11 May 2020

Is Diet Culture For You?

The anti-diet movement is not anti-health

Is Diet Culture For You?

Health is among the highest priorities of every adult. This is extremely true nowadays, when people increasingly rely on social media to look for information about what they should look like. Can you see the shift in focus? Health versus aesthetics.

We are living in a weight-obsessed world.

We are being constantly bombarded with weight-loss programs, wellness plans, gadgets that make us smaller (I’m talking to you, waist trimmers), and all sort of diets. Pay careful attention though: sometimes these ‘diets’ are promoted as ‘lifestyles’, so don’t get cheated by terminology here. No matter how many names we use, the recurring theme is simply: weight & size.

Here’s where the anti-diet movement comes in.

The main intention of this movement is to stop considering weight as the most important health marker and as something to which morality is associated (e.g. you ate pizza? You should be ashamed of yourself and how little discipline you have).

Have you heard of the HAES model? HAES stands for ‘Health At Every Size’, a paradigm aimed at addressing health behaviors rather than focusing on weight loss. It does that while also fighting against weight stigma and being inclusive of human diversity. Does HAES promote obesity? Of course not. This model just doesn’t consider or promote weight loss as a health strategy.

Well-being and healthy habits are more important than the number on the scale.

If you are not yet familiar with the concept of the anti-diet movement, it’s normal to feel slightly defensive (or straight up confused). This is mainly because we’ve been conditioned to believe that diets and being lean are the solution to access the “healthier” version of us. Wrong.

There are thousands of anti-obesity campaigns going on in the world but we are missing a crucial point here: fat is not the problem – fat stigma is. In fact, focusing on weight puts the burden on the individual. Do you think that (untrue) burden is going to make them healthier? NO WAY. In fact, health behaviors (including eating, activity and other behaviors) account for less than 25 percent of differences in health outcomes.

Here’s where the anti-diet and Health At Every Size movements come in again, making themselves accessible to everyone regardless of weight or size.

HEAS principles in your daily life

There are 5 main principles that the Health at every size approach follows:

  1. Weight inclusivity: accepting the diversity of body shapes/sizes
  2. Health enhancement: supporting health policies that improve wellbeing for all
  3. Respectful care: acknowledging bias and ending weight stigma
  4. Eating for well-being: ending weight-control diets
  5. Life-enhancing movement: promoting physical activities that allow people to engage at different degrees

Adopting these values will not force you to give up any of your TRUE health goals — you simply get to re-contextualize them with a more inclusive and aware mindset.

Is the anti-diet movement for you? Hell yes it is! It’s for you, for me, and for everyone. Accepting (& celebrating) our sizes by adopting truly healthy habits for the body and the mind, like we do in our AMP Studio, is the key to body liberation, self-acceptance (finally) and true personal freedom.

I need you to hear this part: Your weight, shape, and size does not determine your worthiness or overall health. You do not need to change, tone, lift, or get smaller.

You don’t need to do anything other than:

  • Practice accepting your perfectly beautiful body as it is right now.
  • Do the same for every other body on this planet.
  • Educate yourself on weight stigma, weight bias, fat phobia and thin privilege.
  • Change the way you talk about your body and other bodies.

If you’re like me, none of the things above all come easy. It’s a practice and it will take time. When we change our language, and where we place our attention, our belief system will follow.

If you’re looking for freedom in your life, start by your freeing your body.