Resolutions and Diet Culture: Unfortunately They Go Hand In Hand

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Every year, millions of Americans use January 1st as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and identify areas of improvement. Many of us have experience with resolutions that revolve around weight-loss or changing the physical appearance of our bodies. And unfortunately the diet and weight loss industry capitalize on this mentality and feed us unreasonable ways to “fix ourselves” and “get in the best shape of our lives”.


Resolutions are a great approach to making improvements in our health and our lives, but just because it’s a new year, does not mean you have to participate in the diet culture BS.


New Year, New You Right?

Tons of people make New Year’s resolutions, and at some point in your life you’ve probably made one about your diet or body. We have all been there. Maybe it’s to start a new intense exercise routine, maybe it’s a new diet you haven’t tried yet. This is an all-or-nothing mindset and is not sustainable. These restrictive goals can  lead to larger, often negative, health consequences.


Diet Culture Has Infiltrated Resolutions

Each year, people fall victim to diet culture’s game. We set out to become a healthier version of ourselves, no matter what your approach may be. But diet culture has become so immersed in the idea of New Year’s resolutions that it has become second nature for many people to create unrealistic standards for themselves. The belief system that diet culture thrives off of is one built around guilt and shame. If your diet didn’t help you lose weight, you failed or you just haven’t found the right one. 


Diet culture also normalizes the idea that food and exercise has a moral value. Many people display this idea through the use of negative self-talk about their own body or the bodies of others – or judgements made about themselves based on their food choices, behaviors or physical appearance.


Common resolutions of someone immersed in diet culture:

  • “I’m so bad for eating this. I’m cutting out all of this in 2023.”
  • “I can’t have that. I’m trying to be good and lose 50 pounds”
  • “I’ve really let myself go. I’m going to work out every time I eat too much”


Why This Approach Doesn’t Work

Research indicates that restrictive and rigid dieting does not work. While many people may see short-term weight loss results when following a restrictive diet, studies have found that more than 90% of individuals gain back most, if not all, of the weight they’ve lost within the first five years. These results are used to fuel the idea that these trending diets “work”. People experience short term physical results, but often suffer long term dissatisfaction with themselves and their relationship with food. 


Diet culture over simplifies everything that impacts your health and boils it down to your weight and appearance. There are SO MANY factors that influence health, it is impossible for one single approach to be a cure all. A significant amount of evidence shows that engaging in restrictive dieting and/or experiencing the effects of weight stigma driven by diet culture contributes to significantly worse psychological health and general wellbeing.


How To Approach Resolutions Instead

In 2023, we are combating diet culture with a weight neutral and unbiased approach. Try practicing a resolution that focuses on how you feel and is set with kindness towards yourself. 


Some anti-diet resolutions: 

  • Moving my body in any way that feels good to me (resistance training, walking, running, playing a sport, yoga, resting).
  • Prioritize eating 3 meals/day to feel more energized!
  • Practice body positive affirmations daily to show appreciation for my body and all that it does for me


Our resolution this year is to stay curious about the intentions behind exercise and dietary changes. We want to build respect for our bodies and show you how to support yourself on this journey. If you are in need of guidance with navigating eating for you the Food Ease team can help! 

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