We have the Pilates side of things totally covered. For other topics that fall more broadly under the wellbeing umbrella, it’s important to bring in experts with hands-on knowledge of their particular field.
While working at The Australian Ballet School, TMR studio director Nicholas Psarros worked alongside brilliant health and wellbeing practitioners like Fiona Sutherland, a gifted dietician and Co-Director of Body Positive Australia who is a national specialistin a healthy, non-diet-bound approach to eating.
Nicholas sat down with Fiona to go through the nuts and bolts of contemporary diet culture and how it undermines true wellbeing.
Q: What is diet-culture and why are you calling BS?
Diet culture encompasses all the messages that tell us that we’re not good enough in the bodies we have, and we’d be more worthwhile and valuable if our bodies were different.
Our culture is SO embedded with body- and weight-centric messages that they’re sometimes imperceptible. Diet culture is deeply ingrained in our everyday existence and prevents us from living our most full and meaningful lives.
To break away from diet culture, we need first to expose it, then find alternative ways to feel connected to ourselves, each other, and the world in a way that moves away from defining our worth according to our body shape, weight or appearance.
Let’s call bullshit together.
Q: Who gets swept up in this?
Unfortunately, this is a trans-generational storm of body hatred and disconnection, often from one wonderful human to their offspring and beyond.
Constantly evolving. ‘diet-culture’ seems to have a succession plan. The ‘diet’ begat ‘clean eating’ begat the ‘lifestyle-challenge’ begat the ’28-day shred’ etc.
This cultural crisis cleverly morphs from one sinister beast into another, confusing people by more or less fooling them as the message reshapes and points [falsely] towards better health.
The culture which targeted women, unfortunately pulls in men and now terribly, children.
Q: Why do people continue to be pulled under?
Diet-culture has a buddy… capitalism. When people have strong levels of self-acceptance, there is not as much money to be made. Sad, right? If people view themselves as not needing to be fixed, they won’t spend as much money trying to ‘fix themselves’.
With no shortage of options to enter the torture of diet-culture and with many health and wellbeing ‘influencers’ acting as unofficial touts, you are unwittingly distanced from good health and self-acceptance with every post to your favourite influencer’s insta account.
Worst of all, the culture has built-in escape routes. Not for you, but for them. A way of turning around and saying, ‘Hey, it’s not me, its YOU.” This reinforces your own ideas around weight and worth.
With warped values of weight and worth, you are then running in the gauntlet of ‘before and after’ posts, validating other people’s ‘successes’. This time, it WILL work. You will be TRANSFORMED. And so the cycle goes.
Q: Breaking out seems tremendously difficult, like leaving your abuser. Thoughts?
Ah huh. When you get closer to realising your own truth – that we are in fact good enough as we are – diet-culture reaches in for one last poke with messages of ‘health’ and a final push to conform to its ridiculous standards.
At the end of the day, health and the wider human experience, is opt-in … we are able to decide what is best for us.
It takes tremendous power to turn away from this 24-hour behemoth. It can be quite lonely too if your social circle are still tuned in to the dark channel!
Read on for final words from Fiona…
We call bullshit on you, diet culture. We’re wising up. Go crawl back into your filthy little hole and disintegrate, as you have done to so many people. We are ALL so much more than a body. We are whole human beings.
And final words from Nicholas…
Thanks for sharing Fi. By continuing to call BS on the beast that many of us fight we can reduce our anxiety and level the playing field.
Click here for some great tools to continue living a healthful life, from the inside out.
Fiona Sutherland is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and certified Yoga Teacher with a diverse working background including international clinical work, private practice, sports nutrition, corporate consultancy, research and extensive work in Dietetic training.