Diet culture is a way of thinking and eating that moralizes one self, choices, and lifestyle in regards to eating and this is largely what we have been taught.
To determine whether or not you have experienced diet culture ask yourself these questions.
Do you find yourself labeling food as good or bad?
Do you follow food rules or avoid certain foods or food groups?
Do allow yourself to eat more after you exercise because you have “earned” your food?
Do you ever justify your food choices? Well, I ate a salad so I can have dessert. I worked out so I can eat more. It is the holidays so I can eat x,y,z.
Do you feel like you need food rules to be successful with your eating?
Do you exercise to be able to eat more or to burn off poor food choices?
Do you stress about food, your body, or the number on the scale?
This is the culture of dieting and we often do one or more of the above whether we realize it or not. Sometimes these thoughts become so ingrained in us that we don’t even realize we are doing them.
Dieting in our culture has been redefined over the years with the primary focus of changing our bodies to make them either smaller or “better.”
Essentially our diet is the way we eat. Different cultures have different diets. When I read the book The Blue Zones a few years back (which didn’t have anything to do with counting calories or labeling foods as good or bad) it talked about diets in the world where life expectancy is higher, stress is lower and it had me thinking diets are just the way we eat.
Balance of food with grains, some meat, healthy fats, lots of veggies and fresh foods. To lower stress spend time outside and build a support community in your life.
But we have taken it to extreme and covered the way we eat with food rules and timing and shaming carbs and fats in turn developing an insanely unhealthy relationship with food.
It may not always feel easy but it is simple.
The diet is nothing fancy or complicated. It is moderate and listening to your body which I like to call the #moderationmindset.
Eat moderately. Be mindful. Focus on foods and habits that make you genuinely feel good.
Think about it like this.
Instead of focusing on eating food that is good or bad, eat food based on how it makes you feel. And we all want to feel good right? Physically and emotionally.
Eating in a way that leaves us neither deprived/restricted nor super stuffed and bloated. Eating in a way that leaves us not desperate for more but not guilty, regretful, or shameful about our choices.
This is adopting a #moderationmindset which essentially is just mindfulness around food. Thinking. Adjusting. Troubleshooting. Practicing and trying again.
This is a PRACTICE and if you have been struggling with your weight or stress around food for years what is one year of dedicating to this practice if you have been dieting for 15 years?