Life, Nutrition, Wellness

How to Leave Diet Culture Behind… For Good.

The Keto Diet, The Low Calorie Diet, The Atkins Diet, High Protein Diet, The 20/20 Diet, Whole 30 Diet, WHEN IS IT GOING TO END??

I swear every year there is some new diet trend that people are trying, raving about, losing weight and feeling great… until there not. Until they gain back all the weight and more that they started with, there deprived, restricted, feel lousy, their confidence and self-esteem go straight down, their metabolism is completely compromised and your left with frustration. Frustration that diet culture has let you down not once but twice, or 3 + times and you feel like losing weight is absolutely impossible.

Ladies…. its not your fault. Diet culture tricks you into believing a cleanse, a detox, a 30 day cut, will give you those long term, sustainable results you’ve been longing for. Diet culture tells us that the ONLY way you will ever be happy and live an amazing life is to be skinny. Diet culture tells us that being thin means being healthy and fit. It tells us that certain foods are clean and good, while others are the devil and should be avoided at all costs. It tells us were only allowed to have a cheat day once a week or otherwise your not living a healthy life.

This is complete bullshit.

No wonder girls are struggling with bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating disorder, anxiety about food, poor self-confidence, poor self-esteem, body shaming, comparing ourselves to others, restricting and punishing ourselves in order look a certain way, be a certain size, instead of OWNING what we have and LOVING ourselves for who we are.

I mean why should we let society and diet culture dictate our lives and our happiness? On what planet is that okay? It should never be, and I want to put diet culture to bed for GOOD.

I have been there, and its taken me a long time to actually accept myself for who I am, and differentiate between being healthy and being thin. I had to struggle through some mental health issues in order for my eyes to truly open and to realize I am worth so much more then being ___ pounds.

At my lowest weight, I was under 140 pounds and I was battling anxiety, depression, OCD, and episodes of insomnia. But I was complimented on my appearance because I was thinner. Which threw me the fuck off because I was drowning in my own head, and would have KILLED to be at my heavier weight and be mentally well again. Being thin does not = equal health my friends.

I have no idea what I weigh now because weight also isn’t a indicator of health, but i know i’m heavier, and happier, and don’t give a shit what diet culture says.

The truth is, in all of the fad diets I listed above and more, there are never more then a tiny little fraction of people who have actually lost weight and kept it off long term. Also, a lot of these fad diets you read about are funded by those diet companies themselves and all they do is promote people spending time, money and energy on weight loss, not health.

Very few of the studies done on diets, look at the long term changes. And if they do, the vast majority of the participants gain it all back and then some. Actually most weight loss studies stop monitoring the participants after 2 years when they have already gained a lot of their weight back but are still under their original weight…. so they call it a success. OR they ignore weight gain altogether and just say all of the participants lost weight. Crazy right?

A lot of weight loss studies have high drop out rates which they totally ignore and just ASSUME those participants woudlve been successful.

Studies find that the average person loses 5 pounds… 5 frikon pounds. Your body goes up and down almost 5 pounds throughout the day with water retention, food, inflammation or whatever else is going on. A lot of people lose 5 pounds if they cut their frikon hair! My ass is probably 5 pounds in itself. LOL like come on. Then they promote that people can lose up to 10-20 pounds with the same methods, but have absolutely no evidence to back up that claim. Shaking my head.

Last but most shocking, there has never been a study that shows an overweight person becoming thin from dieting, and compared their health outcomes to someone who has always been thin. Mind blown.

None of these studies look at higher weight and physical fitness, or their fruit/vegetable intake, or their blood pressure, alcohol intake, smoking and stress. All measures of overall health, only weight or BMI is considered.

So basically this research shows that weight loss claims and diets dont work at all or very minimally. Lets stop buying into this fake crap!

It doesn’t make much sense that bigger, overweight people are told to do cleanses, low carb, diets, eat under 1,200 calories when thin people are told to eat whole, healthy foods. Behaviours that are recommended to overweight people are identified as red flags for an eating disorder in thin people.

We need to stop this, and start eating whole, nutritious foods that make us feel good and allow ourselves to eat the things we want to eat, exercise regularly, and allow our weight to just be where it needs to be.

If you need to punish yourself, obsess over exercise and restrict your diet to be at a certain weight… your weight is NOT supposed to be there.

