Diet culture has become an incredibly toxic problem for our generation, yet nobody seems to talk about it.
This trend teaches us to hate our bodies and to follow eating patterns that are unattainable.
It has become increasingly common to hear girls brag about how little to no food they ate in a day — the sugar free vanilla iced coffee from Starbucks they had for breakfast, the stick of gum and apple they ate for lunch or that dinner is the only meal they will eat for the day.
Another common practice is to hear about the new weight loss trends and tricks that influencers are participating in. The morning tea that will make you lose five pounds in a week, the new water additives that boost your metabolism or the food diaries that only include one actual meal.
This is not healthy; this is a form of self deprivation.
The mentality of this in society equates losing weight or being “skinny” with beauty. It reinforces the concept that your self-worth is determined solely by the food you eat and a number on the bathroom scale.
Most bodies have a genetically determined weight range. When the body is restricted in nutrients and drops below that weight range, our bodies will do everything that they can to force you to eat and replenish the nutrients you’ve lost.
This causes people to binge eat, creating an unhealthy eating habit.
This is not only teaching people to restrict their food intake, but to be ashamed that they finally had to eat. Nobody should be taught to feel ashamed for taking care of their bodies.
Without a doubt, the utmost worst part of diet culture is that it trains people to hate their bodies. It tells us that if we do not have the ideal body then we aren’t good enough, that our self-worth and value is based on our outward appearances.
This could not be more wrong. Everybody has a body worthy of love.
Another horrible thing about diet culture is that it is so normalized in our culture, we do not even realize how bad it truly is.
Ask yourself, how many meals have I skipped this week? Now, how many did my friends skip? The answer should be zero. But I can guarantee that is not the case.
However, those answers are completely normal. Meal skipping and substitution are normal in our world. It is common to only have coffee for a meal. But this is extremely counterproductive.
Not following a regular eating schedule causes the body to burn calories at a significantly slower rate so that the sustenance it is receiving can last longer.
This can encourage weight gain rather than weight loss. Eating on a regular schedule will promote your body to burn more calories and boost your metabolism.
Additionally, the idea of restriction can deteriorate your overall health.
When limiting your body’s caloric intake so significantly, it will be easy for it to slip into many different nutrient deficiencies.
Forcing your body to undergo these nutrient deficiencies also encourages fatigue.
That is your body’s strategy for not being able to function properly.
We have to remember that our bodies need to be taken care of.
This means eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are full, not eating only when someone else may think that it is OK.
Food is something we should be able to enjoy, not be terrified of.
Life is too short to worry about counting calories. Eat the piece of pizza and don’t feel bad for enjoying something.