The constant focus on diets in our society creates an environment where failure is inevitable. Here’s why it’s not your fault.
Diet culture is pervasive. There is always a sense of guilt and defeat when others talk about their health goals or nutrition, but it’s partly because we live in a culture where the pursuit of thinness is real and aggressive.
We live in a culture that expects people to pursue thinness no matter their size, and shames those who live in a larger body. People believe that they know what to do to be “healthy”, but just don’t have the “willpower” to address their weight concerns. They may have tried every restrictive diet in the book, with the diets “working” for a short period, but they failed or “fell off the wagon.” However, what the diet industry doesn’t want you to know is that willpower is a myth, and diets are designed to fail.
Diets make us feel out of control around food, harming our mental health.
Have you ever gone all day eating so “carefully” that you are left ravenous when you get home from work? Then you eat any random food that you can find in your kitchen and then – boom, negative thoughts about yourself start. This is deprivation at work, and it’s your body telling you that you need the energy and resources to carry out normal body functions in order to live.
You did not fail, dieting failed you.
Physiologically, restricting your food doesn’t work. When you limit your food, your body will learn to compensate. We are all genetically designed to be in a certain weight range; a “set point” that your body adjusts to. By going under that range, you will slow down your metabolism because it will hold on to every calorie, your energy unit, for dear life. It makes it more difficult to be efficient machines, and will make you tired and fatigued to the point where it is difficult to move your body.
This is why people typically regain weight after dramatic weight loss.
Most weight loss studies don’t look at long-term data, and will only tout the short-term success. While you may know someone who with a “success” story of losing a bunch of weight and has managed to keep it off, this is usually done so at the expense of a healthy relationship with food and body. Those who have “kept it off” are more likely to have disordered eating tendencies, with their routines revolved around keeping the weight off and severely impacting how they live their lives.
Let’s recognize, once and for all, that diet culture robs us from appreciating the diversity around us and makes us believe we need to fit a standardized mold in order to be accepted. The $60B+ diet industry needs your feelings of defeat to survive; otherwise, who would buy their cleanses, shakes, and products?
We’ve all been duped, and it’s time we recognize that our lives deserve so much more than that.
Adapted from the original article.
Ashley Munro, RD, CDE is an Arizona-based registered dietitian, chef, and certified Intuitive Eating counselor who helps others heal their relationship with food by letting go of diet rules and learning to accept their bodies. Through delicious cooked meals and recipes, Ashley shares her passion for food freedom, cooking, and family at her blog, A Pinch of Grace.