Diet Culture: Why we need to stop being influenced by everyone

At the beginning of lockdown in March, my focus was not on nutrition or healthy food at all. I bought items I could freeze and things that would last in the cupboard. This was mainly about wanting to stay in the house as much as possible and not have to shop every week. However, as lockdown became the norm and food shopping was the only time I really went out, I started to crave fresh food. But even then, I wasn’t focused on my weight, or exercise. In fact I was trying something new altogether.

I wanted to put the idea of dieting to rest. I didn’t want to eat 1200 calories, or count calories at all. I just wanted to be healthy and fuel my body. Over the past few months, I realised just how much back and forth I have done, looking at someone, whether a celebrity or influencer and deciding that I should follow exactly what they do. Whilst some people are qualified to offer advise and great tips, the majority are not and are looking for a quick money maker. We’ve seen the many celebrity weightloss dvd’s, the pdf guides for sale from influencers who have lost weight; and many other ways we are sold things. I’m sure a lot of people are looking to help, but all this noise around diets, means we have spent years being told so many different and conflicting tips and advise about how we can be healthy or how we should lose weight.

It wasn’t until I had reached next level boredom during lockdown that I decided to download Tik tok, and in doing so I found some great, no nonsense qualified individuals who confirmed that the only thing we need to lose weight is a calorie deficit. It sounds so simple when you say it, and quite obvious. But over the years we have been told to do atkins, keto, intermittent fasting, the blood sugar diet, and so many more! What these people showed is that most of these diets will equate to the same thing… a calorie deficit, but just dressed up in a way to make us buy into it. When I heard this simple explanation of calorie deficit, it was some what of an ah-ha moment.

So in order to reset my mindset, I just put a stop to thinking of food as anything bad, no guilty feelings of eating a certain food, no intermittent fasting, nothing. I didn’t count calories, I just ate. I knew I would probably put on a little weight, but I was ok with that, because I just wanted to get away from any previous notions in my mind about food and how I view it.

After a few months, I then naturally got to a point where I could hit a reset button. Am I in the best shape of my life right now? No. But I’m in the perfect place mentally to make a lasting change going forward. I find myself craving a healthy balance, shifting towards more dairy free options, beyond the plant based milks I currently drink. I want to cook fresh and colourful meals more than ever!

Now this isn’t to say that all health and fitness influencers are bad. There are many that I love! Krissy Cela and Stef Fit are two that I love, because they have always championed balance and valued health above all else. They promote being active for you, and using food as fuel, not punishment. My worry is the amount of diets being promoted, skinny teas and the false information out there. The reality is, people want a quick fix solution, 30 days to a whole new body, and it just doesn’t work like that. What I want more people to see is that you need to be consistent, you need fuel your body with the basics, whilst not depriving yourself and to move your body.

2020 has been a bizarre and heart breaking year, but where there are positives, we have to embrace them. I’m grateful I got time to step back and reflect. Going forward I am excited to cook more, workout because I want to, and not based what others do, and seeing how treating yourself and your body with kindness rewards you.

 

What is one positive you have found from 2020?

 

Love

 

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