New Years Resolution - Reject Diet Culture
Author: Rhea Lewandoski R.D.
New years can be a time for reflection, celebration and intention setting. Unfortunately, a new year can also be a challenging time for individuals working on recovery and healing their relationship with food and their body. We are bombarded with an influx of messages about new year’s resolutions that typically focus’ on changing our bodies and/or reflect diet culture. For folks experiencing eating disorders this can feel like a lonely, frustrating, and challenging time. Diet culture tends to be noisy around the holidays, so, how do we protect recovery and make a resolution to reject diet culture?
Diet culture is all around us and has affected virtually everyone at some point in their lives. Whether it’s conversations you have overheard or been a part of. Or marketing campaigns, TV shows, movies, social media, etc. It can sometimes feel like that no matter where you look, diet culture is present.
Sometimes it’s hard to be aware of diet culture or see the potential damage, especially when it has rebranded itself to be about “health”. The word “diet” may not be used as often but keep an eye out for words like wellness, clean, pure, simple, or any messaging that challenges your recovery and relationship with food and your body.
A new year can be a great time to reflect on your past year and your recovery. What went well for you this year? What do you want to work on to strengthen your recovery?
How you can you reject diet culture this new year?
1. Take some time to reflect on how you have been impacted by diet culture.
Recognizing where diet culture has impacted your relationship with food and your body can be a good place to start.
Prompts for reflection:
Following non-diet, HAES aligned social media accounts.
Listen to an anti-diet podcast like Food Psych by Christy Harrison.
Chatting with a non-diet, HAES® aligned therapist or other health practitioner.
2. Increase your awareness of diet culture language, marketing, and intentions.
With reflection comes an increased awareness of where diet culture is showing up in your life. Diet culture is sneaky and may be showing up in areas you didn’t realize. Increased awareness offers the opportunity to opt out of diet culture and set boundaries when necessary.
3. Set Boundaries
Rejecting diet culture may come with setting boundaries. Diet culture can show up in the shows you watch, folks you spend time with, social media accounts you follow and more. Setting boundaries around these conversations or the information you take in can be an effective way to reject diet culture during recovery. These boundaries can change over time and can strengthen your relationship with food and your body.
4. Set realistic goals for your recovery and rejecting diet culture
Slips are often a normal part of the recovery process. Diet cultures all or nothing expectations around food and body may inadvertently set you up for feeling like you have “failed” recovery over the holidays. Slips or ED behaviours can happen during your recovery journey, and it is important to acknowledge them, seek support and practice self care. If creating resolutions or intentions in the new year, it is important to be realistic in the intentions you set for your recovery.
5. Refresh your social media
Refresh your social media before or during the holidays. Spend one of your appointments or on your own time, cruise through your social media and delete, block, or mute pages that are not currently serving your recovery intentions.
Invite self-compassion in as you challenge diet culture. Self-compassion practice is an amazing tool as we reflect, learn, and practice rejecting diet culture, especially around the holidays. Take it at your own pace. Check out selfcompassion.org by Kristin Neff for more.
A new year can be a great time to reflect and refocus on you and your recovery. Diet culture tends to be loud in the new year and so, make your New Years resolution your own, which may or may not include challenging diet culture and focusing on recovery. You are not alone in this journey, and it is recognized that holidays can be a more difficult time of the year for folks experiencing eating disorders. Reach out for support.