Don't be fooled. You can stop counting calories, points, macros and carbs and still be dieting.
Any attempt to control your body weight or size by controlling what you eat and how you exercise is a diet. Programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, The Whole30, 21-Day Fix and countless others fall into this category.
But here's the thing:
Dieting isn't just a way of eating...it's a way of life.
We live in an extremely fat-phobic culture that is obsessed with being thin, fit, and healthy (those 3 things are NOT synonymous, by the way).
We live in a world where, every 5 minutes, an ad for the latest 'teatox' pops up on your Facebook or Instagram news feed.
We live in a diet culture.
The fear of fat and the belief that we should do everything in our power to avoid it is so ingrained into the fabric of our society that we believe it's normal. Many of us can't even see that being in a daily battle with our food and ourselves is unnatural.
Our individual and collective lives revolve around thinking of food as 'good' or 'bad', measuring our self-worth according to our dress size, and feeling horrible about ourselves because we don't have the "ideal" body type.
Diet culture is part of a bigger system of oppression that dishonors our humanity on a daily basis. It denies us the right to exist peacefully in our bodies as they are.
Dieting isn't just a way of eating...it's violence against yourself.
When I talk about dieting being violent, I’m not exaggerating…not even a little bit.
Restricting food? Violence
Working out beyond exhaustion? Violence
Verbally or physically abusing others because of the body they're in? Violence.
Even the language used to promote weight loss is violent: CRUSH your cravings, KILL belly fat, BEAT cellulite.
Diet culture destroys our ability to have a peaceful relationship with food, our bodies and every other aspect of our lives.
I see it as an assault on our humanity and a source of real pain in the lives of many women.
We don’t have to keep fighting ourselves.
Diets are being sold to you as lifestyle changes
Did you know that Americans collectively shell out over $60B each year to the diet and weight loss industry?
If you're paying attention, you'll notice that most of these companies have avoided using the word 'diet' and have tried to sell us the idea that it's a lifestyle change.
They know diets don't work. They know WE KNOW that diets don't work. So they call it something else (e.g. health, wellness, lifestyle) and they maneuver their marketing to appeal to the part of you that doesn't want to be on a diet, but still wants to lose weight.
Whether it's Oprah trying to convince us that her 30 points/day on Weight Watchers is like a "game" and NOT a diet, or Special K commercials asking "What will you gain when you lose?" I'm not buying it.
It's all the same diet nonsense repackaged in a faux feminine empowerment box with a big pink bow. The goal is still the same: for you to spend your money and time on trying to make yourself smaller and therefore more palatable to society.
I'm telling you this because dieting isn't normal. I don't care what anyone says. We did not fall out of the womb wanting to lose weight.
It's beyond time for us to wake up to the fact that dieting isn't just a "thing" that women do because we enjoy being at war with ourselves. It's a culturally encouraged behavior that dishonors our humanity over and over again.
True freedom can come when we opt out of this madness.
P.S. If you want some help opting out, check out my self-paced writing course, Write To Get Free. Every week I send out reflection questions and a writing prompt designed to help you unravel toxic beliefs around dieting, food, and body.
If you loved this post and want to read more like it every week, get on the list: