Are you sick and tired of diet culture? Diet culture is ingrained in Western society. It not only consists of fad diets, “healthy” eating plans and excessive exercising, but the underlying notion that thin bodies are “good”, and bigger bodies are “bad” and somehow worth less. It’s prevalent in the TV shows and movies we watch, the articles we read and the social media we consume. It even rears its head in conversation with family and friends. The anti-diet diet teaches you how to ditch diet culture without becoming super unhealthy and gaining unwanted weight. Let’s dive in!
What Does ‘Anti-Diet’ Mean?
Anti-diet means you’re opposed to diet culture. The anti-diet movement is a departure from Western culture’s obsession with thinness and doing whatever it takes to get there, regardless of health and well being. It not only stands against fad diets, but the culture of dieting as a whole, which includes eating plans, programs and lifestyle changes, as well as the more subtle ways in which certain types of bodies and foods are held up as being “good” and others are labeled as being “bad”.
The anti-diet is still rooted in health. It doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want and consume an endless supply of French fries, cupcakes and pizza. The anti-diet movement focuses on intuitive eating, giving you permission to eat the foods you crave in a mindful way. It encourages you to focus on your body’s needs and choose foods that are nourishing and satisfying. It’s a holistic approach to eating that includes healthy salads and salmon and veggie dishes but also allows you to eat the occasional burger if you crave it.
6 Dangers of Diet Culture
1. Perpetuates eating disorders
2. Negatively affects mental health
3. Promotes harmful eating plans that aren’t nourishing enough
4. Results in increased pressure and low self-esteem, especially for teenagers
5. Restrictive eating and unhealthy diet methods
6. Perpetuates the idea that thin bodies are more worthy and fat bodies are less valuable
How to Ditch Diet Culture Without Gaining Weight
Focus on Nourishing Foods That Feel Good for Your Body
This is a really important part of the anti-diet diet and why you won’t end up eating cupcakes, French fries and burgers all the time. These foods may make you feel good initially, but they rarely make you feel good in the long term, and actually make you feel quite gross almost immediately after you eat them. Focus on the foods that make you physically feel the best, and these are most likely to be nourishing foods. You’ll gain a more holistic approach to eating this way.
Practice Intuitive Eating
Along with eating nourishing foods, you’ll also want to practice intuitive eating. Intuitive eating helps you understand what’s going on inside your body so you can trust it again. By learning to eat intuitively, you’ll be able to reconnect with your hunger and fullness cues, focus on satisfaction and stop restricting yourself. Practicing moderate, conscious eating ensures you hear your body when it first signals it’s hungry. This is important because once you meet excessive hunger, you trigger the primal drive to overeat. You’ll also grow to discover your satisfaction factor and listen to your body signals that tell you you’re no longer hungry.
Proper Self Care
Start to think of your relationship with food and exercise as a form of self care. Let go of any previous practices that didn’t serve you and instead instilled you with fear or anxiety. For example, if the thought of stepping on a scale made your stomach turn every morning, toss it in the trash. If counting calories gives you anxiety, start listening to your cravings instead. Prioritize food and movement that makes you feel good instead of hoping it will make you look a certain way.
Exercise for Enjoyment
Rather than exercising to lose weight, think of healthy goals like relieving stress, feeling joy or increasing your energy. Exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle but weight loss doesn’t need to be the main goal. When you find workouts you actually enjoy and love to do, it becomes a much better experience overall. You’ll also end up doing more physical activity because of it!
Unfollow Anyone on Social Media That Makes You Feel Bad About Yourself
Whether it’s influencers, fitness gurus, or celebrities, unfollowing people on social media who make you feel bad about yourself is one of the healthiest things you can do. Social media, and the media in general, is one of the biggest perpetuators of diet culture. Avoid harmful content on social media as much as possible so you aren’t constantly being fed this toxicity. Follow new accounts that focus on intuitive eating, joyful movement and body positivity, and look for online anti-diet groups.
Get Proper Sleep
Quality sleep is an essential part of your health and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Strong sleep hygiene means having a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep. Follow a stable sleep schedule, keep your bedroom comfortable and distraction free and build healthy habits during the day to ensure you get adequate sleep every night.
Don’t Focus on Numbers
Stop counting calories, quit stepping on the scale and put your step counter aside. These are all habits that are a big part of diet culture and can lead to dangerous obsessiveness over weight and food. Instead, focus on making your body feel good through movement and food. Do your best not to compare your body to others and embrace the body you have.
Diet culture is toxic for a lot of reasons. Ditch it for good with the anti-diet and start living your healthiest, most fulfilling life!