It’s time to let go of diet culture, embrace self-acceptance and nurture your relationship with food
When I was younger, I devoured any magazine article about diets promising to make me smaller. I learnt which celebrities followed the Atkins diet and how, if I ate like them, I could get the same results. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was suffering from an eating disorder and each article was reinforcing my desire to be… less.
Today, I’m a good 15 years into my recovery and I’ve come to see how toxic diet culture is, not only to those struggling with disordered eating, but to society as a whole. We’ve come a long way in some respects, with the body acceptance movement making strides, but we have a long way to go. I still get constant advertising about diets and, recently, a direct message on Instagram asking if I’d like to learn how to lose the ‘Quarantine 15’.
The problem is that diet culture is so embedded into our culture that it’s become insidious in nature. Hating our bodies is normalised, so much so that we balk when someone who doesn’t fit the societal ‘ideal’ celebrates themselves.
In an attempt to counter this, today we celebrate International No Diet Day. A day where we recognise that dieting to lose weight not only doesn’t work, but can be actively harmful. Instead, we want to raise awareness of body acceptance, nurturing our relationship with food, eating for the joy of eating and doing what’s best for you, not for society.
Celebrating today, Anti Diet Riot Club are holding a free five-day summit full of workshops and talks designed to help you fight back against fat phobia, resist diet culture and explore living authentically in your body.
This could be the perfect way to dip your toe into the world of body acceptance and resistance to diet culture. And if the concept of not dieting feels alien to you, you’re not alone. We’ve rounded up some helpful resources to help you learn more.
On diet culture:
- Happiful columnist Grace Victory shares her thoughts on diet culture and mental health.
- We round up some anti-diet campaigns you need to know about.
- Nutritionist and author Pixie Turner offers pointers to help you spot diet culture BS.
- We share some top tips to avoid diet talk.
On cultivating a positive relationship with food:
- We chat to nutritionist and author Laura Thomas about intuitive eating and what it really involves.
- We pull back and look at the bigger picture when it comes to food and the role it plays.
- We call out the signs of a fad diet so you can avoid them.
- We share how food can transport you somewhere else.
On body image:
- We discuss body neutrality and how it can be a safe haven when loving our bodies feels out of reach.
- Health and wellbeing writer Claire Munnings offers six steps to create a better relationship with your body.
- We chat to body positivity activist Stevie Blaine about body confidence for men.
- Health writer and nutritional therapist Jenna Farmer discusses loving your body when you have a chronic illness.
On talking to kids:
- Campaigner, author and founder of The Body Happy Org Molly Forbes chats with us on our podcast, I am. I have. about how we talk about bodies to the children in our lives.
- We share our top tips for helping teens cope with body image issues.
- We explore ways to encourage kids to develop a healthy relationship with food.
- We chat to author Laura Dockrill about her body positive teen novel.
Letting go of diet culture and improving body image can be difficult and may be linked to your mental health. If you think you would benefit from some professional support on your journey, visit Counselling Directory to access counsellors who can help.