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Ditch Diet Myths! Unpacking diet culture, food rules and ‘clean’ eating

Today, we’re going to talk about some important topics – diet culture, food rules, and ‘clean’ eating. Together, we’ll break down some of the myths surrounding diet. What is diet culture? Diet culture glorifies thinness, equates beauty with a specific body type, and promotes quick-fix solutions for weight loss. Diet culture bombards us with messages […]
Ditch Diet Myths! Unpacking diet culture, food rules and ‘clean’ eating

Ditch Diet Myths! Unpacking diet culture, food rules and ‘clean’ eating

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Today, we’re going to talk about some important topics – diet culture, food rules, and ‘clean’ eating. Together, we’ll break down some of the myths surrounding diet.

What is diet culture?

Diet culture glorifies thinness, equates beauty with a specific body type, and promotes quick-fix solutions for weight loss. Diet culture bombards us with messages that we’re never enough as we are and that we need to constantly strive for an unattainable ideal. If you look for it, you’ll find diet culture on social media, on the telly, as well as at home and in the school courtyard, telling you what foods are ‘good’ while others are ‘bad’.

Imagine you see a post on Instagram claiming that a new diet will make you lose weight fast. Sounds magical, right? But here’s the thing: quick fixes are like unicorns – they don’t exist! Diet culture can be a real source of stress and anxiety. Trying to conform to the latest fad, like no carbs after 6pm, fasting twice a week or drinking the latest branded diet drink, leads to negative emotions such as fear, shame, and guilt about food choices. And when you inevitably break one of the many rules of diet culture, you can feel like a failure. But did you know 90% of diets end in failure anyway?

So, let’s unravel some of the popular myths in diet culture together…

Myth 1: “Eating Less = Losing More” 🍽️❌

People skip meals or eat tiny portions thinking it’ll make them lose weight. But guess what? Our bodies need fuel to function properly. Skipping meals can actually slow down your metabolism and make you feel tired. Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and honor your cravings without guilt.

We know listening to your body isn’t always easy, especially if you are feeling anxious. If you struggle to know when you’re hungry or full, we recommend practicing by eating regular, varied meals and snacks throughout the day, and practice allowing yourself to eat socially and spontaneously too.

Myth 2: “Carbs Are the Enemy” 🍞🙅‍♀️

Have you heard that carbs make you gain weight? Well, here’s the truth: carbs are like your body’s favorite energy source. Imagine your body is a car – carbs are the fuel that keeps it running smoothly. Carbs also help to keep us hydrated and are the best energy for our brain. So, enjoy those whole grains, pasta, and yummy fruits!

Myth 3: “Magical Detoxes and Cleanses” 🧼💦

Ever seen ads for detox teas or cleanses that promise to “clean” your body? Here’s the deal: our bodies have their own natural detox system – it’s called the liver and kidneys! Those quick fixes can mess up your body’s balance and leave you feeling not-so-great. Ask yourself, where is the evidence to support this new diet’s claims? Staying hydrated and eating a variety of foods is the real way to support your body.

Myth 4: “Quick Fixes for a Perfect Body” ⏩👗

Seen ads for pills, shakes, or gadgets that promise instant weight loss? It’s like expecting a plant to grow overnight – not gonna happen! Always question the motive behind an ad… it’s usually always to make more money for a brand. All these quick fixes very often end up in overeating behaviours, affect our mood, impact our daily life, even our relationships.

Myth 5: “Good Foods vs. Bad Foods” 🍔🥦

Food doesn’t have moral value – types of food aren’t simply “good” or “bad.” So why do we speak about it in those terms? All foods can fit into a balanced diet. It’s okay to enjoy nutrient-rich meals and also treat ourselves to a favorite dessert. Food rules can make eating feel like a puzzle, and that’s no fun. Instead of labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” let’s view them as choices that contribute to our overall well-being.

Myth 6: ‘Clean’ Eating 🍏💔

Orthorexia is when someone becomes really obsessed with eating only “healthy” or “clean” foods. You might be wondering, “What’s wrong with wanting to eat healthily?” Well, the truth is, nothing at all! Caring about our bodies and choosing nutritious foods is fantastic. But when the pursuit of health becomes an obsession that takes over our thoughts and lives, it’s important to remember that our bodies thrive not only on nutrients but also on joy, balance, and flexibility.

Conclusion

Remember, it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with food or body image. Talking to someone you trust, like a parent, teacher, or counselor, can make a big difference. You’re never alone on this journey. Unfollow people on your social media feeds who promote diet culture and trigger negative feelings about food and your body. Let’s ditch those diet myths, toss out those food rules, and embrace a balanced approach to eating. Let’s listen to our bodies, give them what they need, and enjoy the deliciousness life has to offer.

Visit our module on Normal Eating and Body Image and Disordered Eating for more support on this topic!

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