New Year, Same Toxic Diet Culture
The New Year is upon us, which means that many people have started working towards achieving their new goals for 2022. New Year’s resolutions are so often focused on “wellness,” with constant messaging about weight loss programs, exercise regimens, and fad diets taking over social media. It’s easy to get wrapped up in unhealthy diet culture. With all the diet talk during this time of the year, many people struggle with body image. If you find yourself struggling with your body image a bit more than usual lately, know that you are not alone. Here are some tips that can help you navigate negative body image and survive the onslaught of diet culture that comes with the start of every new year.
- Curate your social media feeds. Rather than starting a detox diet, try detoxing your social media feeds. This means unfollowing accounts that promote restrictive eating, highlight weight loss, post dieting “tips,” and more. It can also mean unfollowing friends and family who insist on posting about their New Year’s weight loss. You might also find it helpful to follow accounts that promote body acceptance and body inclusivity.
- Make alternative New Year’s goals that are about growth, not shrinking. Think about your values and what you want to accomplish in 2022. Maybe you want to spend more time with family or spend time learning a new hobby. Maybe you want to go back to therapy or join a book club. The best way to reject diet culture is to reject the pressure to make goals that have to do with your body’s size, shape, and appearance.
- Redirect conversations that make you uncomfortable. When your aunt starts talking about the new diet she joined, it’s okay to tell her that you’d rather talk about something else. When your friend starts talking about intermittent fasting and how “great” it makes them feel (while some people find it helpful, research has shown that our bodies require consistent nutrition to function properly), you are allowed to tell them that you would prefer to not talk about dieting.
- Rely on your coping skills! Spend time doing things that help you feel better, whether it’s journaling, creating art, going on a walk, or listening to music. Lean into your support system and seek out additional support from a therapist if you are struggling.
Do you find yourself struggling with body image during this time of the year? How do you cope with negative body image? Let us know down below!