Resisting Diet Culture: My Experience


Diet culture is defined as “a set of beliefs that values thinness, appearance, and shape above health & well-being,” according to NEDA.
Weight stigma and fatphobia are so embedded in our society and culture that they are harmful to people of all bodies and can perpetuate eating disorders as well. Not to mention,  it literally profits from our insecurities. Diet culture creates body ideals that put moral values on our bodies and the food we eat. It tells us that fat people are less valuable and creates thin privilege. Diet culture is toxic, and needs to be resisted.
In my experience, diet culture has played a huge role in the development of my eating disorder. Since diet culture is integrated in all parts of our current culture, it makes it hard to navigate both recovering and resisting stigmas and norms influenced by diet culture. I think it’s important to recognize the internal fatphobia and biases within us when it comes to battling diet culture and weight stigmas. We were raised into fearing fat bodies, and praising thin bodies. Exploring the notions of body neutrality and health at every size has helped me upack the fatphobia within myself. Fat is not a synonym for ugly or bad. Fat doesn’t mean unhealthy. Skinny is not a synonym for pretty and good. Skinny doesn’t mean healthy.
Diet cultures’ lies may lead us to negative body images. According to NEDA, “It is important to remember that every body is different. We all have different genetic and cultural traits. Even if everyone started eating the same things and did the same amount of exercise for a whole year, we would not all look the same at the end of the year. This is because each person’s genetic inheritance influences their bone structure, body size, shape, and weight differently.”