3 (Totally Normal) Things That Diet Culture Demonizes

Diet Culture Myths to Ditch in 2023 with obé Fitness

By Kat Brunner

Ah yes, diet culture—the all-encompassing, judgmental industry that makes billions ($72 billion to be exact) each year off our insecurities. Let’s be real: We have all fallen victim to diet culture at some point or another. I certainly have!

It’s hard to not to—diet culture is all around us. It shows up on our Instagram ads, the commercials we watch on TV, and even our everyday verbiage that we use in passing. Diet culture instills a belief that equates being “thin” with being “healthy.” It demonizes certain food groups, and has taught us to believe that our worth is tied into the way that we look.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. By knowing scientific facts and what’s normal (and what’s photoshopped), we can begin to loosen the grip that diet culture holds on us. We can deviate from fitness and nutrition rooted in obsession and perfectionism, and move these healthy habits to being a form of self-care. By shifting our mindset and taking note of how incredible our bodies are, we can slowly start to #ditchdietculture for good!

What if we viewed the things about our body that diet culture demonizes as “totally normal” and even… wait for it…healthy? Keep these facts in mind on your journey to ditching diet culture for good. (Looking for nutrition tips for training? Read this!)

1. Everyone—literally, everyone—has cellulite.

As a fitness trainer who works out for a living, I have cellulite. Most women in magazines have cellulite and are photoshopped. In fact, 80-90% of women who have gone through puberty have cellulite. Found on the stomach, thighs, and booty, multiple factors including genetics, age, and sex determine the amount of cellulite found on your body.

Completely harmless and not detrimental to your health, cellulite is the body’s natural response to producing estrogen. The normal layers of fat beneath the skin push upward, resulting in a dimpled appearance. Developing cellulite is TOTALLY normal and has nothing to do with your overall fitness. Don’t be fooled by Instagram and the mass media’s photoshop fiends—your body is totally normal and beautiful exactly the way it is!

2. Bloating is a normal part of the digestion process.

Ever walk through the tea aisle at the grocery store and count how many “flat tummy” and “anti-bloating” teas there are? I tried once… and lost count. In the world of Instagram, bloating has been demonized by influencers, promoting diets and supplements to attain consistent #flatabs. In case you forgot, bloating is simply a byproduct of your body’s normal digestion process.

As Rudolph Bedford, M.D., Director of Gastroenterology at Providence Saint John’s Health Center told SELF, after you eat, your stomach breaks down food to flow through the small intestine. The breakdown of carbohydrates and dietary fiber may produce gas, which in turn causes bloating. This process is often a part of your body working effectively to turn your food into fuel. Unless you find that your bloating is painful and consistent, there is nothing to worry your doc about. Stop feeling guilty about a little post-meal bloat… it’s a healthy thing!

3. Eating after 6pm is not going to cause weight gain.

Our metabolism doesn’t shut down after 6pm. Can I get that one more time for the people in the back?! Sure, it’s recommended that you eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before lying down to go to bed for digestion purposes, but that’s mainly to get a better night’s sleep.

Our stomach is like a furnace—it’s constantly burning food for fuel to keep the body moving and organs working efficiently. The digestion process still occurs while we are sleeping. If you get held up at the office on a busy day, don’t skip dinner just because you “missed the window.” Instead, aim for a lighter meal with ample protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats to keep your blood sugar level and prevent a late-night binge on your favorite bag of chips.

Bottom line: Eat when you’re hungry and fill your plate with whole, nutritious foods. Notice how amazing your body is for being able to digest that lasagna you had for dinner. Love your body not for how it looks, but for its ability to dance, laugh, run, and hug your loved ones.

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