Diet Culture Versus Mental Health

Diet culture has become so entrenched in the world that sometimes it can be hard to spot it. What can be meant as a genuine compliment (you look nice, have you lost weight?) can be a massive trigger to someone’s mental health – and neither party may even be aware of that. It’s just part of how we live and the impact it’s having on us can be incredibly severe.

The world seems to hate fat people, thin people, and those who look healthy but are seen eating any food they want. The emphasis is on how we look and not how fit or healthy we are physically. All of this can put a heavy toll on your mental wellbeing – the constant need to look perfect but consistently falling short of an impossible standard.

Eating To Lose Weight

Or not eating, as the case may very well be. The messages are consistently about maintaining a healthy weight – not about maintaining a healthy diet so that you can exercise more, concentrate for longer, live better and sleep well. The emphasis is always on how you look and not how you feel.

This leads to people going for quick fixes to try and lose a few pounds to fit into an outfit or for a special occasion. It becomes a game of mental back and fore as you lose the weight while denying yourself, only to put it all back on again the moment you start back with your usual habits.

Constant Comparison

Another massive addition of fuel to the flames is the world of social media. It was bad enough when the fashion magazines and the health magazines told us all to lose weight. Now the message is coming at us from so-called real people on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and myriad of other platforms. We see influencers who are essential people who struck the right chord at the right time to get a big following on social media, and we compare ourselves to them.

The problem here is that we assume these are real people who are taking photos of themselves the same way that we are, but they are not. Influencers on social media are doing proper photoshoots that are carefully planned, posed and edited. They have learnt all about taking photos in the right lighting and from the right angles to make themselves look better. We are then comparing ourselves at our normal state to these social media experts at their photoshopped best – and this is dangerous. We should rather ignore the perfect look and enjoy a new world of great games instead, happily accepting ourselves at our unphotoshopped best.

The Ultimate Four Letter Word

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that the word diet is not a dirty one. Diet literally means what you eat – from the good through to the indulgent. The world of negative diet culture has created this stigmatism that makes the ordinary person shudder at the thought of the word. A diet has become synonymous with punishment and something you have to do because you were bad by eating cake or drinking wine.