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  • rebecca89503

Breaking Up With Diet Culture

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

I do not remember when I first started to feel unsafe in my own body but I imagine it was quite some time before I went on my first diet aged 19, it is hard not to in the society that we live in.

Girls, and boys, don’t just decide to hate their bodies, it is not something they are born to do.

We teach them to do it.

Everywhere they look, girls pick up on the message that their body is not ok.

Social media, the TV, magazines, the internet…

Too much value is placed on a woman’s figure over brains and personality.

Which makes us vulnerable to diet culture.

Whilst I never went on a particular, branded diet, I severely restricted my food.

I then became stressed, obsessed and anxious around it. I also exercised constantly and was praised for my ‘healthy’ discipline which just fuelled my disordered habits.

I was initially complimented for my weight loss which reinforced the idea that the slimmer I became, the happier and more liked I would become.

Which is of course a complete fantasy, one that most of us have or hold on to.

Just one more diet and I will feel amazing!

Just one more diet and I will be able to relax….

That day never comes. And if it does, it certainly never lasts because no-one can be happy at a weight that caused so much pain and misery to achieve.

There is a piece of work that I often get my clients to do when we first work together to help highlight this, to help them break up with and make peace with diets.

We create a diet timeline to illustrate how many diets they have been on over the years and how they have failed (unless your aim was to lose temporarily then regain…). It is important to note here that it is the diet that always fails YOU, not the other way around. The diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry for a reason.

A timeline also highlights how diets actually cause weight to increase over the years demonstrating how diets do more harm than good!

In fact, so many clients look back and wish they were the weight they were when they first went on a diet as they reflect on the weight fluctuations experienced over the years.

This is what is known as weight cycling. Not only is this damaging to our mental health as it is associated with anxiety and depression, it is also a risk factor for heart disease and some cancers. These illnesses are usually blamed on weight alone but it is the cycling of weight and linked behaviours that are actually the issue.

Weight cycling is also strongly linked to binge eating. As I often tell clients, if you want to stop binging, stop dieting!

But it is often so hard to let go of the fantasy that the perfect one is out there for you….so the next time you are tempted, start that timeline and let the facts speak for themselves!

Start by recording your age when you went on each diet. Then the reasons why, what rules it entailed, how long it lasted, whether you lost weight and if so, how much. Then ask yourself the 64 million dollar question - how long did you keep it off for? And did you end up regaining more than you lost?

It is a VERY insightful task and I would love to hear from you if you do give it a go.

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