25 Diet culture LIES you need to stop believing today
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
There's no easy way to say this.
Diet culture isn't on your side.
The media, the magazines, the subliminal messages we receive on the daily... they're all teaching you you're not enough.
No matter what you do.
I've broken down some of the specific lies so you can begin getting curious and explore these yourself.
1. Being skinny is an indicator of health.
Just because someone is thin, doesn't mean they're healthy. And just because someone is large, doesn't mean they're unhealthy. Did you know people in larger bodies are often told by doctors that losing weight is the answer even when their presenting concern has nothing to do with their weight? This is unjust.
2. Being thin solves all your problems.
Do you ever think that if you can just lose those 10 lbs you'll FINALLY feel good in your skin? You’ll finally feel comfortable, happy, and relaxed. Unfortunately, all your problems don’t disappear when you lose weight. Happiness and satisfaction are layered emotions and losing weight is not the key to achieving lasting joy.
3. Your size reflects your worth.
WRONG. As much as diet culture makes you think that being thin or having big boobs or tan skin or wavy hair makes you more lovable and superior, this is WRONG. I preached a sermon that dives deep into what your self worth is really about.
4. You have full control of the shape of your body.
We’re taught that if we eat certain foods and exercise a certain amount we can get our bodies sculpted exactly the way we want it. Except... WRONG. Genetics, medication, metabolism, age are all factors at play. Having full control of your body's size and shape is an illusion that diet culture sells you on.
5. Some foods are good, some foods are bad. Avoid the bad, eat only the good.
Diet culture assigns morality to food when food is inherently neutral. One easy way to prove this is to look at how "good" and "bad" foods have changed over time. Eggs used to be bad because they are high in cholesterol, but are now promoted as a great protein option for breakfast. We project value judgments on our food as a result of diet culture.
6. There’s a right way and a wrong way to look.
The media would lose a lot of money if they started supporting you as you are right now. You wouldn’t need makeup or hair dye or a gym membership or diet pills. The media convinces you that there is a problem and they have what it takes to fix you. Turns out that you're actually perfect the way you are, right now. ❤
7. Aging is bad.
Aging is actually natural. And any serum, cream, or juice blend that tells you it can stop a natural process is either a) unnatural or b) lying.
8. Cellulite is gross and needs to go away.
Again, cellulite is natural and genetic. It cannot be massaged out or prevented. And it can't be controlled via weight management.
9. Fat is bad.
Food doesn't have moral value. Neither do food groups. Fat as a noun describes the type of molecule present. Fat as an adjective is simply a description. No different than green, crunchy, and tall. Any negative connotation we have is the result of diet culture demonizing certain food groups, creating a villain out of some and superheroes out of the others.
10. Sugar is bad.
Refer to #9
11. Carbs are bad.
Refer to #9
12. Cholesterol is bad.
Refer to #9
13. People will only like you if you’re pretty.
Some people are under the spell of diet culture and may genuinely have biases towards certain appearances. But not ALL people will only like you if you're pretty. People who value your thoughts, emotions, and wisdom see beyond your exterior appearance. And these are the people you need to be hanging out with and investing in.
14. Skinny = happy
If the models are skinny and the models are smiling that must mean that if I look like them I'll be happy too... right? 🤔 On some level you KNOW that happiness cannot be bought with money or achieved via status or won through outward beauty. Happiness is a lifelong, inner journey. One that takes patience, determination, and requires you to show up authentically.
15. Your worth is a reflection of your food choices.
Does this sound familiar? "Oh I've been so bad today! I shouldn't have eaten all of those _____." Newsflash: You haven't been "bad." There is nothing inherently wrong or evil about eating certain foods. When we start using labels like this, we're criminalizing behaviors that ought to be neutral. Food doesn't need to evoke punishment, reward, guilt, or praise.
16. The models on TV are a representation of the majority of men and women.
It's easy to think that most women and men look like the celebrities we see prancing around on national television. But if you were to take a sampling of the average American, we are a far more diverse crowd than the media represents. People come in all shapes and sizes.
17. Your weight is a reflection of your worth.
It pains me to say that people do indeed get treated differently based on their weight. Size discrimination and fatphobia are real. But just because some people are still learning to be accepting of all bodies, doesn't mean that you are any less valuable. Whether others treat you fairly or not has nothing to do with your worth as a human.
18. Feeling ashamed of your body is normal.
Often people dismiss me as a coach because they don't think their problems are significant enough to warrant help. That's because diet culture has convinced you that feeling broken and inadequate is NORMAL. Common? yes. The way it has to be? No.
19. Feeling insecure in your body is part of being a girl/boy/human.
As women, often we BOND over our insecurities. We commiserate with each other or compare our 'inadequacies.' But this doesn't mean it's normal or unavoidable. Be the change you wish you see. For real.
20. Everyone is embarrassed about their weight.
Diet culture convinces you that you're all in this whole "hate your body" thing together. But in reality, not everyone is embarrassed about their weight or afraid to tell someone their pants size. Some people are comfortable with the number on the scale and proud of the way they look. Want this to be you? The Soulful Food and Body Experience can help you get there.
21. Your weight is a reflection of your health.
You can't tell if someone is healthy based on their weight. There are very thin people who are sick or don't eat enough nutrients. There are people in larger bodies who exercise daily and
eat them leafy greens. Marie Forleo is one of my business idols and she recently interviewed hip-hop dancer Amanda LaCount who is making waves as a plus sized dancer. And guess what? Amanda eats her damn veggies and is in the studio dancing hours a day.
22. Shame is a good motivator for change.
Diet culture has a Ph.D. in guilt-tripping. If your life is dominated by "shoulds" then chances are you're experiencing guilt or shame. Which are NOT effective motivators for change. Read more about shame here and how to work with it.
23. Losing weight is good.
Sometimes people lose weight due to serious illnesses, an eating disorder, or factors outside of their control. We need to be mindful of 'congratulating' people on losing weight.
24. Gaining weight is bad.
Diet culture convinces you that gaining weight is something you want to avoid at all costs. But the truth is, our bodies fluctuate in size and shape all the time. Over the course of your life, you're going to gain weight at some point.If this happens and you're uncomfortable with it, come talk to me. Because you haven't done anything wrong and you're not any less lovable. And it's important you know that.
25. If you’re not losing weight, you’re not trying hard enough.
Coming back to shame here, diet culture is always going to put the blame on YOU. But in reality, chances are you're not losing weight because a) diets don't actually work b) your body is already at its healthy weight. Diet culture will never admit that it's responsible, not you, for your "failed attempts" at losing weight.
I call it like I see it. And what I see is a system profiting off of your self-loathing. Off of your insecurities.
One of the best things you can do is start cultivating a practice of awareness and acceptance for your body, your thoughts, and your life. As you are, right now.
My free guide has 7 days of prompts to help you continue challenging diet culture and come home to your truth, your spirit, and your worth. Jump on this. Because YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN YOUR weight, body, food choices, and appearance.