance between what your body needs and what you enjoy is the foundation of a valid, efficient, and scientific approach to obtaining optimal health. This requires patience and behaviour adjustment. Fitness and health are more about your relationship with your body than with your physical appearance. Our strength lies in this.