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- Diet culture normalizes thinness as an ideal and links self-esteem with weight control and diet.
- This unrealistic universal cultural norm is harmful to your mental health, experts say.
- Intuitive eating, body acceptance, and debunking weight stigma can help heal this mental toll.
Condensing our entire lives into four walls over the past year and a half has brought to light many issues, including the toxicity of our deep-rooted obsession with the culture of food and an ideal body type.
Diet culture, or the idea that a person’s value lies in their weight rather than general health and well-being, has its roots in ancient Greece. In America, it dates back to the 1860s. With the rise of fashion magazines, celebrity culture, and social media over the past several decades, this cultural lens of sizing a person on the basis of low body weight has become. become ubiquitous.
Because of this poisonous and widespread message, the word “diet” has mistakenly become synonymous with unhealthy behaviors like food restriction and compulsive exercise – historically, “diet” has referred to the food that a person or community has. ate regularly.
This way of thinking is so harmful because it reinforces the idea that we “disagree if we don’t achieve the physical ideal”, and ignores the fact that many diets don’t actually work, has stated Leslie Faerstein, Ed.D. ., LCSW, psychotherapist specializing in women, body image and trauma.
“Instead of making us feel good about ourselves, that’s the promise [of going on a diet], we end up feeling bad, ”Faerstein told Insider. “We end up feeling like something is wrong with us. Not that there is anything wrong with the regime. “
In reality, what and how much you eat should generally be based on what makes you feel full. “It might not be the slender body we want, but it will be our own healthy body,” she added.
This concept is called intuitive eating. And, directly coinciding with the revolt against the toxic diet culture, it has gained immense popularity in recent years as an anti-diet approach to eating.
This is just a strategy to take the world away from a one-size-fits-all approach, but it is widely supported by communities of body positivity and acceptance. Many experts claim that intuitive eating promotes a healthier relationship with the foods that nourish your body, rather than being a tool to adjust to an unrealistic mold, which in turn promotes a healthier mental state.
If you’re struggling to break free from the diet culture, we’ve got you covered: Below we’ve put together a list of products, services, and resources that can help de-stigmatize bodyweight and can encourage healthy practices. healthier like eating.