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A Warning About Diet Culture

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Diet Culture is a toxic subculture that places its focus on appearance rather than health and well-being. Diet culture is insidious because it represents a multibillion dollar industry that is largely unregulated.
Last Modified: March 1, 2023

Diet, Diet, Then Repeat

Diet Culture is a toxic subculture that places its focus on appearance rather than health and well-being. Diet culture is insidious because it represents a multibillion dollar industry complete with branded food items, supplements and mechanical devices marketed using trending health jargon and all the trimmings.

At the time of this writing it is already September. Summer is pretty much over. You can quit the diet you started to “look good” for the summer. Maybe you’ve already started the “Look good for the holidays” diet to compensate for any summer binging. Now ask yourself a question. Ask yourself several.

  • Did it work?
  • Am I going to start 2023 with yet another “lose weight” resolution?
  • And another diet?
  • Will I be trying to “look good” again next summer?

That “Yo-yo”? It’s called weight cycling. It’s bad. It may impact your metabolic and cardiovascular health, at least on the up side of the cycle it will, depending on how up the up cycle is. Please try out my handy-dandy Weight Loss Calculator to get some info on your current condition as well as info regarding the the risks posed by the different stages of obesity.

Diet Culture

Diets Do Not Work

No they do not. Perhaps you have done them enough to understand this. Maybe you do from an intellectual standpoint, but keep bullshitting yourself into thinking the next one will will surely work.  So here’s the tough love part. Nothing for sale here. I can be blunt. If you need to do a diet again. It didn’t work. Diets don’t. In 95% of circumstances diets fail. They are unsustainable long-term because they are forced. Sometimes they are unsustainable long-term because some of the fads are just downright unhealthy in their execution and actually just a little bit insane.

Diet Culture relies on extreme behavior changes and false perceptions about food for short term gains rather than long-term wellness gain. Diets, especially diets on repeat can drive a set of conditions doctor’s classify as “disordered eating” that even comes with psychological baggage that you will also have to work to get rid of. 

I know a few people who do the Ketogenic thing annually. And they do it wrong. Doesn’t make Keto bad, if done correctly, but Keto is one of Diet Culture’s favorite tools because its fast. And coming off of keto is generally done wrong, with people going back to the same behaviors. 


Don’t kid yourself. If you need to lose weight, and statistically 2-in-5 Americans do. You have three options:

  1. Go on a diet and be miserable eating food you don’t like and doing an exercise routine that brings you no joy in order to drop twenty lbs to fit into whatever or impress whoever. Spend hundreds, maybe thousands, on books, programs, products and coaches.
  2. Develop sustainable nutrition and moving pattern that work and are authentic for you physically and emotionally.
  3. Ignore the issue and hope metabolic syndrome doesn’t grab you by the heart and snuff your life out.

You the honored 2-in-5? Diet Culture is waiting for you. With the latest thing guaranteed to burn fat and melt pounds while you watch Netflix. It’s calling you loud. On social media ads, on your video streams. Each one offering a better mousetrap for your weight loss need. Those ones you tried the last five years? Surely this one is going to do the trick right?

 Balance. It’s next up in the series so subscribe and follow along!

Doctor's Note

If you have cardiovascular or metabolic issues, it is entirely possible that your doctor may place you on a Ketogenic or Mediterranean “diet.” This is not Diet Culture. This is your chosen physician recommending an eating style that may help you live a little longer. If its an elimination diet its because you came in with symptoms indicating a food allergy. My advice is follow that advice. Science, and the professionals who practice science… matter. If you are in Stage 2 or 3 obesity, your new best friends should have letters like RD, RDN and MD after their name. If you have emotional issues that drive you to constantly eat, there are professional psychologists who specialize in eating disorders. You should be talking to one of those people. Not some health coach or program you dug up on the internet. That’s no BS.

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