It’s January, Diet Culture’s favorite month. Time to start strengthening our tools for navigating this challenging time. Many of us are faced with “diet talk” at work, at family gatherings, social events and on social media. Sometimes it’s appropriate to engage and defend your non-diet journey and other times it’s appropriate to “bow out” of or divert the conversation.
For those of you who have never heard of the term “Diet Culture” it’s a phrase that describes society’s obsession with fad diets, worshiping thinness, equating size with health and capitalizing on people’s insecurities to sell millions of books, products, foods and supplements that create false hope and short term results.
If you are struggling with Diet Culture this month, here are some strategies that can be helpful.
Set a Social Media Time Limit
On your phone, you can set a time limit on your apps. Go into “settings” and hit “screen time” then click “app limits” and set a limit to the time you feel you should spend in these apps.
I’m not talking about diet culture’s version of a cleanse. I am talking about ridding yourself of 5 diet culture triggers a day. It could be unfollowing IG accounts, unsubscribing from email blasts, getting out of Facebook “accountability groups,” throwing out the scale, sorting through and donating triggering clothes in the closet, deleting apps that are entrenched in diet culture, unfollowing triggering pod casts or news articles etc.
Don’t Set / Let Go of Body Changing Resolutions
Whether you got caught up in diet culture and set a body changing resolution or you are feeling tempted to do so, in the spirit of Queen Elsa, “LET IT GO.” Body changing resolutions are not fulfilling and January resolutions put so much darn pressure on a person. Often times these changes backfire and are short lasting. I don’t even set resolutions, just gentle and general affirmations / intentions to direct my energy and mindset. If you are a fan of resolutions, can you alter yours to focus on your relationship with food or make them not food focused at all?
Pick up a Non-Diet Book
Put down your diet books and cookbooks and pick up a Non-Diet book! Christy Harrison, a dietitian and a leader in the HAES community, authored a book that is out called Anti-Diet. It’s a great read for this season. Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield and the Intuitive Eating book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch are also my favorites as well.
Create Conversational Boundaries
If diet conversations are happening around you, you can redirect the conversation by simply saying “Hey, I would love to talk about something else today, what are your plans for this weekend?” You don’t even have to give a reason WHY you would love to talk about something else. If someone said that to you, wouldn’t you take their lead? You can also engage in gentle non-diet conversation. “Hey, I have been trying this new approach to my eating, would you mind if I shared this with you?” Opening this discussion may actually connect you with someone who is struggling with diet culture and wasn’t able to verbalize it.
Put Your Blinders On
Sometimes the only thing we can do is put up our blinders or our imaginary shields and move on with our day. You can choose which information you would like to absorb and which information you can do without. You can choose how much attention you want to give someone’s comment or opinion. You have the power.
Call a HAES / Non-Diet / Certified Intuitive Eating RD
If you feel as though diet culture is getting the best of you, it may be helpful for you to do some sessions with a dietitian that can help you to navigate diet culture and heal your relationship with food. It’s never too late to learn about this approach to eating. We were born intuitive eaters, we all have it within us to come back to it.
As a Certified Intuitive Eating Dietitian, I am happy to help you start or continue your non-diet journey. Call 954-655-8543 or email JuliENERGYnutrition@gmail.com for more information.