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Embracing Liberation: Understanding the Importance of Anti-Diet Culture

What is anti-diet culture? At its core, anti-diet culture is a rejection of the diet mentality and the harmful messages perpetuated by the diet industry (including all of the sneaky ways in which diet culture shows up in our lives and in society). I think many people would be surprised to see the ways in which diet culture is ever-present in society. While many people don’t claim to be on “diets” anymore, diet culture is still, unfortunately, alive and well as it simply shows up in more subtle ways. From labeling food as “good” and “bad” and taking on seemingly harmless “lifestyle changes” to exercising to change your body and believing in thinness at all costs, diet culture is everywhere and it is harmful to society’s overall wellbeing.


The anti-diet movement is so important because it is tied into larger themes. Not only is it about rejecting diet culture, but it’s about accepting a new way of thinking that promotes a positive relationship with food, fights against anti-fat bias, and promotes health at every size.


woman eating food at a restaurant embracing food freedom

Anti-diet culture promotes a positive relationship with food

As the anti-diet movement encourages people to turn away from diets, it promotes intuitive eating as an alternative. Intuitive eating is a concept that emphasizes tuning into one's body cues and honoring hunger, fullness, and satisfaction without judgment. Instead of restricting food or following food rules, intuitive eating promotes a compassionate and attuned approach to eating that fosters a healthy relationship with food and the body.


The intuitive eating guidelines outline important principles about how we can make peace with food, listen to our bodies, not label foods as “good” or “bad,” enjoy joyful movement instead of punishing ourselves at the gym, and take other steps to have a healthy relationship with food. While many influencers promote “healthy” living, they often don’t promote a healthy relationship with food which is key to our overall wellbeing.


Anti-diet culture fights against anti-fat bias

Another fundamental aspect of the larger anti-diet movement is fighting against anti-fat bias. As anti-diet culture rejects diets, the larger movement encourages us to fight against the discrimination fat people face on a regular basis. From the lack of care they receive from medical professionals to the pay gap between themselves and their straight-sized colleagues, ant-fat bias is extremely prevalent in society. It is important that we take down diet culture and fight for body liberation for all people regardless of their size. 


Anti-fat bias promotes health at every size

Contrary to popular belief, the anti-diet movement isn’t about rejecting health. In fact, it is closely tied to the Health at Every Size movement.  We know that BMI is not an accurate representation of one’s health, but instead, people can be healthy at all different sizes. We cannot determine someone’s health just by looking at them, and it’s none of our business anyway. Many people will still say that “diets don’t matter as long as we’re healthy, but this expresses healthism that puts health as a moral imperative. People are worthy of respect regardless of their health status. That means someone is not morally superior to someone else just because they do keto and work out seven days a week. 


We should all support the anti-diet movement

The importance of the anti-diet movement cannot be overstated, particularly in a society where dieting has become normalized and weight stigma is pervasive. Diet culture not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes and contributes to disordered eating behaviors but also undermines individuals' self-esteem and mental health. We can challenge these damaging narratives and work against the lies of diet culture by promoting intuitive eating, fighting against anti-fat bias, and supporting the anti-diet movement.

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