Anti Diet Write For Us
As a registered dietitian and someone who routinely reports on how to eat well and live more healthfully, I follow many of my fellow nutrition professionals on social media. I’ve been disheartened by the anti-diet trend on some of my colleagues’ feeds lately. One recurring theme: Diets don’t work.
I can’t say I decided on this, and I wonder how it’s serving the 70% of Americans who are overweight or obese, a factor that is linked with type 2 diabetes. Certain forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and pain issues from carrying too much weight. Does anti-diet mean we’re against weight loss, even for those who might benefit from losing just 5% of their weight?
At face value, the Merriam-Webster definition of diet means food and drink regularly provided or consumed. What’s wrong with suggesting regularly consuming the foods and drinks that promote a healthier weight?
So what is “diet culture”?
Diet culture has many definitions and facets, but, in a nutshell, it’s a set of beliefs that worships thinness and equates it with health and moral virtue, according to an anti-diet dietitian, Christy Harrison, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., author of Anti-Diet and host of the Food Psych podcast. And it has become our dominant culture — often in ways we don’t even notice since it’s the water we swim in.
Think of diet culture as the lens through which most of us in this country view beauty, health, and our bodies; a lens that colours your judgments and decisions about how you feel about and treats yourself. Diet culture places thinness as the pinnacle of success and beauty, and “in diet culture, there is a conferred status to thinner people. And it assumes that eating in a certain way will result in the right body size — the ‘correct’ body size — and good health. And that it’s attainable for anybody with the ‘right’ willpower, the ‘right’ determination,” says therapist Judith Matz, L.C.S.W., author of The Body Positivity Card Deck and Diet Survivor’s Handbook.
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