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The Toxicity of Diet Culture

April 28, 2021

Diet culture is the thought that people are worth more or less based on their body size. Find out how we can move beyond this toxic idea!

It is important that we as humans make moves away from the negative environment that is diet culture. With mental health needs on a huge incline, fighting the idea that our worth is tied to our body is so important.

Breanna Danielle is the founder of the lifestyle and wellness site  Breanna combines her love for research and passion for wellness through her online work of creating a safe space for POC to improve their mental, spiritual and physical health.

When Breanna isn’t working on content or teaching classes, you can find her being a foodie at your local vegan bakery. Living a plant-based lifestyle has been a long and rewarding 8-year journey, and she uses her lessons learned along the way to inspire others to change their lifestyle habits. You can connect with her on Instagram via @plantbasedbre.

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What is Diet Culture?

Diet culture is the overall idea that your worth, value, morality are tied to your body size. It focuses on how we look on the outside, and not who we actually are.

Diet culture exists everywhere, from the infiltrated online world and social media, to places like doctors offices and clothing stores.

Nutrition, workout culture, health and wellness spaces are filled with a particular body type. But food and exercise are really just a small part of overall wellness.

Why is Diet Culture Toxic?

A main problem with diet culture, is that it is everywhere. It affects every size, it affects every race. The idea that you must change your body to look a certain way reaches all people.

We are conditioned to believe these things from a very young age. This creates stories in our subconscious which drive our future actions. If our stories are based in the toxicity of diet culture, then our actions will follow suit.

Diet culture is found in such a wide array of areas in our life, that it is hard to escape. It takes work to undo the harm it has laid. You must put effort into training your mind to think differently.

Another aspect of diet culture is the idea of toxic positivity, the need to be positive all the time. This is not reality When we don't accept and process our negative emotions, we are pushing them down and eventually they will burst.

This toxic positivity is seen online constantly. It's the picture perfect house, mom, relationship, child. A pretty painting that is simply one snapshot of a real life. It's a highlight reel, but the problem is people take it as the whole movie.

Identifying Diet Culture

Bre says that diet culture started affecting her as young as 14 when she started to feel that she needed to lose X amount of weight. She was an active young woman, but still remembers having pediatricians tell her she was overweight.

Many doctors still do this today. Without a full exam and deep dive into a persons life, and simply based on the number on a scale, they turn to weight loss as their go to sugestion.

This is diet culture. It's based on the idea that a bigger body size is not acceptable. Except bigger does not necessarily mean unhealthy. Health can be achieved at all sizes and a deep look into someones life needs to be done before suggestions are given.