IN THIS PODCAST
- What is diet culture?
- How did diet culture come to exist?
- How to get out of diet culture
What is diet culture?
Put simply, diet culture is the concept that health means thinness and thinness means good, leading to judgments of people’s worth based on their health. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)Diet culture is a toxic world that can pull anyone into it. It can damage relationships and family connections because people will feel they should comment on someone’s weight out of concern because they think it is the right thing to do. Sometimes parents or friends will treat their loved ones unfairly or judge them as whole human beings based on their body shape and size.
This association with health and thinness is also our standard for beauty and happiness and this keeps us trapped in a cycle of obsessing over our bodies. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
How did diet culture come to exist?Multibillion-dollar companies have built their wealth and success upon the idea that thin is good and demonize the idea that anything but thin is unhealthy. These companies prey on your insecurities. They create insecurity and self-doubt in people through advertising and spending millions of dollars in marketing and social media to make them think that being thin is to be beautiful or to have more value. By creating insecurities in you, they will then sell you products to help you attain the unattainable. The kicker is that these products do not work. The cycle then continues where they give you another insecurity and then try to sell you an unworkable solution for the problem they created.
Diet culture makes food something other than what it is, it’s fuel and nutrition. Diet culture makes certain foods good and others bad, and then your value, worth, and emotions become tied to those labels. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
NegativityDiet culture centers itself around a lot of negativities, even though it tries to convince you that it is looking out for you.
- Gives food moral labels which you then use to label yourself,
- Makes you think that thinness is equal to worth as a human being
- Wants you to view “fat” as a bad or insulting word even though it is just another adjective like tall or brunette,
- Wants you to eat food for weight loss, not for enjoyment or culture,
- Praises disordered eating in the name of weight loss.
Diet culture results in body issues for sure, and what this leads to in your head is that it is normal and that it encourages self-deprecating talk, especially when it comes to your body. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)Diet culture has people bonding over how much they dislike themselves instead of how much they enjoy their bodies and their capabilities. You do not need to internalize these levels of negativity and you do not need to use this self-deprecating lens to view yourself.
How to get out of diet culture
- You need to have an awareness that diet culture exists and can impact you daily if you are not aware.
- Know that it is not your fault.
- Find support from loved ones and professionals.
- Unfollow people who support diet culture on social media.
- Question what people are saying, even the experts and the doctors, if their messages are based on diet culture.
- Speak kindly to yourself.
- HOW CHILDHOOD TRAUMA CAN AFFECT YOU AND YOUR EATING DISORDER WITH DANI WILLIAMSON, FNP | EP 49
- YOU ASKED, I'M ANSWERING: DISORDERED EATING OR EATING DISORDER? | EP 24
- Sign up for the free Behind The Bite Course
- Practice of the Practice Network
- Email Dr. Cristina Castagnini: firstname.lastname@example.org
MEET DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINII am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!
THANKS FOR LISTENINGDid you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to comment below and share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of Behind The Bite on Apple Podcasts (previously) iTunes and subscribe!
