Here’s Why I Don’t Support Diet Culture


Demetria Slyt, Opinion Editor

We all know that eating healthier can really make an impact in our lives, whether that be cutting out sugar or eating more fruits and veggies. I am sure at the start of the new year many people pledged to do just that. There are a lot of extreme diet trends that people buy into, usually in an attempt to lose weight more quickly. The thing is that diet culture is not only harmful to individual body image, but it often does not follow diet recommendations from healthcare professionals. Diet culture tells us that you are only worth so much are only valued as long as you look a certain way. Why is diet culture and extreme dieting so problematic? Is dieting really making a difference? Or is it hurting you?

While I was growing up I was surrounded by the concept of dieting. My family members frequently discussed the new diet they were trying out. It wasn’t uncommon to hear everyone in school talking about how big their thigh gaps were or how flat they wanted their tummies. Several girls from my class and throughout high school would exclaim that they just needed to go on a diet because they were unhappy with their (still developing) bodies. I know people who have developed and fought with different eating disorders. I am surprised I never developed one myself, as I have gone back and forth questioning my own body image. Once I came to college I grew more accepting of how I looked and understood that I could only control so much. But I still have self-esteem issues that come up every now and again because diet culture dominated a large part of my development growing up.

I understand that not all aspects of diet culture is bad, but at its core, it sets us up to believe that there are right and wrong ways to live or look. I believe in eating healthy, but I don’t support young women starving themselves or allowing dieting to consume them. I have dieted, I have exercised my butt off, and I have done my fair share of fasting. All any of that did was make me feel sick to my stomach and make me wonder why I was trying to achieve a certain appearance. I reject diet culture because I do not want my future children to grow up surrounded by the same ideas as I did. I do not want them to think that they are only worth as much as they weigh. I reject diet culture because when I hear my younger sister tear herself apart about the way she looks, it breaks my heart. I grew up doing the same exact thing.

In a world where we are surrounded by reminders of diet culture almost 24/7, It is important to recognize that all bodies are good bodies. All bodies are beautiful and worth a lot more than some number on some stupid scale. There are plenty of ways to eat healthier that do not include shaming yourself for eating the things you love. If dieting works for you or you do not see an issue with it, there is not anything wrong with that. You have to do what is best for you. If you want to share your story or thoughts on today’s article, my email is always listed below for those who want to reach out.

Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Opinion Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].