Diet Culture


Ana Sanchez


I’m pretty sure we’ve all been in this situation: we look in the mirror and we judge what we see. The pressure of beauty standards raised within social media can cause us to become insecure about things we can’t control like our facial structure or our side profiles. Ever since we were little, we’ve been told to meet the “perfect” body expectations society forced upon us: certain weight, a hourglass body, hip dips, a flat stomach, toned and defined legs, etc. We take all these in as natural human behavior, and because we want to be accepted, we dive into strict and restricted diets, such as cutting out all carbs and fats, and letting your self-worth be determined by the number on a scale. This dangerous lifestyle can be deteriating, and can lead to the neglection of self-love. We forget to appreciate the differences in us and automatically concieve them as flaws.

My goal is to dive deeper into what diet culture and self love are, in hopes that you’ll embrace your beauty a little more after you finish reading this article.

According to Sarah Upson, a registered eating disorder dietician, “Diet Culture is the belief that focuses on weight, shape, and size over one’s well being. It includes strict eating patterns that are disguised as healthy, but in reality, only exists to control the body figure of its participants.” This belief system defines health as losing weight- if you are thinner, you are going to be happier and healthier, and restricting certain food groups will make you feel and look better. Those who believe in diet culture tend to eliminate foods high in fats, carbohydrates, and calories,  avoid social situations just because of the type of food that is going to be served, and obsesses over how much they’ve gained or lost that week. They believe that exercise is a punishment instead of an activity that should be enjoyed. It is really hard to diminish diet culture’s behavior because society has been manipulated to believe in many of the things diet culture promotes, making it hard to get out of a brain space we had normalized.

 Social Media is one of the main sources of where our insecurities are formed. Fortunately, there are influencers, personal trainers and dieticians that do not promote this belief system. In an interview, personal trainer and influencer, Jordyn Trenholm, said “I hate diet culture.” As she shared her fitness journey, Trenholm revealed that she was involved in sports throughout her early years and later moved up to lifting, enjoying healthy foods and practicing healthy habits.Trenholm also said “I looked at fitness influencers and I noticed I didn’t want to look like that, I didn’t want to follow the aesthetics.”She began her fitness journey to nourish her body and health, she also explained how important eating is and how as teenagers, we shouldn’t be scared of feeding our body. Trenholm also stated that she doesn’t have a restrictive diet, and instead, she listens to what her body craves. She has influenced many people into starting their fitness journey and to let go of their past eating disorders and restrictions. 

       Letting go of diet culture and its beliefs is hard, especially when they are habits we’ve ingrained into our minds and have been practicing without even noticing. Ways to diminish the diet culture lifystyle, includes incorperating new habits and activities into our daily routine.  For example, read an auto help book, listen to podcasts that will support you and guide you through the process, guide yourself through different influencers whom inspires and motivates you to be a better version of yourself.

Linda Sun is an amazing and inspiring youtuber. Also, Victoria Garrick, a former D1 volleyball player that speaks on body positivity, self love and intuitively eating are all examples of this.

Specialists suggest starting by treating your body with a meal that’s not in any meal plan, take relaxing walks or have a dance party. Eat healthy and workout for the right reasons. People should do it because they enjoy it, not because they think it is a punishment. Always remember to love your body since it’s the only one you have.

Despite the advice, it’s inevitable that sometimes loving your body can be harder done than said. As human beings, it’s normal to have days where we feel unmotivated and down, but it’s important to break through the challenges and seek self-love in order to positively grow as an individual.