[CHRISTINA]: Behind The Bite podcast is part of a network of podcasts that are good for the world. Check out podcasts like the Full of Shift podcast, After the First Marriage podcast and Eating Recovery Academy over at practiceofthepractice.com/network. Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. This podcast is about the real life struggles women face with food, body image and weight. We're here to help you inspire and create better healthier lives. Welcome. Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. I'm your host, Christina Castagnini. I cannot believe this is episode 50. That may not sound like a big number to someone out there who's been hosting a podcast for years and years, but you have no idea how surreal this number is to me right now. For any of you out there who don't know me before starting this podcast, I'd been working at a hospital for 15 years. Believe me, when people refer to the golden handcuffs, I know all too well what they're talking about. It really wasn't easy to leave, but I knew I could only do so much and help so many people staying behind the same four walls in one spot for the rest of my career. I really wanted to try and help more people and spread as much information and awareness about eating disorders and body images I could. I thought, "Hey, what better way to do that than by starting a podcast?" It was something I was super excited about and I was really motivated. So I really couldn't understand what on earth was going on with me once I actually was all set to record and hit the ground running. I sat staring at my microphone and headphones like they were the scariest things in the world, and it seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in my room, just trying to will myself into having the courage to just plug all those things into my computer and record something, just say anything. Now I would love to say it only took me a few days to get over whatever it was that was keeping me from just starting the show. And I wish I could even say it took me weeks, but it took even longer, like a lot longer. There were many days I thought I was never actually going to record anything, that I was just going to say I was someone who once thought about starting a podcast. And I really don't know what happened, but there was this one random joke out of bed at three in the morning that I just, I felt compelled to just grab the mic and start talking. I barely recall anything that I said in episode one, but from that point on, it just got easier and easier. I look back to all the amazing guests who have been on here so far, and they really can't wait to record the next 50. My aim is still to bring you guests to can share both personal and professional perspectives. Now that being said, for today, the show actually does not have a guest. It's just me. And because I had an eating disorder and now treat people who have them, I'm actually going to come at you today like I do with every show from both the personal and professional perspectives on a topic that I feel is very important. Episode 24 was recorded in response to so many of you listeners messaging me asking if there was a difference between disorder eating and having an eating disorder. Since then, I've continued to receive so many questions from listeners and patients alike about things like, what do I think about X diet and aren't really, come on, doc, there's really good and bad foods or asking me, why would I dare say that it's not better to be thin? Now all of that got me thinking about why people continue to have so many questions and so many faulty beliefs about food, weight, appearance, diets, and exercise. And then it hit me. It's because of what we're going to talk about today. Diet culture. Now, whether you have, or haven't heard this term before, I think it's definitely worth having a discussion about, because I have found that even for those who have heard the term, many don't really realize just how seeped in it they are and how much it really affects them. Our everyday thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and general beliefs are all influenced simply by virtue of the fact that we exist in this toxic culture. So really what is diet culture? Put simply diet culture is the concept that health means thinness and thinness means good leading to judgments of people's worth based on their health. This idea has been conditioned in us from very early on, which unfortunately means you can spend your whole life thinking you're not good enough, just because you don't look like the impossibly thin ideal. So in order to feel worthy, good enough and "be healthy," people will go on diets to achieve thinness. Now, this may sound like I'm just stating the obvious, nothing odd or strange. I mean, let's face it. We often think that dieting is a normal and necessary part of our daily lives that people typically just go on diets. But that is exactly why I'm bringing this up. That right there is the problem that when I say these things, nothing about any of this seems outrageous or wrong. And this is perpetuated over and over again in so many things we read about, hear about, and probably even ourselves say on a daily basis; things like, oh, just exercise more, eat less. Or wow. They must be so unhealthy. Look how "big they are." Or someone mentioning to a loved one, "Look, I'm just worried about your health. I just think it would be a good idea to lose some of that weight you've put on. You would be so much happier too." Or someone