This is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while, and it’s something that’s made me feel quite conflicted, as a female Coach who helps people to lose weight
‘Anti Diet Culture’ is something you may have heard about or read about. It’s only something that’s really been on my radar this year, if I’m honest.
Let’s start at the beginning though: First, we need to know what ‘Diet Culture’ is, before we can talk about being ‘Anti Diet Culture.’
‘Diet Culture’ is a belief system that equates thinness to happiness, success, and moral values.
It promotes weight loss as a way to attain status.
Diet culture teaches us that our self worth should be directly linked to our weight and size.
Diet culture demonizes certain ways of eating.
Diet culture basically tells us that we should want to be thin, and should be unhappy if we’re not.
Diet culture is pretty much what women’s media (magazines, TV programmes etc) has been built on since I was a little girl (and maybe before that too).
Now, I massively disagree with all of this. I think ‘diet culture’ is harmful and dangerous.
However, and this is where I feel conflicted, I also don’t believe that we should punish people or make people feel bad for wanting to lose weight. I don’t think we should not talk about weight loss for fear of upsetting people, or for fear of being called out for supporting diet culture.
Some people do want to lose weight because they feel they would be happier if they were a few dress sizes smaller – this doesn’t mean they hate themselves the way they are.
Some people need to lose weight for health reasons or to access medical treatment/interventions – should we make them feel bad for not accepting their body the way it is? Of course we shouldn’t.
When I started my business in 2014, my mission was to show ladies that they could lose weight in a healthy and balanced way, without punishing themselves or going to extremes.
I wanted to show ladies that, just because they wanted to change their bodies, it didn’t mean they had to hate the way they were, or be unkind to themselves.
This was, and still is, important to me and it is still the approach I use with my clients almost 7 years later.
I have had an eating disorder and I know what it feels like to hate your body. Thankfully, I don’t feel like this anymore, but this isn’t a message that I want to promote to anyone who works with me or follows me on social media.
However, I also think it’s really important to acknowledge that not everyone who wants to lose weight has an eating disorder. Not everyone who loses weight will go on to develop an eating disorder either. I don’t think we should ignore the fact that being overweight or obese can have massive negative health implications. Some people need, and want, to lose weight and that is ok.
This narrative changes massively depending on who you follow on social media and the messages that you are exposed to.
Some people are massively ‘anti diet’ and other people take part in ‘fat shaming.’ These are both extremes and I don’t agree with either.
As a fitness professional, though, I do feel I have a duty to educate people on the health implications of being overweight or obese.
I do want to help ladies who want or need to lose weight.
This doesn’t mean I am ‘fat shaming’ anyone or am promoting diet culture.
I will continue to help ladies lose weight in a safe, healthy and balanced way, while empowering them and teaching them that, just because they want to change their body, it doesn’t mean they have to hate it. I’m Anti Diet Culture, but I’m not Anti Diet.