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Calling out Diet Culture Pt 1

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

It happens every year. And every year I get a little more sick of hearing the hype. At this time of year, diet culture is loud, loud, loud.

Did you know that in the US alone, the Diet Industry reached a record worth of $78 billion per year in 2019? That's a lot of money made from people's insecurities...

This is diet culture season. We are being collectively targeted with marketing that encourages us to engage in restriction, damaging behaviours for the purpose of body alteration, and our personal investment of time, energy, and financial commitments to dieting plans. These marketing tools are cleverly designed to promise ‘life changing’ results.

However, 95% of diets fail, and consistent dieting may result in individuals experiencing weight cycling. Weight cycling has a long term negative impact on a person's health.

To my knowledge, I struggle to think of other service providing, billion dollar industries that have this level of unmet results, yet pass 100% of the responsibility of this to their customers.

If the diet fails, that was because of YOU… 95% of you.

Truth, diets are businesses. Even the ‘eating plans’ that don’t manufacture their own products. For example, the volume of books that promote the Keto diet will be generating a large revenue alone. The bottom line is that successful businesses require return customers. It's in their interests to keep you in the dieting cycle.

I will be spending January dismantling unhelpful diets and eating plans in an attempt to counteract the noise and pressure you may be experiencing from diet culture messaging at the moment.

Starting with arguably the most sneaky diet of all - Noom. They market themselves as a psychologically backed, anti-diet but use this messaging to promote calorie restriction. Clever.

The app uses weight loss language, encouraging customers to engage in “fat burning” behaviours.

For $59 a month, you can track calories under the guise of a “lifestyle change.” Typically, the app encourages women to stick to a 1200 calorie limit. This is a caloric requirement for a toddler.

The app uses a spotlight system, which determines whether a food is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ This moralises food which does not encourage customers to have a happy relationship with all types and varieties of food.

Health coaches on the app are not registered dieticians and use guilt as a motivation tool. Customers are encouraged to maintain extremely low calorie amounts, and suggest drinking water if you’re hungry and weigh every day.

Despite this, Noom claims it is not a diet. This is gaslighting all of us. This type of diet promotes disordered eating.

Restriction can lead to fixation, obsession, binge eating. 1 in 4 dieters develop an eating disorder. Eating disorders are the 2nd most deadly mental illness.

**This is not a criticism of individuals who engage in dieting, please know that we are all doing the best we can to navigate a world where this messaging is prevalent. I hold huge amounts of compassion for those actively engaging in diet culture, as much as those who are on their own journey to break free of it. This series of emails is to highlight the cons, pitfalls and risks that are not discussed in the promotion and marketing of different diets.**

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