hearing at a doctor's appointment, "Well, your BMI is really high. If you can't figure out a way to lose the weight yourself, I could always refer you to beriatrics. After all, we can't have you continuing to put your health at risk. Or, "I don't know what you're thinking really. If you get pregnant now, you're really putting yourself and your baby at risk. You really need to wait until you take some of that weight off before even thinking about doing that." Or things like, "Hey, she really let herself go. She must just sit around and eat all day. How can she be so lazy like that and just not care about how she looks or if at the very at least worried about her health? I mean, really it's just selfish. Her poor kids, they're just going to have to start taking care of her when she's older, because she obviously doesn't take care of herself." Now, these things are horrible. They're harsh. But the unfortunate thing is, I know I'm not saying anything people don't hear. That's the problem. Each and every one of these statements, I just said, equate being thin with being good, being healthy and judging someone for their thinness. And assuming someone who is thin is healthy and someone who is not must not be. And they're demonized and criticized for that. They're bad. But it doesn't just stop there, unfortunately. Yes, I said, diet culture is said that to be thinness, to be good and healthy, but this association of health with thinness is also our standard for beauty and happiness. And this keeps us trapped in a cycle of obsessing over our bodies and spending money on thousands of dollars on diet health and beauty products marketed to us. So have diet culture existed in the first place? Well, the diet and beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. They want, no, they don't just want, they need for all of us to feel bad about ourselves for us to feel insecure, inadequate. So they pump our social media, television, commercials, everything we see with what they want us to think is beautiful, ideal, attainable, valuable and worthy. They bombard us with all of this so we are swimming in it and it becomes our reality. If we feel inadequate, then they can prey on us and then we are in this prime position to be sold their products that they promise to help us achieve what we want and desire most, to look like the people in those images. So we buy their products, but those products don't work. That's the kicker. They aren't ever meant to because if they did, they would not have buyers. Think about it. If their products worked, they would never make a profit. Nobody makes billions and billions of dollars off of one sale. So I'll give you a simple example. Let's say you keep seeing images after images of beautiful people on social media and all of them are smiling and looking happy and your feed is constantly full of people who look similar to one another. And you go, and after you've done that, you look in the mirror and you don't look anything like those people. So after much exposure to seeing these images over and over again, and seeing the smiling faces and reading about how happy they are and seeing all these pictures showing off that they're are great parties and social events that they're going to, you really start to want what they have. You want to be them. You want to be happy and have an exciting life like that and really, you start to believe that the reason you don't have all of those friends, the act of happy social life that all of them have is because you don't look like them. That's the difference. You look at them and then you look in the mirror and you go, "Wow, I don't look like that. Look at the life they have." They all look the same. They belong to the "ideal, thin, attractive, beautiful club." And you desperately want in. So you start to feel worse and worse about yourself and your life and the more exposure that you have to all of these images, the worst it gets. You can't compare, not to how you look now. No way, because you're a real person. So you start to think to yourself, if these people found a way to look like this and do look like this, then it's possible. I can do it too. I just need to do something about it. So now at that moment, you're right where the diet and beauty industry wants you. You are seeped in diet culture. You have bought into the belief that you can only have value worth and happiness if you look like all those people in the images that they are constantly bombarding you with. You will do and buy anything to be thin. So you buy their products, which by the way, they are also bombarding you with ads for. And guess what, there are even more images of thin, happy, beautiful people in those ads, promoting their products that promise you the results you want. So usually whatever product or program you start in will initially give you some results. Because let's face it, once you make a change, any change, you will most likely see a change in your body. So like most people get excited. You get hopeful and actually start to believe you're well on your way to reaching your goal and if you get positive comments from other people, which most people do, it makes things even better and it motivates you even more to keep doing. However, once you hit a plateau, which will inevitably happen, and the changes aren't as dramatic or rapid, or you just can't sustain the program because it's too restrictive, expensive, time consuming or something, or you just can't do it because life in general gets in the way, like you go