By Victoria Zambello
"thing tastes as good as thin feels."
"Wow, you can go a full day without food – that's self-control."
"If you take apple cider vinegar, you will lose weight."
“If you eat after 8pm. you will get fat. "
Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally affected by the diet culture.
I was exposed to diet culture from a young age and, don't be fooled, so was you. Have you ever seen in advertisements that if you drink their product all day it can fit into your prom dress? Diet culture itself dominates our world.
When I returned home from studying abroad, I thought what a perfect opportunity to lose that "extra" weight that I had gained. I felt more than insecure and uncomfortable with the fact that my once athletic and lean body, in other words, became a woman. I immediately quarantined to follow accounts on Instagram promoting calorie starvation and weight loss. I even made it my business to download a calorie counting app and every time I ate something “healthy” or low in calories, I got a smiley face. But when I put in foods like peanut butter, coconut water, or wheat thins, I got a red frown. I removed peanut butter from my diet. Every time I went out for wheat thins and hummus, I froze, remembering feeling the guilt of putting red, frowning face food on my app. Slowly but surely, I withdrew from this cycle and began following reports that promote healthy relationships with food, rather than viewing food as demonized.
"Much healthier than eating this kale fixes your surrounding attitudes of what is stopping you from eating ice cream."– Alexis Comeau '21,
“I saw on TikTok that a girl had lost 10 pounds by drinking warm lemon water, cinnamon, and honey. She mixed it in a water bottle and drank it twice a day. So I drank this religiously twice a day. I was unhappy, ”said Jackie Ireland, Division I Soccer Alumni and Body Positivity Influencer, in an email.
"Ninety-one percent of women surveyed on college campuses had tried dieting to manage their weight, and 22 percent of them" dieted "often or constantly, according to Mirror Mirror, an organization for Eating disorder.
"I was the leanest and I wasn't even happy about it. I ended up thinking I'll never be happy if that's all I think about," said Sam Gwaz, Lifestyle Coach and Nutritionist (MS CISSN CSCS), too known as SamthePlan, through a video interview.
How it starts
For me it was the wrong diets mixed with meticulous attention to the types of foods I put into my body. This came about in an effort to improve my athletic performance and then quickly turned into a general body obsession experienced by young girls and women who wanted to be as lean as possible with as little body fat as possible. I stopped eating meat, concentrated on tabata workouts, and tried to squeeze into smaller clothes. Monday through Friday I limited myself to bathing only on the weekends. However, that changed when I came across an Instagram account called Samtheplan. I saw a photo of Sam devouring a burger and immediately thought, "She can't be fit" – she's eating meat (yes, that's a disorganized thought). I stopped eating meat mainly for health reasons, believing in that moment I was making a positive decision.
A restrictive lifestyle is a toxic pattern that forces you not to think about what your body needs, but to manipulate your body: "I see it all the time with my clients and my friends, where you narrowly assess your needs and They think you need less than you really need and that makes you think, "I can't have, that I shouldn't have, and so on," said Gwaz.
Illustration by Ashley DeLeon
We make the rules
The food culture is full of everyday habits and rules that we don't even know we're making up. The key to getting out of the food culture is understanding that health isn't necessarily exactly what you eat, but your general outlook on food, stress, and life as a whole. "I can't have bread, I've already eaten bread twice today … what? WHO invented that?" Said Alexis Comeau 21.
If we focus our attention on how others are doing, we can move away from the mutual comparison game that promotes diet culture. "Eating disorders and exercise addiction almost always result from an individual striving to be THE best, THE strongest, rather than THEIR best self," said Nicole Adach, mental abilities coach at St. Michael & # 39; s College.
For Adach, self-talk is something that she often uses for herself: "I have a constant conversation with myself all day and challenge my own stories about food and what I have taught myself to think about and believe about food", said Adach.
For me it is a mixture of self-talk and awareness from my inner circle of friends. I am overjoyed to be surrounded by women who recognize disorganized thoughts and can call me quickly and productively. I have found a sense of mental and physical strength that has allowed me to fall in love with strength without worrying about weight. Over the past six months I've watched both my body and mindset change, from a girl who wanted to fit in as thin as possible in the food culture to a confident woman who fell in love with strength.
Raise your hand when ready to break the diet culture?
Illustration by Ashley DeLeon
Victoria Zambello is the editor-in-chief of The Defender. She is Senior Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts with a minor in Sociology. She is committed to a balanced lifestyle and focuses on empowering others.