As I go through my own struggles with what it means to be "healthy." I've realized that our society, diet culture, and even my beloved fitness industry are spreading and normalizing dangerous messages. It's time to stand up to the money-hungry businesses that live off of people's insecurities. We deserve to be treated better – at least we deserve a little bit of respect. Am I wrong? I don't think so.
What many don't realize is that "what our society deems as 'fitness' and 'wellness' is rooted in racism, classicism, ableism, sexism, patriarchy, diet culture, and fatphobia." It's all a lie created by power-hungry monsters.
But, it's really easy to fall into the trap, I've been there and I'm here to help you get out.
Everyone has their own personal definition of health and that in and of itself is healthy. Everybody and every body are different, which is wonderfully beautiful. However, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and now TikTok are bombarded with wellness influencers and health industry myths that bring life to the destructive diet culture we live in. Let's debunk one toxic diet culture myth at a time.
1. Carbs are bad
I've been scared of carbs for way too long and that's not okay. As a macronutrient, carbohydrates are essential for energy. They won't kill you, quite the opposite, they will keep you alive.
2. Skinny automatically means healthy and people in bigger bodies are automatically unhealthy
Why do we make these assumptions based on appearance when research suggests that health is not determined by what your body looks like?
3. Weight loss makes you live longer
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this isn't necessarily true. In general, "the act of losing weight can actually reduce your longevity."
4. There are "good" and "bad" foods
ALL foods fit because variety, balance, and moderation is the key to health. There is no such thing as a good or bad food because food is food. Period. Done. Conversation over.
5. Cellulite is gross and you should do whatever it takes to get rid of it
Cellulite is extremely common and natural. There is nothing to be ashamed of, so don't let society make you feel bad for just being human.
6. Eating after 7 p.m. will make you gain weight
Forget this and stick to one motto — I'll eat when my body asks for food.
7. You should feel good in your skin 24/7
Everyone has good and bad days and that's perfectly fine. It's all about taking time for self-care and reminding yourself of how incredible you are.
8. Diet culture is true and on my side
Actually, about 95% of diets fail and the multi-billion-dollar industries that formed diet culture profit from the cycle of returning customers.
9. You are defined by the number on the scale
No number can ever define a whole, complex human being.
10. A detox is the best way to start a diet
Detoxes have short-term effects and can leave you less motivated than you were before the cleanse. Plus, these strict diets encourage disordered eating that can lead to scary consequences.
11. Apple cider vinegar shots will make you lose X pounds
No, they really won't.
12. You should stop eating sugar entirely
All sugar is not bad sugar and, remember, there are no good or bad foods. A variety and balance of foods, including sugar, fits into a healthy diet. There is no reason to cut it out completely and live your life in fear.
13. People in smaller bodies are happy
Happiness does not come from body size, it comes from within.
14. If you gain weight, you are lazy
As we grow from babies to teens to adults to senior citizens, we are growing and *gasp* gaining weight. Bodies naturally do it and it doesn't have anything to do with laziness.
15. Weight training makes females bulky
Lifting a few weights won't magically make you bulk up, it takes a lot of hard work. Also, what's wrong with muscle?
16. If you have a flat stomach, you will be worthy
You deserve the world no matter what you look like.
17. Any and all "What I Eat In A Day" videos should be followed
Ahem, we are all different and need different foods to nourish our bodies. What works for one person may not be the ideal routine for another. Can we just stop making and promoting these dangerous videos?
18. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) determines your health
Scientifically, the BMI was never meant to be used as a diagnostic tool for individuals, so why does the medical field still use it? It's not an accurate marker of health since there are a plethora of other factors not taken into consideration. And, don't even get me started on the fact that the National Institute of Health lowered the overweight threshold so insurance companies can benefit. Overnight, individuals who are likely to live healthy, long lives started to be charged higher insurance premiums because the BMI considers them overweight or even obese.
19. Cold water makes you hold onto fat
Um, no. Okay, next.
20. You should buy Flat Tummy Tea if you want to see results
"Teatoxes" are basically diuretics and laxatives, which are not supposed to be used for weight loss. Instead of using these products to reduce bloat and constipation, many misuse them with the intention of fat loss and that's just not how it works.
21. Obsessing over what you eat is healthy
Extreme obsessions and pre-occupations are never good or "healthy" for your mental or physical wellbeing.
22. You should strive for "no pain, no gain" workouts
Exercise and mindful movement should be just that – mindful. Workouts should be fun and enjoyable. You don't have to earn your rest or earn your next meal. You don't have to overwork your body, ever.
23. Starving yourself will help you lose weight
Running errands on an empty stomach will just leave you feeling starving, depleted, angry, irritable, anxious, sad, I could go on and on. All of these feelings will work against you and your life.
24. You should listen to unqualified people on social media for weight loss and dieting tips
Definitely ignore the highly qualified dietitians and weight loss experts.
25. Eating fat makes you fat
Similar to carbs, we need our fats to survive, these include oils, avocados, nuts, and butters.
26. Intermittent fasting is a healthy and easy way to lose weight
Long-term, this type of fasting can come with damaging consequences and points to disordered eating.
27. Metabolism drops are the bomb dot com
No, it's a scam — don't fall for it. Your metabolism includes all the chemical reactions in your body and cannot be influenced by magical drops.
For more information about the toxicity of society's diet culture, check out "Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, And Happiness Through Intuitive Eating."
Purchase it here on Amazon.