The Toxic Reality of the Diet Culture

The Toxic Reality of the Diet Culture - Beauty & Wellness - Laura Blog
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It seems like year after year, eating healthier and dieting is everyone’s top priority for the new year. The most popular resolutions have actually become trends. With the amount of food eaten every holiday season, people famously resort to the desire to shed a few pounds at the start of the year. Obviously, after eating your heart out, it’s quite tempting to try a restrictive diet, but like everything else in life, that comes with its pros and cons, too. By reading through this article, you’ll slowly realize why you probably shouldn’t add dieting to your 2020 goals.


The Weight Problem

At some point in our lives, we’ve all tried to burn off calories in hopes of slimming down. In fact, we live in a society where a number of products, services, and “miracle weight-loss cures” are readily available to help us get the results we’ve always dreamed of. The problem? The decision to lose weight, let’s be honest, has everything to do with the size on our clothing labels – although for some, it may be motivated by the desire to be healthy and fit.

Health professionals rarely encourage the population to exercise and eat their greens when such habits have positive effects, such as promoting sleep and improving overall performance. According to them, the number on the scale is the only thing that seems to truly matter, and what they’ll stress the most. In other words, If a person isn’t content with their own body and not confident, the only advantage for them, is the decrease in the number shown on the scale.

The rise in the popularity of diets has to do with one thing, and one thing only: weight concern. We are constantly being told that dieting has to do with healthy eating habits and general well-being, even though they’ve repeatedly proven to be harmful to our health. By putting yourself on a strict diet, you’ll probably shed a few pounds, but do you really come out a winner?

The Weight Problem - The Toxic Reality of the Diet Culture - Laura Blog
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Healthy Eating Obsession

When your objective becomes wanting to be in better physical form, it evidently makes sense to alter your eating habits, as these two go hand-in-hand. However, this habit can get quite dangerous as people start contemplating heavily on what to ingest. For many, weight loss becomes an obsession that’s associated with unhealthy behavior.

The dictionary definition of a diet is defined by a regimen that’s marked by periods of restriction and deprivation. Among other things, eating selectively encourages people to ban food, reduce portions and skip meals altogether. In doing so, we end up excluding essential nutrients that the body needs to function – including carbohydrates – which can, in turn, cause deficiencies.

When taken to the next level, an interest in intermittent fasting or a dietary program can quickly become detrimental to our well-being. It promotes the false idea that health equals to thinness and can ruin our relationship with food. It’s perilous to believe that one will feel better about oneself once they reach their ideal weight, considering how rigorous and harmful the diet culture is.

Healthy Eating Obsession - The Toxic Reality of the Diet Culture - Laura Blog
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Myths on Weight Loss and Body Image

1. Equating thinness with wellness

In our culture, weight is wrongly associated with health when a person’s well-being is actually not defined by their physical shape. Unless we have a person’s medical records, how can we make a diagnosis based solely on one’s appearance? We can’t, yet, doctors insist that women lose weight before they can even utter a word upon visit.

If slim women advocate an inactive lifestyle and don’t analyze every single thing they eat, and quite frankly, don’t care much, then women who dress in the plus-size department can very well monitor their diet and exercise. As a society, we must stop selling weight loss as the only solution, and instead, promote healthy habits, which are real indicators of good physical condition.

2. Healthy weight is accurate and reliable data

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple calculation that uses a person’s height and weight. Although there exists a link between a high BMI and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, these measures remain inaccurate, because they don’t take into account individual factors, such as age and one’s percentage of muscle mass.

The data that’s collected is therefore not sufficient enough to determine our state of health or the need to shed pounds. It puts us in enclosed boxes, stigmatizing the people who are above the standard norms. Unfortunately, these numbers make some feel embarrassed and guilty, when in reality, they’re of no use.

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3. Accepting yourself is letting yourself go

Many people tend to automatically assume plus-sized people look the way they do because they let themselves go. Because their figure doesn’t meet society’s standards, we immediately associate them with having a low self-esteem. For some odd reason, our culture doesn’t strongly believe that full-figured people can be confident, too.

In a world that puts so much emphasis on appearance, having a positive outlook on one’s body is not always easy. We must redefine the concept of true beauty and start embracing what makes us different, despite the judgment from others. Although accepting ourselves for who we are is essential for our well-being, it’s sometimes a long and tiring process.

4. Losing weight is a question of wanting to

Contrary to what most think, losing weight doesn’t necessarily depend on a person’s motivation to be thin. Some individuals are just naturally skinny and some just always carry themselves with a weight that’s below the average. Hormones and genetics are to blame when some can’t attain the results they want – they’re not excuses.

By going on a strict diet, you’ll easily burn calories, but as soon as you get into your normal eating habits again, you’ll gain back what you lost. In periods of deprivation, what most don’t know is that our bodies store fat for survival. So, when your body starts to overcompensate for the lack of food, you’ll find yourself back where you started.

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For the new year and the years to come, let’s refuse the weight-loss fad and learn to be more in tune with our cravings and needs when it comes to food. Is that piece of cake just starring at you? Don’t hesitate! No food is bad for you if you have a balanced diet, which includes reasonable proportions.

Adapted from French by Tania Di Palma


Written by Jessica Paquin

Whenever anyone in Jessica’s entourage needs fashion advice, they go straight to her. As an active feminist, (fighting for women and not against men) Jessica is also known for being involved in her community. A self-proclaimed part-time geek, she’s an expert in dad jokes—a talent she was graced with through genetics—loves Japanese animated films, and is obsessed with adorable animal videos.

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