Everyone knows they need to eat healthier, but what does that actually mean? There is so much conflicting information out there about what is healthy! It’s easy to get bogged down with getting stuck believing you’ll never eat healthy enough. Wellness Culture is a fickle place and it changes its mind about foods regularly. One day egg yolks have too much cholesterol, the next day they have so many important nutrients that you should be eating. One day nuts have too much fat, the next day nuts have healthy fats and shouldn’t be cut out. How can you possibly keep up with all the nutrition “rules”? How can you possibly know what will work for you?
Read on to learn how to navigate this confusing Wellness World and find a way of eating that works for you.
So why are there so many conflicting nutrition rules? The biggest reason is that Diet Culture and the weight loss industry have taken over the world of nutrition. Instagram Influencers, personal trainers, MLMs, and health professionals that have no nutrition training have become the loud voices and authorities on nutrition. These people usually have naturally thin bodies and have decided to tell other people their bodies aren’t good enough for a profit. They exploit other people’s insecurities for their personal gain. This is the weight loss industry, and this is diet culture.
According to Christy Harrison, diet culture is the belief that thinness equals health and moral virtual, it promotes weight loss as a way to achieve a higher status, it demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others, and oppresses people who don’t look like the unrealistic picture of perfect health damaging their physical and mental health.
Diet culture is pervasive in our society. It is entrenched in nutrition research, the medical field, the fashion industry, movies, tv, and social media. Diet culture perpetuates fatphobia, which is the aversion to and discrimination of fat bodies and the fear of becoming fat. Fatphobia equates being fat with being ugly, lazy, inferior, immoral, unintelligent, and unhealthy. Diet culture oppresses people that don’t fit into its picture of health so that they will be compliant. Diet culture is rooted in racism and oppression. Nobody is immune to the effects of diet culture. Have you noticed everyone is trying to lose weight? And I mean everyone. Little kids are aware and self conscious about their bodies, and many have been on diets by the age of 8.
This obsession with health and thinness has ironically led us away from health. People try any means necessary to drop weight. The diet industry was worth $7 billion in Canada alone, and $65 billion in the US in 2013 and has only grown since. People are willing to try miserable, expensive and unhealthy measures to lose weight. We have been led to believe that if we are not losing weight, we are not trying hard enough and we are failures.
This obsession with healthy eating has also led to a rise in eating disorders such as orthorexia. Orthorexia means an obsession with perfect healthful eating which takes over your ability to eat a variety of foods. Some signs of orthorexia include cutting out whole food groups for “health”, an inability to eat anything but a small amount of foods that are deemed “healthy”, distress when there isn’t a “healthy enough” option for them to eat, and an obsession with the health of ingredients.
What’s the solution? How do we know what to eat? How can we reject diet culture’s flawed view of health? Why can’t eating ever be good enough?
Intuitive Eating is a framework to help guide you to learn about your body and nourish it in the way that it needs without focusing on weight at all. Intuitive Eating rejects diet culture’s skewed views of how your body should look and how you should be feeding it. It is a way to learn to honour your body’s intuitive hunger and fullness cues, eat with a goal of pleasure and satisfaction, appreciate your body for how it takes care of you, eat foods you love without guilt, cope with emotions with kindness, and discover how to move your body in a way that feels joyful to you. Intuitive Eating is a learning process, learning what feels good to your body and what doesn’t. There’s no “screwing up”, good enough is truly good enough. Learn more about Intuitive Eating here. Does it seem like this way of eating couldn’t possibly be healthy? Check out this blog post.
This Wellness World is a crazy confusing place with so many rules to follow. Diet culture has made the pursuit of health into an elitist, racist, oppressive, and unhealthy system. Are you ready to reject diet culture and it’s flawed view of health? Are you ready to give up yo-yo dieting and the pursuit of the thin ideal? It’s not an easy road but it’s so worth it! I’m here to help you get started on your Intuitive Eating journey.
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