on a vacation or you go to a party or get sick for a few days and can't follow the program, then what happens? You will probably regain whatever weight you did lose plus more actually and you end up feeling worse after, because you tell yourself that you failed. You couldn't keep it up. You left the willpower. Now you were even more primed to buy another one of their products that promises to really work this time and you tell yourself that this time you won't mess it up, you're going to do it right. So it goes over and over and over again. That which we see is, to us real. And we see all of these images they create all of the time. We have come to believe diet culture. And let's face it, from a young age, we are not only constantly seeing these images in all types of media, but we also observe our parents or peers who are dieting or unhappy with their bodies and hear the praise for those who are thin and the disapproval and mockery of those who are not. Those things only perpetuate diet culture. And then the real damage of diet culture occurs when we can't look like the images we see. These ideas are unhelpful and even harmful and often result in obsessive dieting, food restrictions and participating in each new fad that comes our way in order to reach, achieve thinness. Diet culture promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, which means you feel you need to spend lots and lots of time, energy, and money trying to lose weight to make your body smaller even though the research is very clear, diets don't work. I know I've said that in other podcasts, but they don't. Diet culture makes food something other than what it is, it's fuel and nutrition. Diet culture makes certain foods good and others bad and then your value worth any emotions become tied to those labels. If you eat good food, then you're good and you feel good. And if you eat the bad food, then you're bad. You messed up, you lack willpower and you feel lots of bad things. That's a bad feeling, guilt, shame. Diet culture, also demonizes certain ways of eating and praises others, which means you're forced to really be aware of your eating and again, place moral judgment on yourself and others who can't seem to stick to the "healthy" or "good way of eating." And what's really bothersome to me about this is it constantly changes too. So let's look at this. How many times, I think to myself, how many times have I recently heard how "bad people" feel it is to eat carbs, how bad they are when they eat them and how good they are when they're able to follow some low carb diet like keto? Now, back in the eighties, Cheeto didn't exist. And this is a complete change from then when carbs were praised and eating fat was the worst thing on the planet. Or right now people are praising intermittent fasting as if it's the holy grail of diets. And in all honesty, it's just glorified starvation, but I'm just sitting back waiting for the next best diet for it to get its 15 minutes of fame because let's face it, there is always a new, better, more popular way to eat and lose weight. Now I discuss my own path with my eating disorder in the first five podcasts. But in those, I mentioned that back when mine started, there was no internet. There were however plenty of magazines and television shows and I recall spending hours pouring over magazines and comparing how I looked to the models on the pages. There were always articles on how to lose weight or a spotlight column discussing how one celebrity kept her weight off. I would memorize the height and weight at each of every model or celebrity that was printed telling myself that yes, I too needed to follow the exact plan that they did so that I could weigh what they did because hey, after all they looked amazing. They were beautiful. They were famous, they were desired, they were happy. So if only I could follow their plan to a T, then yes, I would look just like them. I really believe that, only surprise I would follow what I read and I would look in the mirror and at the number on the scale and neither of those matched what I saw on the pages in the magazines. So at that point after really berating myself for failing and not doing it right, somehow one of two things would happen. I would continue following the plan, but just tweak it a bit by eating less and putting in a bit more exercise, or I was scared of the magazines all over again and find my next new plan that this time I was going to do. I would tell myself, I'm not going to fail this one. I was determined to reach my goal this time. So I can tell you this went on and on and I was continuing on this quest for the perfect thing, ideal body I saw on all these other people. And I was thinking I was just doing what everyone else was doing. I mean, after all, why would I think that what I was doing was anything but normal when I read about diet after diet, after diet day in and day out? Why would I not think that it's possible to look just like the people in the magazines and on TV when that is all I saw on a daily basis? Why would I not think back then that I was the one failing time and time again and that I just had to keep going until I finally got it right? Each and every article I read praised someone for following this or that diet and achieving such great results. I remember thinking if so many other people can do this, then I can too. It's like who knew SlimFast, zone, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, The Master Plans? I mean, just to name a few of the ones I