4 Ways to Ditch Diet Culture and Embrace Intuitive Eating
Trigger Warning: This article mentions eating practices and body image. If you or someone you know is struggling with disordered eating and/or body image issues, contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) for help.
As the end of 2022 draws ever nearer, you may notice an uptick in age-old diet culture tropes that have been around for decades. We’re talking about the commercials and social media memes encouraging people to overindulge for the next six weeks…followed immediately by an avalanche of marketing arriving promptly on January 1st telling us we need diet plans and pricey supplements to “get our best selves back”.
When did diet culture get so bad?
We’re issuing a little challenge of sorts this holiday season and offering a lot of encouragement. What if we reject what the talking heads tell us to do with our bodies this year? What if we, instead, take joy in treating our bodies well for the rest of 2022 and throughout 2023?
To help, we’ve gathered a list of our 4 favorite ways you can ditch diet culture and instead embrace an intuitive eating style that can keep you healthy and well all year round.
Reevaluate Your Mindset
This is often easier said than done. For years (and for some of us, it has happened for our entire lives), we have been trained to sort foods according to whether they are “good” or “bad”. The problem with categorizing food is that it creates a framework for a pass/fail mentality. You’re a “good” person when you choose fruits and veggies. When you choose a cookie or slice of cake, you’re a “bad” person who failed while making food choices.
Instead, start thinking of all foods as….well….food. If you have a holiday party on your calendar and know you’ll be enjoying delicious foods and drinks that evening, choose nutrient-dense foods for your morning and afternoon meals.
Embrace Intuitive Eating
Learning how to eat intuitively when you are hungry is a superpower that can help you learn to trust your own body to tell you when to eat and when you are full.
If you’re new to the idea of intuitive eating, check out this helpful list of basic tips from intuitiveeating.org.
Learn to See Exercise as a Treat
Far too often, we use exercise as a punishment for overindulging or as a chore that keeps our bodies looking a certain way. But what if we started viewing exercise for what it really is…the ultimate in self-care?
As the holidays draw nearer, we encourage you to find an activity you love…or reintroduce yourself to one you once loved but let go of. Whether that means taking long walks outdoors, visiting a new yoga studio next to you, or trying your hand at pickleball (yes, for real!), try to find something that feels like a reward to you and do that.
Reject Body Shaming or Trending
There is nothing more deplorable than seeing the fashion industry or influencers try to tell us that our bodies are trends to be embraced or rejected.
”Curvy is back in a big way!”…
“Slim is in!”…
Such talk is untrue and cruel—every body is a beautiful body!—and should not be tolerated. If you follow a brand or influencer who supports, uses, or shares such misinformation be sure to click that unfollow button, stat.
Let’s make an early-bird, pre-holiday resolution this year to let go of the diet culture that has done us so dirty in the past. Let’s reject the fear and judgment and, instead, embrace joy and hope and possibility.
That is, after all, what this holiday season is all about.
The Original Intuitive Eating Pros