There is perhaps no woman in modern culture more celebrated or reviled than the woman who eats whatever she wants and doesn’t gain weight. We all know someone like that, but for the most of us, dieting has never been about health. Dieting has been about being thinner, and therefore prettier, and therefore happier.
Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? There’s this unattainable and rigidly narrow Western beauty ideal to which many of us often compare ourselves to, and quite frankly conform to. This “concept” or “idea” has become dominant in our culture — often in ways we don't even notice. We’ve all fallen into that trap, including us here at the Olve. Though we strive to provide tips on fitness to mindful eating hacks, we also realize how this can contribute to the bigger problem. What we want to make sure we emphasize is health, however, we are also guilty of getting caught up in what might be the 'ideal'. So, what is Diet Culture? We loved how Good Housekeeping framed it “it’s the lens through which most of us view beauty, health, and our own bodies; a lens that colors your judgments and decisions about how you feel and treat yourself.” In a nutshell, diet culture places thinness and attractiveness over physical health and emotional well-being which can be toxic leading to body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and other mental health issues.
In our society, we see diet culture at every turn. Magazines, Instagram and other social media platforms, billboards, fashion advertisements, TV, movies - the list goes on. Through this and other means, we end up questioning ourselves and our self-worth.
Justification of eating what we want because we “haven’t eaten all day” or “had a intense workout this morning”;
The never-ending cycle of thought, “I’ll start my diet/exercise routine on Monday/tomorrow”;
Complimenting others on their size/shape/weight loss;
Comparing our bodies to others’ and deriving worth (ie. “I am better than her because I am thinner” or “She must be better than me because she is thinner”)
Oh man, if I ate like that every day I’d be ____”
“They’d like me more if my body was ___”
“Well, in high school I weighed X but haven’t been able to get back to that since.”
The bottom line is that Diet Culture over promises and under delivers. We did some research and found a few websites that had some interesting tips to help identify and move away from Diet Culture.
Clean up your social media feeds. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel like you’re not doing enough or who shares diet culture messages. Then follow more non-diet, body positive accounts including accounts that showcase a diverse range of colors, sizes, genders and abilities.
Reject diet culture – change the language you use around food, bodies and health. Use the check-in “Would I say this to a friend?” before you say or think something to yourself. The voice we hear the most is our own, so we want to speak kindly.
Speak out against diet culture, or support those who do. There are more and more celebrities and influencers celebrating realistic and healthy body standards - not conforming to the societal norms we have held ourselves to.
Unlearning diet culture and relearning how to nourish and treat your body from a place of respect is hard work! When you start to recognize diet culture in everyday life, you’ll want to adhere to a more healthy lifestyle - mentally and even physically. Following healthy eating habits starts with making more informed decisions about what is best for you and your body.
We shouldn't define ourselves or base our worth on the size and shape of our bod. We should be happy with ourselves and confident. It is not easy - but it starts with supporting each other. Not judging or trying to fit into a single mold. We don't want this for us or the future generation of women. Adjust your crown and you be you!
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Information sourced: https://behavioralnutrition.org/what-is-diet-culture/ and https://alissarumsey.com/intuitive-eating/what-is-diet-culture/