tried would not work and give me the body I so desired. None of those helped me see the number on the scale I really wanted. Who knew that when the magazine showed so many other people who were doing it, that it would never work? To me, it was never me. I was just never, ever good enough. I was always falling short. Somehow I was failing, even though I was really doing everything so perfectly, almost too perfectly, it consumed me. How on earth did I not get it at some point that despite how hard I was trying, how perfectly I was following each and every one of these programs and diets, despite how much I was suffering and struggling, I never ever got the results I wanted? Why did I keep blaming myself? Why did I believe so much that the only way I was going to have value worth happiness was if my body was thin enough, if I was smaller? Why did I not think I was good enough worthy or allow myself to be happy unless I look a certain way. Obviously my body was not meant to be what I wanted it to be, what I was told it had to be, because if it was, I would not have had to struggle and work so hard to try and get there. I didn't even realize that by doing all of this and believing all this, that my entire life had suddenly become only about this. It was just the thought that I was doing what everyone else was, only I just hadn't figured it out yet. I had no idea that I had a full-blown eating disorder. And for so many people, they don't have any idea that they do either. What's even more scary is that because we are all seeping in this diet culture. Those that are suffering with an eating disorder may be surrounded by people who don't see that they have one either. In fact, the people in their lives may be doing and saying things that perpetuate diet culture and their eating disorder, without even knowing it, not to mention those that are suffering are most likely spending hours on social media. And when you do that, you get more and more dangerous faulty messages that only perpetuate their eating disorder. There's so many posts, videos, ads, website, influencers, out there that are promoting and perpetuating diet culture and all of its toxic messages, messages that can result in many problems, including the very dangerous consequences, like normalizing disordered eating and diet behaviors, which can like me ultimately lead someone to having an eating disorder. Eating disorders not only cause many health problems for people in the short- and long-term, but can also result in death. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. I know I've said this in other podcasts, but it needs to be said over and over again. I cannot say this enough. Eating disorders can result in death. I don't say this to scare anyone. I say this because it is a real danger of diet culture that needs to be addressed and taken seriously because diet culture normalizes disordered eating. Our societies walk through food guilt, and shame around eating and it completely ignores the reason why we have to eat in the first place. It's not to lose weight. We eat for survival. Food is our fuel and provides our body nutrition to stay alive and be physically well. Food also gives us pleasure, but diet culture demonizes food. It makes us feel guilty for enjoying or indulging in foods we enjoy. I don't know about you, but good foods are those that to me, taste good and that I look forward to eating, but in diet culture, those foods are considered bad and I should feel bad and guilty for eating them. In diet culture, I eat my good food because I lacked any willpower to not eat it. And I used to bind all of this. I would berate myself and worry so much about how much weight do I gain from my indulgence. And I would make a quick plan for how I was going to pay my penance for my sin. I had to find a way to undo this. I had either burn off eating my, what now I consider my good food. But then culture said was bad. I had to burn it off by torturing myself at the gym the next day for hours, or do something drastic like juice cleanse for days. That's absolutely insane. It's ridiculous. But the problem is we internalize this thinking as if it's the way things are and like it's normal. Here are some examples of more diet culture examples. Like I said before, moralizing food descriptors like sinful, it's a guilty pleasure; fattening, bad for you, clean eating, clean foods, having a cheat day. Diet culture promotes and sells products or programs that are "amazing, easy, fast weight loss results." Diet culture encourages the restriction of certain food groups, for example, gluten or sugar or things like that without any medical need to do so, such as an allergy or intolerance. And all of this restriction, the whole goal is to lose weight. Diet culture markets over-the-counter, dietary supplements and products with a promise of fat burning without any clinical evidence, any talk about safety or proper regulation. Diet culture uses the word fat in a negative sense. Look, fat is just a descriptor of people. Just like we say, "Hey, they're tall, they're short, they have blonde hair, green eyes." But this is using such a negative sense. Diet culture fails to recognize that bodies come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, weights, and there's nothing wrong with that. In diet culture, there's only one body and one type that is acceptable and valuable and worthy, and that's just wrong. Diet culture equates our worth to how much we weigh and what we look like. It never takes into account who we