F*** Diet Culture

 If you are here you are probably feeling overwhelmed and confused with food in some capacity. First off I want you to know that, that is completely okay. There is SO much information out there about how we are SUPPOSED to be eating that it can be exhausting and confusing to navigate. Each person claims that this is the way we SHOULD be eating to benefit our health and wellbeing and body the most. But is that true?

Before we even begin I want to let everyone in on a little secret. There is no one right way to eat. That doesn’t exist. However this is the exact opposite message that is being portrayed in our society today. Instead there is this idea of “diet culture” that is pervasive and glorified. Diet culture perpetuates this idea that if we eat exactly what someone tells us we are going to be doing it right – meaning that we are going to feel good, look amazing and be loved and cherished by the people around us. 

The truth is that we are all different and something that works for one person, such as a particular diet, is not going to work for everyone. The same way we are all unique in our personalities we are all unique in our bodies and our physiological functioning and our overall ability to be nourished. Some of us feel better eating one way and some of us feel better eating another. One is not better than the other. Food is NOURISHMENT for us. This fundamental truth is lost in our “diet culture”.

Diet culture is essentially a system of beliefs that has been created in society that define our worth based on our appearance and the food that we eat.

Christy Harrison, a nutritionist and public figure, defines this phenomenon as a system of beliefs that is based on four key concepts.

  • The worship of thinness and equating it to health and moral virtue (basically it correlates how thin you are to how good of a person you are – ???!?!?)
  • Promotion of weight loss as a means of attaining a higher status (the idea that if you look a certain way it gives you more value in society – ?!?!??)
  • Demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others (if you eat this way you are a good person and if you eat this way you aren’t as good – – this makes no sense and completely negates the nutritional value of food)
  • Oppresses people who don’t match up with its supposed picture of “health” (if you don’t follow the previous three criteria you are seen as less than others – ?!??!?)

The problem is that diet culture is based on a series of beliefs that aren’t true. This way of eating does not give your body what it needs. In fact it is based on this idea of trying to control all of the things that are going into your body. It is about reducing each of the foods that we eat into a number that is going to influence our weight. It takes away all of the essential nutrients and vitamins and minerals found in these foods. It forgets to mention the ways in which these foods nourish our bodies and supports the functioning of our internal systems. It makes the act of fuelling our bodies, not about fuelling our bodies. This can leave us feeling exhausted, frustrated and confused.

This is because diets are based on what we think we should be doing instead of listening to what our bodies need and doing that. Diet culture is not about what we need – it is about what we THINK we need to conform to this system of beliefs.

Basically what this way of thinking and eating tells us is that – if we aren’t thin we are wrong, if we aren’t losing weight or trying to we are wrong, if we are eating this instead of that we are wrong and it we don’t look a certain way we are wrong.

This is NOT TRUE. Our mental and physical health ARE NOT quantified by our weight or by trying to make our bodies and food choices fit into a certain mould. Who we are as people and our self worth is not defined by the way that we look or the food that we put in our body. It is a lie to try and make us believe this, but that is EXACTLY what diet culture makes us believe.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

There is a way to change our perspective of what food is. There is a way to see it for the nutrition – the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and internal systems fuelling thing that it really is. It is possible to see food for the nourishment that it is. It is possible to eat without depriving yourself or feeling guilty or without following 100000 different rules.

Life is exhausting enough as it is. Food does not need to be taking this much of your energy. Food does not need to be that hard.

Click here to learn more about how we can support you to find freedom and nourishment in your relationship with food.

Restricting is not a September thing

Happy September!

September can often feel like a mini New Year, especially if you have had the pleasure of taking some extra holidays these past couple months. Taking a step back from the office and the regular routine of daily life is so important, but it can often make it hard to get back into your daily life. September is a time to reset, find a routine and reconnect with what ignites your passion. While September holds lots of promise it can also be a challenging time for many people as they try and get into a routine from summer.

Whether it is true or not summer tends to be seen as a time of indulgence. While this indulgence is fun when we are participating in it, looking back it can sometimes get a negative connotation.  Why is indulgence seen as a negative thing? Indulgence is just another term for living and having fun. Indulgence means living your life. It is not a bad thing.

No matter what you did this summer, the most important thing to remember is that IT IS OKAY. It is okay to take some time off, it is okay to indulge and it is okay to have fun. In fact it can be extremely beneficial for you mental and physical wellbeing to take some time to just relax. This is the great thing about September. This mini New Year gives you the chance to get back into a healthy and sustainable routine that can help your rejuvenated self feel great in their body. The goal is to develop a routine that will help support you mentally and physically for this upcoming year.

The goal is not to restrict yourself now that the freedom of summer is gone. So often we find ourselves in these routines of binge and restrict. We are so rigid all the time that when we get time to actually relax and not worry we end up overindulging and not feeling good about it. When that happens it is OKAY. For starters overindulging is not a negative thing. If overindulging makes you feel off negatively or physically remember that this is only one moment of one day. It is just one feeling and this feeling like all feelings will pass. The important thing is to not restrict yourself to compensate for this feeling. This is how we create a dysfunctional relationship with our bodies and food. The goal moving forward is not to compensate for the overindulgence (because overindulgence is okay!!!!) but to create a sustainable way of eating, moving and fuelling our bodies so that on a regular basis we just feel good.

After years of being told that restricting is the only way to compensate for overindulgence it can be hard to connect with this idea of nourishment as a way to make us feel good.  I am here to support you as you reconnect with yourself and learn how to NOURISH yourself leaving you feeling healthy, rested and happy this September. September is not about restricting after feeling as though the summer was a “binge”. Life is about nourishing yourself with food and joy whatever that looks like. Each day it will look different, but each day is its own day. What happens on Monday should not impact how you nourish yourself on Tuesday or any other day. Just like how you nourished yourself over the summer should not influence how you nourish yourself in September. Naturopathic Medicine is one of the ways to find personal support on your journey to reconnect with your mind and body this new season. Click here to book your free 15 minute consultation.

In the meantime be gentle with yourself. Whatever happened this summer, I hope you had the time of your life, no matter what it looked like. Always remember that health is about happiness and nourishment not restricting and overindulging. Food should not be as taxing as we make it out to be.