How to Reframe Diet Culture

Even though this blog could be classified as health and wellness I try not to focus on dieting too often. Why is that? There are way more clicks in ‘losing belly fat’ rather than ‘taking up a sustainable fitness routine’. Well I’m not a nutritionist and focusing on the minutia of metabolism which I do know about is hella boring. Also not all that useful for losing weight. But that’s just one reason another is that I really do understand that a lot of ‘diets’ are just a foray into disordered eating. That’s not great! Every once and a while though there is some aspect of dieting that I think I have something to offer.

So that’s what we’re doing today. We are aiming to meet the obesity crisis and the realities of living in an obesogenic environment and the the more toxic parts of diet culture halfway. It’s fine if you want to lose weight for any reason. It could be to be healthier, fight medical issues, look a certain way or wear a specific outfit. Doesn’t matter to me. Though I’ve never been overweight I have intentionally lost weight in the past to feel better in my own skin in so many ways. So today we’re going to look at some concrete things you can do to diet and lose weight without entering a negative head space.

Let’s try to keep this brief

If you want to lost weight diet is way, way more important than the exercise you do. Pretty much to the point where the effect of exercise has a negligible effect in those that have a lot of weight to lose. If I call myself an advocate for health diet is going to come up every once and a while. I get why the fat acceptance and body positivity community exist and I think we need them. There are aspects of diet culture that are more than toxic they are legitimately dangerous. Right now more than every diets and weight loss is a really tough road to navigate. The list below aims to help find that middle ground. So here goes.

The list:

  • When making an on the spot food choice think about what you would have ordered and find a way to make it a healthier choice in some small or big way.
  • Plan your meals in advance by at least 3 days.
  • Plan meals that meet your needs in an effort not to snack. Or plan for snacks too.
  • Find out how many calories you need to eat if your body was a healthy weight here.
  • Cook double portions of healthy foods and immediately freeze half for a future busy night before you sit down.
  • Swap out all your snack foods for super healthy low calorie options like fruit, veggies or plain pop corn.
  • Decide what meal you are least hungry for and make a point to make it light.
  • If there’s one meal you like to be more substantial plan for it.
  • Skip sauces whenever possible or go for things like mustard or low calorie dressing.
  • Have go to ‘better’ fast food choices where you tend to eat.
  • Skip the cheese.
  • Avoid foods that seem to melt down in your stomach like doughnuts and potato chips.
  • If you over do it one meal, compensate the next one.
  • A few bad choices aren’t a reason to throw the day or the week.
  • Aim to have the day, week or month balance out.
  • Let go of the timeline to the goal weight if you are making a forever change it doesn’t matter. Focus on progress not numbers.
  • If you’re super hungry or cranky your choices need a re-work. Maybe more smaller meals would work well for you.
  • Keep healthy snacks ready. 
  • Add the time to prep your fruit and veg to your grocery trips then its ready when you want it.
  • If you have a real inability to control yourself around a certain food (peanut butter alone or vending machine rice crispy treats in college for me) give it up entirely for a year. It won’t have the same power over you after that.
  • Learn what healthy portions look like on your plates by measuring.
  • Keep a food diary with calories. If it’s triggering to track as you go add it up once a week as a long term learning tool.
  • Weigh yourself once a week or if you can’t deal with that pay attention to how your clothes fit.
  • Set your calorie goal at what your goal weight body needs or just a bit below that number. If you pick a stupid low number (like 1200) you’ll be setting yourself up to fail.
  • Follow fitness influencers that inspire you whatever that means to you. Unfollow the ones that make you feel poorly about yourself.

I’m not sure that ‘diet culture’ as a whole is totally toxic from tip to toe. Certainly some parts are, but a lot of it really just reflects the reality of the hard work necessary. I’m not really an advocate of diets in general. Rather I suggest finding out what body would be healthy for you and eating for that body starting now. What was the little way you changed your thinking that helped you lose weight and get healthier? Leave it in the comments below!

Here are some other ‘diet posts’ you might find helpful

The science of Keto

Are you on a diet that’s doomed to fail

Little changes add up to big pounds lost

Is yo yo dieting really dangerous

How to finally lose the weight

The myth of 1200 calories

science of diets

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