are as a whole, your traits, your values, your characteristics, personalities, things that just make you you. Another important thing here is diet culture doesn't tell you to eat healthy and exercise because of the benefits that those things can have on your health. It promotes these behaviors simply as a means to lose weight. Diet culture has you believing that you'll be happy, healthy, successful, loved, and accepted as soon as you have this body, which leads to frustration and self-hatred, when you don't have that body. And weight cycling also occurs with diet culture. When you go on so many diets over and over and over again, weight cycling can have a lot of negative health effects. And that's a problem because again, when you're talking about, saying thin is to be healthy, but then when you are on the quest to be thin, and you're doing behaviors and then you end up having negative health effects, that's a problem. Diet culture results in body image issues for sure and what this leads to in your head is that it feels like it's normal and even encourages self-deprecating talk, especially when it comes to your body. Speaking about body image, what gets me all about body image is that when we hear a person saying anything remotely positive about their own body, they're seen as full of themselves or conceited. So this got me thinking a long time ago, I read about the study and it still to this day, sticks out in my mind. Researchers planted girls as part of their study in a public bathroom. Sometimes they have these girls looking in the mirror saying very positive things out loud to themselves like, "I look really pretty today." And other times they would have the girls say something very awful about themselves like, "Oh, it looks so gross. I'm so fat." And the point of the study was to see how other females in the bathroom reacted and it was always the same. If a female said positive things to herself, she was shunned and criticized. The researchers could hear the other women leaving the bathroom talking to one another saying things like, "Wow, she's really conceited. She's not even at prettier. Wow, who does she think she is?" Versus if the female said something negative more often than not, there was a bonding of sorts where someone would approach her and say something like, "Oh gosh, don't say that. You're beautiful." Or, "I have days like that too. I totally get where you're at." The mirror can be so hard to look at in sometimes. Or if they did not approach women could be heard leaving, saying, "Wow, can you believe how hard she was on herself? How sad she feels? I hope she's okay." There was so much more compassion, empathy, and willingness to connect amongst women when they heard another woman putting herself down, yet, when another woman dare to say something positive about herself, she was quickly criticized and ostracized. There I see a huge problem with this. Why are we socialized this way to not at least feel it's okay to acknowledge something as simple as I look good today, or I look and feel attractive? This is not conceited or being full of oneself. It's having competence and good self-esteem. Why are women's socialized to ostracize and even bind together to criticize another who's competent and can say something positive about her appearance yet at the same time feels so compassionate toward and connected to each other when discussing how awful they feel about themselves. I would love to live in a world where the norm is that we can embrace things, positive things to ourselves about our appearance and bodies. Even if they don't look like the Photoshop filtered, unattainable image, the diet and beauty industry constantly feeds us. Seriously, why do you think all those filtering apps even exist? Because people are afraid of and ashamed to show their real bodies and appearances out there for the world to see. They feel the pressure to look perfect. Only people doing that only perpetuates diet culture. Now we are not only subjected to images of celebrities and models looking for an imperfect. We are now subjected to normal, average, everyday people have been that way. So we really start to think, being able to achieve that look is possible; that everyone out there can and is able to achieve it. Everyone except us. We continue to be the failure. It is even worse if you are the one putting the filter alter pick out there for the world to see, because now there's this fear about when you actually see people in real life, because hey, maybe they won't recognize you. Maybe they expect you to look like that perfect version of yourself, only you don't really look like that. And because you see yourself and believe you can look like your altered filtered photos, you start to tell yourself things like, "Hey, I'm not going to be worthy or good enough until I can actually look like that." I hate to tell you, nobody can look like their altered, filtered self. Nobody. Diet culture is unfortunately everywhere. It's in magazines, commercials, at the gym, and daily conversations. We're sometimes not even consciously aware of it. Plus you don't even have to be on a diet to be caught up in the diet culture and in the diet mentality. I've already said some examples of how diet culture sounds, but here's some more examples of how diet culture is at work in our everyday lives. So diets or dietary plans that encourage rules about eating, I'm not talking about religious rules or things like that surrounding food or eating, but diets are statements that give