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Diet culture encourages disordered eating

March 29, 2019

A lot of people worry that they’re eating too much. We’re taught that portion control is the key to maintaining a healthy body weight. But, sometimes, this message means we end up eating too little.  

This diet culture is ingrained in American society. From Weight Watchers to Slim Fast, it’s impossible to escape. New fad diets pop up every few months, encouraging people to cut out carbs or only eat during a certain time. These diets are detrimental, not just for your body, but for your mind, too.  

Most diets, such as Weight Watchers, encourage restrictive eating, or only eating up to a certain number of calories. In excess, restriction becomes extremely dangerous and even addictive, sometimes leading to the development of eating disorders.  

Other diet systems use intermittent fasting, where you only have a small window to eat for the day. This can also be taxing on the brain. It encourages you to deny hunger, which is your body telling you that you need food. As this goes on, you get better at denying hunger until you don’t feel hungry at all and have no desire to eat. You fast for longer periods of time because you aren’t hungry and often end up binge eating later in the day.  

Diets are festering swamps of disordered eating. Food shouldn’t be something to restrict or time or be afraid of, but, often, that’s what diets turn it into. Diet culture dictates that food isn’t to be enjoyed; it’s purely to give you energy through calories, but not too much. 

In a world covered with diets, we forget how to eat normally. The best way to eat is intuitively, eating when you feel hungry. But, if you’re coming right off a diet, your sense of hunger may be thrown off. In this case, a more structured eating plan may be necessary. Many of these “recovery” plans include three meals, each including starch, protein, fat, dairy and fruits and vegetables. and three snacks, each being at least 15 grams of starch.  

This can seem like a lot, especially when we’re often told not to eat many snacks and not to eat late at night. If you’re coming off an extreme diet, it can feel impossible to physically eat that much. It may take weeks to gradually add food to your life, or you risk being sick. 

Diet culture is nothing but absolute scum. It encourages disordered eating that can lead to serious health issues, both physically and mentally. If you’re honestly worried that your weight is a problem, first see a medical professional. In a world of supermodels who dehydrate themselves for the look, it’s easy to think you’re overweight when you’re not. Just try not to get sucked into diet culture. It’ll hurt you and people around you. 

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