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Hey! It’s Catherine, Karen and Vanessa's dietetic intern. As a part of the younger generation, I was exposed to social media at an early age. This means I was also exposed to so much of what we now call diet culture, so I know how hard it can be to ignore. What is diet culture exactly? It is known as the set of beliefs that values thinness, appearance, and shape above health and well being. How horrible does that sound? Unfortunately our society is built around these beliefs. But I’m here to tell you to take it easy on yourself, both mentally and physically.

If you’ve ever noticed how thin all of the models are when you’re online shopping, or noticed an ad on social media about a new diet product that promises fast results, you’re witnessing diet culture. We can all probably recognize the diet culture in the media, but it can also be surrounding you in many other ways. Have you ever gone to lunch with friends where someone orders a burger with no bun because they’re being “healthy” and doing keto? Or have you ever been chatting at the office and a coworker is complaining about the headache they have on their fasting day, but it’s okay because they’ve already lost a couple of pounds? Diet talk is everywhere, more than you might realize. Give yourself a break and allow yourself to eat when and how much your body needs. At the end of the day, food is fuel!

Most fad diets promoted in the media lack a nutritional or health benefit, but they are convincing because of their promises of “fast weight loss.” The weight loss seen through quick fix diets often doesn’t last long or causes an eventual regain of weight. We call this “yo-yo dieting” due to the constant fluctuation in weight. This cycle of constantly losing and gaining a few pounds has more negative than positive effects on your body. Research has shown that it puts major stress and strain on the body. Don’t let the media or diet culture convince you that you need to be on a diet to lose a few pounds; it is not always what your body needs! It is so easy to fall into this trap, so it’s okay if you have before. Take it easy on yourself.

I hope this was a good reminder that you deserve a mental break from feeling shameful about your body or eating the “wrong” things. You also deserve a physical break from the sometimes harmful effects constant dieting and weight fluctuations can have. Your body deserves to be respected and you deserve to eat with pleasure!