moral implications to food such as, hey, you ever heard things like guilty pleasure or I'm having a cheat day or statements about yourself or others about their body size, especially when speaking negatively about body size or statements about how you or others would be happier and more successful or better if they were thinner? Stigma about one's weight from healthcare professionals or others like dieticians, doctors, nutritionists, or nurse practitioners who perpetuate like, "Hey, you know what? You just need to lose weight so you can be healthier," or saying things like just watch the weight because it's really going to help you be healthier or saying things like, have you ever heard yourself? Or other people say like, oh gosh, it was so bad this week of that, first thing Monday morning, I'll be good again. Or I can't believe I ate all that. I definitely need to get to the gym tomorrow or she's so lucky she can eat whatever she wants and be so thin or conversely, she better stop eating whatever she wants. Look at how she's let herself go. I'm so worried about her health or gosh, you have such a pretty face, if only you can lose a few pounds or saying to someone, do you really think you should order that? Or even thinking to yourself, things like, "Oh, should I be bad tonight and get dessert? I've been good, so good all week. Maybe just this one time won't hurt." Things I'm constantly hearing from patients is, "I can't trust myself around foods. I can't have them in the house." Or, "Summer's coming and my body's not beach ready. I can't wear swimsuit." Diet culture also is competence behavior around food, for example, burning off that pizza with vigorous exercise or rewarding yourself with cookies for eating only salad all week. I think we've all said something like this, or at least thought them. And this is diet culture. Ultimately diet culture tricks us into thinking our value comes from our exterior, that we need an outside source to tell us how to eat and live, that we can't trust our own bodies. And that feeling this way, this is normal. That's so scary. And its most severe form, diet culture leads to the bullying and oppression of any individual that doesn't meet its very strict requirements for health, beauty and worth. In general weight stigma causes so much stress, body shame, lack of self-worth, depression, and yes, I'll bring it up again, devastating and deadly eating disorders. Hear me when I say this; diet cultures effects are much more serious than the latest weight loss ad wants you to think. So what are we to do? How do we get out of this? Or can we even at all? The first thing is you need to have awareness that diet culture even exists in the first place. For most people, this awareness doesn't even exist. There's nobody to create awareness in their lives because they don't know about it either. But let me be clear. This is not your fault. This is what happens when there is a $76 billion weight loss industry that profits from those who will do anything to pursue that ideal body. All of us, we've been programmed to relate to food and body image this way. So what do we need? We need good support from loved ones and people you trust. This is key to breaking out of the diet mentality. So is healing from diet culture possible? Absolutely. I'm not going to sugar coat it. It's not easy, but it's totally worth it. And the more we all heal from this toxic way of thinking and behaving, the less power and control diet culture has. And who knows, over time, perhaps it will lose all that power and control. So I'm going to encourage you take a break from social media, unfollow those who promote diet culture on social media, and if you can, if you're going to be on social media, follow body-positive activists instead. Change the language you use around food in your body. Speak kindly to yourself. One way I try to have my patients think about this is to ask themselves, hey, if a five-year-old was sitting in front of you, would you tell her all the same things you say to yourself? Have a critical mind. Don't just take these diet-centered messages at face value when you're looking at anything on social media. Start to question things you hear people saying, even so-called experts. As for me, I eventually did beat my eating disorder. I don't know why I never really realized that food had a purpose, which was to keep me alive. I've been seeing food for so long as something that I needed to struggle with and gain control over it in order to get me the body and life I wanted. So during my treatment, I learned how to really use food for its main purpose, which was to provide me fuel and nutrition. I learned that there's no good or bad foods and over time I really gave myself permission to enjoy foods that I ate. After all food really does taste good. You know, and so many food and diet related beliefs, they're just myths. These myths really need to be broken. I'm not going to stop talking about this. I know the diet and beauty industry and I'm well aware that diet culture is so much louder than me, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to get the right information out there and try to at least do something to make a change no matter how small. All right, I hope some of what I said got you thinking about what you need to see in here, out there. Drop me a message at DM on Instagram or Facebook and let me know if you have any thoughts or questions about this. I would love to hear from you. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.