Detangling From Diet Culture
This is probably one of the biggest struggles my clients face, navigating their way through diet culture. Although there's much more open discussion about how diet culture impacts women and how we can identify it better. Half the time I'm not convinced we're as aware as it as we could be.
Diet culture and the world of fitness sadly go hand in hand. The narrative of smaller as better, fitter and healthier, still exists everywhere you look. From trainers promoting before and after, weight loss achievements or biggest loser style claims.
Why is it so important that we help women detangle from diet culture?
OTHER BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
When we separate exercise from diet culture, we can enjoy it for exactly what it is and see it much less as a weight loss tool or a means to an end.
That means workouts are no longer tracked based on calories burnt. Your workout isn't to earn a glass of wine after work. You're not punishing yourself with cardio for a take-away.
The narrative for so many of us is ingrained. We've believed for so long that exercises only purpose is to help us be smaller and by default we hope, happier.
In grouping exercise and weight loss together, we disregard all the other benefits to our physical and mental health aside from the calories we burn.
ITS GOOD TO TALK
Talking things through can help us better understand our own thoughts and feelings. Unpicking it can help it feel less significant and easier to manage.
It also allows us to see things from different perspectives and challenge some of our own belief systems and where these actually come from.
I joke that my personal training sessions are also therapy sessions. A safe place for clients to offload and make sense of how they feel. In allowing that time to express feelings often of guilt, shame or embarrassment about our bodies, we can make it feel far less overwhelming.
Diet culture thrives off our age of living on social media in a constant comparison trap with other women who's lifestyles are nothing like our own. What often starts as inspiration can quickly turn into a constant feeling of shame for not having the body of someone else.
HOW TO SPOT IT
Being able to spot diet culture makes it easier for us to navigate and avoid it in the future. Which is key for us to be able to feel empowered.
It can also give you the confidence to call it out and see it for what it really is. After all diet culture does a really good job of taking up our mental head space and preoccupying us with thoughts of dieting, weight loss and body image.
Whenever I'm scrolling through social media and I see something which makes me slip into comparison mode I ask myself "who is this meant for?" Because most of the time when I really think about it, that content wasn't created for me. In consuming it and then feeling bad about it, the only person I am hurting is me.
If there are things that trigger you, look out for them and mute or unfollow for your own sanity.
Even if you put accounts or people on hold temporarily whilst you're going though a tricky time, it's important you put yourself first.
Diet culture is a difficult thing to navigate. It has infiltrated so much of what we see and has created so many preconceived ideas and feelings about our health and fitness.
Detangling from all of that takes time and that's OK.
Just know that you are not alone in trying to figure these things out for yourself and as I've mentioned in this blog, it can really help to talk things through if you