Diet Culture

We are a couple weeks into the new year and everywhere you look there are adverts for diets, shakes and slimming clubs. The problem with diet culture (especially this time of year) is that it is inherently toxic – we aren’t good enough, not thin enough, we aren’t pretty enough, we’ve dared to eat what we wanted over Christmas or heaven forbid we have a chocolate bar without going for a run first!

So we have the various slimming clubs or products advertising that their models that are apparently guaranteed to give you results. You have adverts for easy meal replacement shakes or weight loss teas – you have apparently celebrity endorsed pills or patches (please please don’t waste your money on that stuff). We are bombarded with the opinion that we’ve all been too glutinous over Christmas and that we now need to rectify that. Even the newspapers printed how much you needed to move to “earn” your Christmas dinner. All of this is what is wrong with this industry and society as whole.

Did you have a Christmas dinner? Eat more chocolate than you usually would? Yeah? So did I. So did most. Let me tell you a little secret – IT IS FINE! You do not need to earn the Christmas dinner, have a day off plan just don’t make it a habit! Stop beating yourself up over one day, or one meal. Just get back onto your plan or get back to healthy balanced food the next day.

We have been brainwashed into thinking we must earn our cheat meals or earn that slice of cake because you’ve saved up points throughout the week so that cheeky gin at the weekend is ok – its time we changed our thinking.

How about we don’t label foods as good or bad. We just enjoy what we like in moderation. How about we don’t feel the need to “earn” our food. Let’s grow a positive relationship with food.

Want more proof these slimming clubs that promote points and negative views on food are just perpetuating eating disorders and bad dietary habits? How many of these clubs tell you that pasta is a “free” food – doesn’t count towards your points. So you load up a plate of pasta because its free – it doesn’t count – why doesn’t it count? Are those calories magical calories that don’t enter your system because they are “free”? You could have a huge bowl of pasta equalling hundreds of calories yet a mars bar is too much? All these clubs do is tie you in and waste your money – have you noticed how their brand food is always zero points? I wonder why? Do you get qualified help and advice from these clubs or companies selling shakes (and by qualified I mean real qualifications – not a couple of hours long sales workshop)? Is the club leader nutrition qualified? Are they fitness qualified? When you tell your club leader you’ve struggled do they give you advice or tell you to just remove food groups? If you’ve put weight on one week – do they tell you that’s fine, because depending on the time of day, the time of the month, illness, hormones or hydration for example will impact the result or do they just tell you that you must have had too many points, you must be lying about your food intake? I mean the weight you put on may be food related – but its more likely to be the piles of pasta and not the twix. Chances are though you’ve put weight on because of another factor – are you strength training for instance? 

If you want that cake, have a slice – guilt free – just stop at one slice. You don’t need to do a certain number of minutes of exercise to “earn it” you don’t need to over-restrict your food for a week to justify it – that is disordered eating. That is not sustainable. That is what is giving you the bad relationship with food. That is causing your yo-yo weight loss/gain. 

There is no super magical potion that will make you healthier. But I promise you the answer is not a slimming club. It is not by replacing all your meals with milkshakes. The answer is simple. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise, drink enough water and sleep properly. By doing those things you will become healthier – and by healthier I do not mean super thin – healthy does not have a size.


We Are Strong.

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