Yes you heard us right. After reading this we hope you too will be waving goodbye to diet culture as you know it. The term diet does not solely have a negative connotation, it can mean a lifestyle choice to eat certain foods such as a vegan diet or diets that are medically advised for illnesses such as diabetes. Or even used in terms of a customary diet of a group of people, culture, or animal. But thats not what you thought of when I said diet right? The term “diet” is now known as a restrictive weight loss tool usually temporary or with a deadline. There are hundreds of these diets and they all yield the same pattern and results. You start the newest diet, on a Monday right?, because you can only start diets on a Monday. (please note if you slip up on said diet midweek, you must abandon all diet rules and regulations and wait until the following Monday to start again). The next Monday roles around everything is going great, until you start to feel restricted, you can’t go to a family gathering because of temptations, you are feeling fatigued and weak, you start to make Friday mistakes in work on a MONDAY. Your cravings have now gotten the best of you and you give up on the diet. Fuelled by reassuring thoughts; “you only live once”, “i should just be happy the way I am”, “its not worth it” “i’ll start fresh (next week)”. BUT you don’t feel reassured for long, quite quickly that turns into disappointment, guilt, self-hatred etc. You vow to start over but this time it will be different, you will try a new diet and you won’t quit. The cycle continues.
How about instead of feeding into (no pun intended) dieting culture, you quit. You leave the “i’ll start Monday group” and the 4 week weight loss generic plans. Dieting culture is so ingrained in who we are, this move away from it will be difficult but it is the most freeing and healthiest move you will make in your life.
Here are five reasons why you need to ditch the diets for ever.
1: Diets Don’t Work
It may be hard to believe but simply diets do not work. People who yo-yo diet are more likely to be overweight and have poor self esteem.
2: You Can’t Put A Deadline On Health
How many of diets have you seen that promise weight loss in 2 weeks, 4 weeks? You are an individual, it is not possible to predict everyones response to a particular diet. Being a healthy weight and working on your health does not have a end point. It is something that you choose to maintain throughout your life. The reason these diets have “proven results” is that they are short lived. So yes by not fuelling you body with the right nutrients you may lose weight in 2 weeks, but you are guaranteed to put that weight back on two fold once you go off the unsustainable diet. Instead of giving your health a deadline make achievable goals and monitor your progress. It may be slow but the results will last.
3. Diets Effect Your Emotional And Mental Health.
We’ve discussed the diet cycle. It can cause serious issues to your emotional and mental health. When you “fail” on a diet this guilt and negativity that comes along with it can effect your self esteem, body image and general mental wellbeing. You feel really good when you start the diet but come crashing down quite quickly. This cycle of elevating and dropping your moods over a course of time will effect your overall view of your self and your mental health will suffer.
4. You lose the Love for Food
The biggest issue diet culture breeds is a poor relationship with food. After years of dieting you can begin to feel powerless with food, you give it all of the control. You are stuck in a cycle of restricting and binging on food. You label food into “good” and “bad” foods. This demonisation of foods can increase guilt after eating. Lets get one thing clear there are no good and bad foods, there are poor portion sizes, lack of education and bad relationships with food. You lose the love for food and the positives it can bring to our lives. It brings family and friends together, cooking is a hobby for many and it can hold powerful memories and bring comfort. If your relationship with food turns sour eating becomes a chore or even worse therapy. Food is fuel not therapy!
5. Its Just Not Fun
Lets face it, you’re on a diet, you are hungry, cranky, tired…that is just not fun for you or any poor souls who happen to be around you. Life is for living and although food is the fuel for life it is not your entire existence. You are missing out on the real important parts of life while avoiding situations or overthinking what you can and can’t eat. Diets are the quick fix right? Wrong. In the time you have wasted being stuck in the diet cycle you could of implemented, worked on and maintained a lasting healthy relationship with food.