So what do we do about this? How can we stop diet culture from ruining how we look at ourselves and food? First we need to take our focus away from weight loss, and tune into being healthy.

  • We need to adopt healthy habits, and add good things into our lives instead of take things away and restricting. For example, focus on adding more vegetables into your diet instead of taking food away or adding in more water, more fibre, etc. Instead of cutting out calories, carbs or sugar all at once.
  • Start slow and build up from there. Its really unrealistic to just cut out a bunch of food groups cold turkey and expect to stick with it. Add one or two healthy habits into your daily routine until they stick after a few weeks and then add a couple more! This could even include slowly quitting smoking, lowering alcohol intake, meditating, a yoga practice, etc.
  • Lose the all or nothing attitude. I know its easy to think “oh just cause I had this piece of chocolate my diet is ruined for the day and might as well stuff my face with all the junk food I’ve been missing.” NO STOP, this is so disordered. Your allowed to have chocolate, thats not ruining your “diet”. Just accept it, enjoy the shit out of it, and move on with your day.
  • In saying that, we have to stop calling foods good and bad or clean and dirty. Sure there is healthy and unhealthy but we should be allowed to indulge in chips and dip once in a while and not feel like were committing a crime. I mean its just food, food gives you energy and life, it should not be looked at as something terrible, even if its on the unhealthier side.

Now lets look at some healthier habits you can add in your life over time. The options are endless which is amazing. There are so many different, healthy things you can ADD into your life.

  • Hydration. Add a cup extra to your diet every day or even half a cup makes a difference. Add lemons or cucumbers or mint to make it taste better. Drink a cup when you brush your teeth, try and make it a part of your routine. Your body is like 60% water so hydration is so important for your health. I talk about this more in my other post Hydration 101: https://raquellodgefitness.com/2018/06/26/hydration-101/
  • Movement. Walk more, take the stairs more, try to commit to adding more movement in your day every day. If your talking on the phone, walk around instead of sit. Small acts like that can do wonders.
  • Nourishment. Like I mentioned earlier, this could be as simple as adding an extra serving of vegetables, adding more plant-based foods in your diet to get more fibre and phytonutrients, drink more water, eat more whole foods, etc.
  • Practice Intuitive Eating. Intuitive eating is making food choices without feeling guilt, honours hunger and eats accordingly, and stops when you feel full. Its a more mindful approach and doesn’t look at foods as good or bad. Its giving yourself permission to eat, and stop telling yourself your bad for eating a slice of cake. When you give yourself permission to eat, you feel less deprived, you show your mind and body love which is less likely to lead to overeating later and bingeing.
  • Quit Smoking. Just one less smoke a day can make a huge difference, then slowly decrease over time.
  • Meditation. Meditation is amazing and is so overlooked. People think “oh I can’t meditate my mind is too crazy I could never have a clear mind.” Its not about that! Having a clear mind comes with practice, but meditation is all about accepting of those crazy thoughts, not getting involved with them, letting them go and not trying to control them. Its practicing being in the present moment not trying to force being calm or force a calm mind. You can do meditation anywhere and just 2 minutes of it can do wonders.
  • Gratitude List. Whenever I journal, I create a grateful list and I try to write different things down everytime. I pick 3 things to be grateful for and just reflect on how lucky I am to have that. It could be a hott cup of coffee, good books, water, a warm bed to sleep in, anything you can think of that you have in your life, be grateful for it!
  • Say Thank you more. If you meditate, make it part of your practice. Focus on being thankful for your body, your mind, your friends/family, even say thank you for living another day.
  • Spend more time outside. Being outside has been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels and make you feel better. If your getting some fresh air, get your movement in as well! Go for a walk, a bike ride, a swim, a run, etc.

There are so many other things, but try and pick things that make you feel good and happy. Another good one is less screen time, or waking up without grabbing your phone right away.

Lets stop restricting ourselves and add more good things into our lives.

This is not an easy thing to do, it has taken me years to respect and love my body but its soooo worth the journey and will change your life. Just try one or two things at first, try it for a month or longer then add another 1 or 2 things that make you feel good. This will help you get out of the Diet Culture mindset, stop you from feeling frustrated and guilty for eating, stop you from punishing yourself by restricting food or working out for hours in a day to burn off the cupcake you ate.

We all deserve peace, happiness and our bodies just want us to love them and treat them good. They do the same for us!

With love,

xo

Raquel

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