‘Dieting was my religion’: the appeal of an insidious culture when everything else seems out of control | Diets and dieting
, 2022-12-03 13:01:00,
Eighteen months ago I published a memoir that was, in part, about diet culture: discovering diet culture’s existence, noticing it everywhere and slowly trying to divest myself of its traps. Outside the covers of my book, this process is ongoing – and no matter the effort I put in, I’m also aware that my “choices” create an illusion of control. We’re all simmering in this soup. Some of us can taste it, others not so much – but we’re all being poached.
In the time since I have started writing and speaking publicly on this subject, people seem to have become more attuned to diet culture’s existence. The phrase “diet culture” is often taken as a given because it’s so pervasive. I can’t help but wonder, though – if we’re all so literate in the harmful ways that we’re attacking our own bodies, why can’t I escape the meal-replacement shake ads? Why does Julie Goodwin still make a disparaging remark about her own body when she competes in a MasterChef challenge that involves cooking with the bottom three tiers of the food pyramid? Why is the guy who dominated the non-fiction bestseller list with his extreme fasting program on my screen again selling another program if the first one was so effective?
Diet culture is a system of beliefs that prizes smallness and restriction, bestowing a sense of moral superiority and greater social capital on those who…
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