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Week Fourteen: Diet Culture

We have created a diet culture because the diet industry was worth $75 billion dollars last year. You read that right, my friends! So, what is diet culture? Diet culture is the belief that our physical appearance is more important than our well-being and being "thin" is what someone strives for, not necessarily healthy. There are a LOT of examples out there and I bet there is a good chance you might just participate in at least one or two yourself! (Who hasn't?! There's no judgement!) A few examples is "earning food." (I worked out today so I can eat this donut.) Suppressing appetite to lose weight. (Diet X: You need to drink a glass of water before your meal to make you feel full or drink a glass of water when your stomach growls incase you're just thirsty.) Labeling food into categories like bad/good. (Nuts have a lot of fat, so even though there's health benefits, you shouldn't eat them.) A strict calorie intake (1,200 calories is all I'm allowed to consume.) You need to consume certain products to stay healthy (This protein powder or this preworkout or this supplement... This is where I really start to get upset about the culture. So many people are tricked by "coaches" through MLM's to take something or do some strict diet and they are NOT trained to be these "coaches". They're just selling someone else's products and are not educated at all!) Do any of these look familiar?


So, why is diet culture dangerous? (Just remember, some people do not think it is!) It's dangerous because severely limiting foods or calories can actually cause malnutrition. Malnutrition is not about starving yourself! It's actually when your body does not get enough nutrients. You can consume 3,000 calories a day and be malnourished! It can also create an eating disorder and normalizes it! Lastly, it truly sets you up to fail because 98% of all diets fail and it will just start the vicious cycle over again.


What do we do to fix this? The important thing to remember is that dieting to lose weight to become HEALTHY isn't bad but do not restrict certain foods because (like carbs!) because someone told you they're unhealthy. Eat nutrient dense foods and give yourself some variety. Try new things! The worst thing that can happen is you just don't like it and you don't have to eat it again. Allow yourself to indulge every now and again and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! Feeling guilty is often why people say forget it and start to binge or eat completely unhealthy. (They feel like, "Why does it matter? I already ate X, Y, and Z)


Now, for the challenge. I want you to write down 5 things about your body that you absolutely love. An example could be physical appearance, but it doesn't have to be. (I personally love how strong my legs are, even if they are larger and bumpier than I'd like ;) Now, write down 3 things you do not love about your body- and why... But really reflect on the why. (An example, I don't love my flabby arms because someone once made fun of them and I have been self conscious since- even though they never bothered me before.) The reflection is the most important part because it puts things into perspective. I bet you don't love something about yourself because someone else told you not to... and that is how diet culture remains a billion dollar industry. Just know that you are PERFECTLY YOU... Until next week my friends. Blessed be!

-Jacelyn

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