ThoughtFull Musings 2

So, you're here because diet culture has you down...

*Trigger warning that dieting message will be discussed and named in this post. If this is uncomfortable for you, and you need support, please reach out to your trusted team. If you do not have a team, please email me back and I’ll do my best to help connect you.*

Hey there! Denise, your ThoughtFull nutrition counselor here! So glad you’re here. It’s the new year and maybe you’ve been told that you need to create a “new you”? Change all of your habits on January 1 to build a better life. Wouldn’t it be great if change happened like that? It takes a little more than starting on a day someone else told you. Habit changes have to happen on your time, when you are ready. Today, we are looking at diet culture and diet messaging; how they may be presented to you and how you might grow to respond to honor your body.

The dieting idea that your life will be better if you’d “just try it” doesn’t have any room here. This post is written to help you to be curious about what diet culture and diet messages are and how they can be harmful to your body. I’ll also do my best in supporting you in opening up thoughts to counter the unhelpful messages. So, without further ado, here are some definitions of how diets/diet thoughts can show up in your life. You get to set boundaries that support you; you get to use verbiage that supports you and honors your values.

So, here we go. Dieting and Diet culture can be presented as:

1. a moral rating of bodies fueled by health-isms and myths such as, “my body has to look a certain way for me to enjoy certain foods”

2. a system of social beliefs and expectations that values thinness above all; to have a thin body means you are inherently good and that you deserve more

3. labeling foods “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”, “superfood” or “junk food”; rates foods without your personal experience

4. values masculinity as a moral judgment; If my muscles don’t show I need to spend even more time at the gym and less time eating – adonis complex

5. food is earned; I went to the gym today so I can eat a slice of cake

6. the social belief that a ‘re-shaped’ body elevates status; before and after photos offer a higher social status and acceptance 

You are more than the body you live in. Yes, I recognize the privilege in that statement.  Hear me out. Your body is your only source of getting to do what you value and be whoever you choose. Without our body you wouldn’t be here. Some may argue “Shouldn’t I maintain these strict rules so I can still be accepted?” My response to that is “Are the things you’re doing to manipulate your body things that you want and are able to do long-term, well into old age? Are these things sustainable?” I also see the flip side to this argument that can keep us going in circles – “I want to maintain strength and ability in my body.” I get that. My role here is to get you curious about the sustainability of diet culture, because the only way for diet culture to sustain is to prey on your insecurities. You are more than your insecurities and what society pushes you to believe about yourself.

Below you’ll find some common phrases I’ve heard, maybe you’ve heard, and some less common reframes/responses to them. You are allowed to trust your body. If that seems too intimidating consider working with a nutrition counselor/dietitian, or therapist to explore more. 

Reframing Diet Culture Messages

1. a moral rating of bodies fueled by health-isms and myths such as, “my body has to look a certain way for me to enjoy certain foods”

 

1a. Harmful because it can take some joy out of eating. Instead, try: my body and taste buds are allowed to work together

 

2. a system of social beliefs and expectations that values thinness above all; to have a thin body means you are inherently good and that you deserve more

 

2a. Harmful because all bodies are deserving of equal care and weight stigma is a belief system that says some bodies don’t deserve equality. Instead, try: My body is allowed in the space that I need to take up to do the things I enjoy.

 

3. labeling foods “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”, “superfood” or “junk food”; assigning guilt, shame, and fear to certain foods

3a. Harmful because assigning “health” labels to food can create way more stress around eating. Instead, try: This food sounds good, and I understand how it will affect my body now and in the near future. I will/won’t choose it based on that experience. 

4. values masculinity as a moral judgment; If my muscles don’t show I need to spend even more time at the gym and less time eating – adonis complex

4a. Harmful because it takes away from you deciding what is best to serve your body and instills this idea that a socially acceptable body is worth denying your body of more positive care.

5. food is earned; I went to the gym today so I can eat a slice of cake

5a. Harmful because you need food to survive. Food is not earned for energy purposes, it is necessary; Instead, try: I went to the gym today and know I need to honor my body’s hunger cues, and a slice of cake sounds good. 

6. the social belief that a ‘re-shaped’ body elevates status; before and after photos offer a higher social status and level of acceptance 

6a. Harmful because weight cycling, usually a part of that ‘before-and-after’ process, increases negative health risks. The before-and-after process can also be stigmatizing in that you’re not good enough until you reach your “after.” Instead, try: I am allowed to try new things to encourage myself in my body. I can do what feels good for me.

ditch diet culture; reframe thoughts; diet; food; nutrition;

You deserve peace with your food choices and your body. That peace doesn't get to be controlled by anyone but you. I am hoping you're able to find some navigation tips through this post.

ThoughtFully,
Denise

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dietitian

Hi, I'm Denise!

I teach people like you to trust your body to cue you to when it needs to be nourished – body, mind, and spirit. I live in Midland, TX with my husband, 2 kiddos, and our beloved Beagle. I hope you’ll find an empowering message on this page. I trust you, let me guide you to healing and food confidence.

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