why do i post so much about diet culture? because whether we realize it or not, diet culture affects us all–so talking about diet culture is for everyone.
diet culture is not just disordered eating or crippling body shame. via its adoption into mainstream medicine, diet culture has taught us that “healthy” looks a certain way or is determined by a number on a scale.
why is that a problem? because, aside from the fact that neither of those things is an accurate assessment of health, it means that we have not been taught how healthy feels.
diet culture accustoms us to being out of tune with our bodies, doing what doesn’t feel good (like exercising when we need rest) and not doing what does (like eating dessert). and if we’ve tuned out our bodies, we can’t hear them, whether they’re telling us they’re feeling great or that they’re struggling.
i recently asked a friend what information he gets from the scale when he weighs himself. he explained that his weight tells him whether he is healthy or needs to lose lbs. i asked how he knows what number is “healthy,” and he responded that he uses the weight at which he felt his best — when he was sleeping well, moving with ease, making nourishing food choices, etc.
when i pointed out the possibility that he had felt good at that time because of the exact indicators of health he was describing, my friend agreed. so i followed up: how would he feel if he was experiencing these same markers of good health but the number on the scale was higher than his “ideal”?
he didn’t have a response.
beyond its impact on our individual wellness, diet culture has also normalized weight stigma and body shaming — which propels folks on the receiving end of (medically authorized) fatphobia directly back into the diet culture pipeline, hoping to “fix” their bodies, get “healthy” or protect themselves emotionally from judgement and abuse.
we deserve better than diet culture — we deserve *true* health. the goal of the anti-diet practitioner is to empower folks to reexamine their programming with a critical eye, to help them reclaim their body autonomy and health, and to advocate for those who can’t yet advocate for themselves.