Transitioning into a New Year: Here's More Armor Against Diet Culture
'Tis the season for social media (and the media, in general) to fire away fear-mongering, oppressive and nonscientific messaging as we move into a new year. Cringe.
The further I have gotten into my career as a non-diet dietitian and non-diet nutrition writer, I catch myself being more and more appalled at the diet and fitness industries, wondering why they must choose this time of year to attack in the fiercest ways. Surely, they must know this is a vulnerable time for all of us. The holidays are a lot -- they can be wonderful and joyous yet also busy and exhausting. For some, they are full of grief and dread. And for many, they are full of misplaced guilt and self-loathing around food and body (largely fueled by diet culture itself).
But then I always remember -- the diet and fitness industries are just that -- industries (worth billions and billions) that are set up to prey on people who are at their most vulnerable. Contrary to what diet culture says about the next diet plan (or nowadays, "wellness" or "lifestyle" plan), please consider the truth:
Any form of food restriction or rules, cleanse or detox, or punitive or rigid exercise is not going to help you start this year well. Instead, it's going to distract you from living a bigger, more meaningful life - a life aligned with your soul and your deepest core values.
And at its very worst, it can lead you into the throws of an eating disorder (if you are in recovery, this post is also speaking to you).
Someone asked me to write about "gentle transitions" and another about "pausing." While this post isn't directly about either of these things, I believe that resisting diet culture and choosing to live outside of it is indeed gentle, and is much more conducive to pausing so we can reflect and re-center ourselves as we envision the next year of life on earth in front of us.
Think about it - diet culture is chaos - especially in the new year. I'll give you a very tangible example: Starting a restrictive food regime equals chaos in the mind (brain fog, and food obsession and preoccupation), in emotions (anxiety and dysregulation), and the body (fatigue and a fight-or-flight state), all fueled by an energy deficit. It's literally the opposite of gentle. In fact, it's an attack on the whole self. And being in that state makes pausing really difficult because our nervous systems cannot regulate if they are constantly revved up because of being in a constant state of deprivation.
On the flip side, starting the year sans diet culture is more likely to feel much less chaotic and gentler: Feeding yourself enough food regularly and enjoying a variety of foods from all food groups in attunement with your body's cues (or your meal plan if you are in recovery and aren't connected to cues yet) creates energy balance and internal harmony. Mentally, thoughts are clearer and more easily harnessed, emotions more manageable and easily regulated, and the body is way more likely to feel at ease and energized.
This is how we all deserve to transition into a brand-new year.
So, if you are finding yourself struggling to opt out of diet culture or need more reasons to choose another way of starting 2023, I rounded up 10 of my blog posts to help you build that armor and live in more freedom and peace as you transition into this year. Happy Reading!
10 Blog Posts for Building Armor Against Diet Culture in 2023:
Thanks for reading. If you are in need of more support with your food, movement and body relationships, please reach out to us via the contact page!
In true health,