Diet culture is toxic. There is A LOT of misinformation out there on what to eat and drink in order to lose weight. There are many diets that people advocate. Some healthy and some down right harmful. Celebrities swear by intermittent fasting, juicing, detox teas or just plain starvation and intense exercise.
Then there are the social media pages that demonise certain foods. You cannot eat a donut if you are trying to lose weight. Forget enjoying a biscuit with your cup of tea or a glass of wine. And don’t even think about having a takeaway. You’ll derail your progress if you do any of these things. You are only allowed to eat protein and vegetables. Carbohydrates are evil. Alcohol is evil. Sugar is evil.
Weight loss is about simple maths. Energy in versus energy out. Calories in versus calories out.
You can do this in a healthy or an unhealthy way. You could eat only convenience/processed foods every day if you wanted and if the total calories is less than what you burn in daily activity you’d still lose weight. I hope you understand the point I’m trying to make here.
One thing I detest is the demonisation of food and drink. I’ve seen so many images that are telling people that they can’t eat certain foods. Bananas, for example, are high in potassium, a source of vitamin B6, fibre, carbohydrates and vitamin C. Yet, if you search for #bananas on social media I guarantee you will find a plethora of accounts encouraging you to avoid eating them.
Toxic diet culture is hard to avoid. Before it was mainly in print. Now it’s everywhere on social media. Social media has changed how we consume our daily news. Unfortunately, this has led to a loss in motivation, self-esteem, self-worth, and plenty of guilt.
One thing I’ve found hard to escape is ignorant comments about what I eat and drink from loved ones. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t eat after going to the gym. That it ”doesn’t make sense”. Known as the post-workout meal, fitness experts will never tell you to go to bed without eating something after heavy energy expenditure. I’ve been told that if I want to lose weight I cannot drink. I had one gin and tonic (which can be as low as 73 calories) and was left feeling irritated and defensive.
Now, when ignorant judgements and comments come from those you love it is very hard not to get angry and defensive. Society has made us hyper-aware of how people judge us based on what we eat and drink. I read a great post that really made me think, shared by @fatgirlfedup
If you know that you are making a solid and consistent effort to change your daily habits and are seeing the fruits of this change then you are doing amazing. It is incredibly hard not to become discouraged when your choices are under constant scrutiny.
I have been eating bananas, drinking gin with low calorie tonic, eating Krispy Kreme donuts, 85g bags of Popchips and yesterday I had fish and chips for my dinner. The important thing to remember is MODERATION. One donut is not going to undo months of hard work. One takeaway is not going to undo months of hard work. One glass of Chardonnay is not going to undo months of hard work. If, like me, you gained weight over a period of time because you were consistently making unhealthy choices then you know changing your mindset and developing healthy habits is also going to take time.
There is no rush. Try and enjoy what you’re learning and doing. Regular exercise and eating mindfully is the best thing ever. Eat nutrient-dense foods. Foods that satisfy you and nourish your body. You need protein, carbohydrates and fibre. Drink your water, cook your food at home and eat your vegetables. Large portions of vegetables are so low in calories it will shock you once you start to pay attention.
As for the ignorant comments, do not ignore them. Challenge them! Educate people when they start hurting you with the seeds of diet culture. Eating late will not cause weight gain. Eating after going to the gym does not make your workout pointless. Having a drink will not mess up your new diet. If you consistently eat and drink more than what you burn then of course you will gain weight. It is about discipline and moderation. Food and drink is meant to be enjoyed. If stressed or upset try and find other ways to alleviate it instead of using food and drink to feel better. I think this is something a lot of people struggle with, including myself.
If you’re following accounts that encourage toxic diet culture I beg you to unfollow them.
I’m little over 9 months into my weight loss and fitness journey and I’m going to keep going. It’s a huge learning curve trying to teach yourself how to eat well and move often. If you’re trying to make a change do not pay any attention to any negativity. Shut it down immediately and keep it moving.
Love blackpistachio x