There were so many “fun” diet trends back in the day, right? Celery Juice. Snackwells. Slimfast. Jenny Craig. MediFast. NutriSystem. NonFat LowFat NoSugar LowSugar LowCarb NoSalt. The Master Cleanse. Special K Cereal Diet! South Beach. Atkins. Keto. Gluten Free. Paleo. Keto. Whole 30! Remember those chips that gave you explosive diarrhea?? Oh My!
Sometimes I think about the amount of chemicals I put in my body trying to lose weight. It was successful for sure! But…yuck. For breakfast I’d have a “egg mcmuffin” made with egg beater eggs cooked in the microwave on a toasted English muffin with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray! and a piece of cheese. Thinking back to that now, eeeeew, right? Like is any of that even food? Well, the English Muffin was. But the big takeaway was I was eating breakfast in a controlled manner and I knew exactly how many calories I was eating. 225 calories. Plus my coffee. So 300 calories. I’d have a Lean Cuisine for dinner. Every night.
Everywhere you go, there’s diet culture and diet talk. It’s unavoidable.
Years ago I had a coworker that was on some kind of metabolic diet (I don’t know details, other than she went to a diet center and they gave her a list of food she could eat) and every day for months she ate steamed broccoli for lunch. Like that was it? I didn’t ask. Another coworker did MediFast. She dropped a lot of weight quickly. But it was basically a liquid diet for most of the day and then you could have one meal of food.
There are a lot of different trends. There always will be. The current favorites are Intermittent Fasting, Keto, Whole 30 and Paleo. No judgment if that’s what you’re choosing to try. But the more I read, the more I learn, the more I realize that every single diet attempt is leading us further on the path of unhealthy habits that inevitable lead to weight gain in the end.
Christy Harrison, who has a podcast about diet culture and eating disorders, has a new book out called “The Wellness Trap: Break Free from Diet Culture, Disinformation, and Dubious Diagnoses and Find Your True Well-Being“. It’s worth a read if this is something you are interested in. The new fad is “Wellness”. It’s not a diet, it’s WELLNESS. It’s HEALTH. It’s LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE.
There is nothing wrong with living your best life and being healthy. I think we all want that. But the slippery slope is when it turns into eliminating entire food groups (keto, paleo, whole30). It’s also tricky when you start to look at food as “bad” or “good”. I did that. With a lot of foods.
In my recently therapy session I mentioned that I was stressed about my diagnosis of fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis because MOST of the “treatment” is diet related. I said I was uncomfortable with doing some kind of inflammation diet because that will lead me down the road of intense restriction. I’ve done so much work the last 3 years to break free of that. And then I said “I can’t eliminate the SAFE FOODS I have”. Oops. SAFE FOODS. My therapist said “And we have to open up your idea of what food is ‘safe’.”
The idea of safe food (healthy, low calorie, low carb, no sugar, etc) is the result of diet culture and eating disorders. It’s one of the hardest habits to break for me. I still have that voice in my head that says “don’t eat that, it’s too high in carbs.”
Anyways, I think there has to be a happy medium between restricting and avoiding I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter….