Think of Diet Culture as a parasite. It uses you as its host. It sucks the very life force from you and thrives on it!
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a parasite is defined as:
something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return. [my emphasis]
and according to the Diet Culture Dictionary, Diet Culture is
a system of beliefs, practices and behaviours humans have created based on the ideology that being thin is morally and absolutely good, and being fat is morally and absolutely bad. It impresses upon the population the idea that if you’re fat, it’s a personal failing on your part, that you don’t care about yourself, you’re unhealthy, lazy and don’t have your shit together, whereas if you’re slender, you’re self-disciplined, organised, trustworthy, reliable, fit and healthy. Diet culture involves restrictive eating, moralising food (as good or bad) and exercise in the pursuit of thinness rather than health and enjoyment, though often under the guise of health.
Every time you:
- entertain ideas of how to control your body or your weight
- act on them
- exercise in service of weight control
- attend and/ or pay for weight loss groups or clubs (even if you’re not following the programme or attending)
- weigh or measure your body
- restrict yourself from eating what you want (types or amounts of food)
- wear clothes that don’t fit you as a way to ‘motivate’ yourself to eat less/ exercise more
- criticise or praise your own or someone else’s body for its appearance
- buy or eat food for its supposed impact on your size
- collude with other people about body size being a marker of health, wellbeing or virtue
you’re feeding the parasite!
And what does it give you in return?
- Constant dissatisfaction
- Perhaps an eating disorder
- Disconnection from your body
- Perhaps it exacerbates or causes an illness
- Isolation from others
- Perhaps community with others – but it’s based on something that doesn’t give your life deep meaning or satisfaction
One of the worst things about Diet Culture as a parasite is that it worms its way inside you. It begins to feel like you, like it’s inside your very cells! But it’s not you. it’s just that you’ve internalised it. Almost as if you’ve swallowed it (but it never made it out the other end 💩.)
Is that ok with you?
Does Diet Culture give you a ‘useful or adequate return’?
To stop it from sucking you dry and sapping the joy from your life, you need to stop fuelling it.
It’s not easy.
But it is necessary if you want to be free of it.
Need help from an expert?
If you’ve had enough of being on and off a diet, feeling ashamed of your body and how you eat, binge eating or emotional overeating — you’ve come to the right place.
I’ll help you discover how to let go of all the food rules, trust your own body and reclaim your innate worthiness — so you can live your life unapologetically and focus on what really matters to you.