Have you ever wondered what is healthy eating? It’s certainly not diet culture. We’re going to take a deep dive into why diet culture is bad, while also discussing mindful eating practices that anyone can incorporate into their daily life.
So What Exactly is Diet Culture?
Diet culture doesn’t exactly mean “being on a diet”; it's more of a mindset reflecting our relationship with food. Diet culture has many definitions, but it's basically a set of beliefs that prioritize thinness and the appearance of your body above your health and well-being. It places importance on calorie restrictions and cutting out food from diets, by equating the appearance of your body with health and confidence.
The basis of diet culture is that it convinces us that some foods are “bad” and that we are bad for eating them. Consequently, we begin to think too deeply about our food choices and how they reflect on us. We begin to rack our brains when we are choosing what to eat, and feel guilty if we decide to consume our cravings or comfort foods. With these thought processes in place, diet culture inevitably makes us feel good only when we choose sugar-free, low-carb, low-calorie options that are deemed as “healthy”.
"The basis of diet culture is that it convinces us that some foods are “bad” and that we are bad for eating them."
Keep in mind that some people may eat in a way that they refer to as a diet for serious medical reasons, and may not actually be engaging in diet culture.
Why is Diet Culture Bad?
Diet culture encourages rules and restrictions about what, when, and how much to eat. It leads people to feeling shameful about their bodies and their food choices.
Furthermore, diet culture promotes a stigma and discrimination against certain body types, which damages our psychological and physical health; this is reinforced by thousands of diet plans or restrictive food plans. Not only does it glorify losing weight, it also advocates for calorie cutting, elimination diets, and programs that advertise weight loss pills, detoxes, cleanses and shakes.
Array of Food
“Diet culture encourages rules and restrictions about what, when, and how much to eat.”
Don’t fall for those social media influencers advertising supplements and diets! Most, if not all, of the time, these influencers are being financially compensated for their sponsorship, and don’t even use the products they endorse.
Diet culture also normalizes disordered eating, which is being afraid of eating certain foods, and valuing your weight. By placing thinness as the ideal body image and the prime example of beauty and value, we start to believe that being thinner is worth pursuing at all costs. We become convinced that eating a certain way will result in a certain body size, and that this body size is attainable for anyone who is “determined” and dedicated enough.
And another thing-- diet culture tends to lead to a lot of negative self-talk. When we don’t fulfill the “ideal” body type, or are unsatisfied with the number that we see on our scales, we get mad at ourselves. Here at Toasty, we are strong supporters of self-love and positivity-- which is another reason why we disagree with the concept of diet culture.
"Let’s get one thing straight. Thinness does not equal health."
How to Combat Diet Culture
Let’s get one thing straight. Thinness does not equal health. You can combat diet culture by raising awareness to end shaming and discrimination against body types. We must remember that it is extremely harmful to diet to be thinner, because of the mental and physical toll it’ll have on our bodies.
We should eat in ways that aren't completely disciplinary-- order that yummy alfredo bowtie pasta from that Italian restaurant down the street, and dig into the artfully decorated red velvet cupcake from the bakery in the Mission district. Don't waste your valuable energy obsessing over food choices, calories, and macros-intake.
There are bigger and more important things to be thinking about than stressing over the way we look and how we eat.
Eating with Happiness
“Don't waste your valuable energy obsessing over food choices, calories, and macros-intake.”
Healthy Alternatives to Full-On Dieting
Here at Toasty, we believe healthy eating is intuitive and mindful eating. We encourage you to honor your hunger, and let your body guide you in what and how much you should eat. Learn to follow your body’s internal cues to discover what you want to eat and what would satisfy your body.
If you don’t know what to eat, look into supporting businesses that advocate for body positivity and offer yummy but nutritious food, like Toasty. You can order something off of Uber Eats and have it delivered to your doorstep, or get some exercise steps in by picking up your food at Toasty.
Toasty's Avocado Toasts
Something really amazing about Toasty's avocado toast in particular, is that it includes so many food groups--such as vegetables, grains, and protein-- to provide just the right amount of nutrients your body needs to stay energized and ready to take on the world.
Live Your Life According to You!
It’s time for a little more self-love.
Reminder: there is no uniform body size, and not every figure is attainable. We all must listen to our bodies and eat what we feel will benefit us most. No method of eating, no diet is intrinsically “right”. We should not feel bad about ourselves or judge others for what they eat. Our team at Toasty believes we should pursue health and wellness in a way that strengthens and liberates your body instead of punishing it. Food is medicine; eat to nourish your body. Practice mindful eating. Your body will thank you.