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Diet culture distorts body image, and promotes eating disorders. Try intuitive eating instead

DrAit culture surrounds and influences all of us. Despite the popular notion that it only affects people who watch their weight, diet culture generally has an effect as well. People with a high BMI are often ridiculed, bullied, and ridiculed. From school to college to work, it’s common for overweight people to be labeled “fat,” which leads to self-confidence issues among many.

Body image is negatively distorted influences Emotional and physical health. Kristi Harrison, author Diet Counter: Reclaim your time, money, well-being, and happiness with intuitive eating. Describe Diet culture as a belief system that worships thinness and equates it with health and virtue. In addition, the diet culture encourages rapid weight loss and suggests maintaining a low weight to ensure elite social status. There is also the demonization of certain foods and eating patterns while uplifting others. People who don’t meet such expectations or conform to the delusional image of “health” perpetuated by diet culture are disrespected.

Diet culture distorts the image of food

Diet culture regards food as fuel. Based on their macronutrient content, foods are simply classified as “good” or “bad.” However, food is more than a source of energy. They have been an integral part of festivities and culture since ancient times. Only through food can we get essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals, essential fats, antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein and fibre. A combination of nutritious foods ensures well-being and disease prevention. Nutritional deficiencies, poor bodily functions, an eating disorder, and an unhealthy relationship with food result from avoiding nutritious foods in order to get fewer calories. “

“Detoxing” and “cleansing” after a party or holiday season are classic examples of foods that are viewed only as calories. “Purging out” foods that are “high in fat and calories” after a feast is classified as disordered eating. It is an unscientific and dangerous process with harmful physical and psychological effects. Focusing on restrictive diets to stay healthy encourages eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Likewise, engaging in physical activities solely to burn calories or to “earn” favorite foods is a poor outcome of diet culture.


Also read: Spot reduction can tempt you into thinking that you will lose stubborn fat. What you should do instead


Psychosocial impact of diet culture

It is crucial to understand that obesity and overweight are complex medical conditions that are not always the result of unregulated calorie intake or inactivity. You may gain weight due to various reasons – genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalance, medications etc. Diet culture does not consider the science behind obesity and promotes a lean body as the pinnacle of one’s health.

A person who does not meet these criteria is considered unhealthy and develops a negative body image, making self-love a difficult journey for them. For these people, losing weight is the only path to acceptance, happiness, and health. People with a poor body image diet to lose weight and not develop healthy eating habits.

Those with larger bodies, poor body image, or body dissatisfaction compare their bodies to “number zero” celebrities who promote diets for weight loss without making it clear whether the method is scientifically sound, safe, or sustainable. Unfortunately, people who fall prey to diet culture lack self-confidence and basic scientific knowledge of health and well-being. They find it difficult to accept that their appearance has nothing to do with their health. Health risks are reinforced by poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, and physical inactivity, regardless of body size.


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Practice intuitive eating

Weight loss and weight management Market It was valued at $192.2 billion in 2019, and is expected to reach $295.3 billion by 2027. Decades of research shows that diets don’t work in the long term. There are setbacks and disappointments. However, the weight loss industry based on “diet culture” is not ready to give up and continues to invent new and trendy diets without scientific support. Even when we know that the new diet is unsustainable, too rigid, lacks essential nutrients, and may lead to regaining body weight, we don’t stop feeling that it’s our fault and we’re not disciplined enough. The vicious circle continues. Needless to say, the result is shame and guilt.

A combination of intuitive eating and behavioral modifications can help combat the ill effects of diet culture. To avoid diet culture, avoid so-called health influencers, unscientific news, and weight-watching groups. Be aware of basic physiological functions and nutrition and how eating a balanced diet promotes good health. Research the pros and cons of new diets before adopting them.

Try some basic intuitive eating principles to get out of the diet industry trap. These principles ask you to reject the diet mentality, and to recognize and respond to hunger with nutritious foods. These principles urge you to make peace with food while developing a healthy relationship with it, challenge the person who rates food as “good” or “bad,” stop eating when full, understand the satisfaction factor, handle stress without eating, and finally respect. Your body.

Subhasree Ray is a PhD researcher (ketogenic diet), certified diabetes educator, and clinical and public health nutrition expert. She tweets @DrSubhasree. Opinions are personal.

(Editing by Zoya Bhatti)

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