Let’s Talk About Diet Culture And Why I DON’T Diet
It’s time we had an open conversation about diet culture. If you’re struggling with your relationship with food, I hear you. There are so many conflicting messages out there about what you should be eating, what foods to avoid and how big your serving sizes should be so it’s not surprising if you have a hard time knowing what to put on your plate.
In my latest Treadmill Talk, I dive into all things dieting and diet culture. Personally, I don’t enjoy restricting what I eat or cutting certain food groups out. I love a wide range of foods, flavours and get so much enjoyment from food and sharing a great meal with my family and friends. Having a healthy balanced diet without restrictions is what works for me, but I know for so many women, learning how to have a healthy relationship with food can be hard!
My funny memories of dieting
I’ve only dieted once before. Years ago, my partner at the time was on a bodybuilding diet. To be supportive, I decided to join him and eat the same meals. It was a lot of bland food, but I thought to myself - I can do this!
How long did it last? About two and a half weeks.
I hated it so much I ended up saying I was heading out to fill up my car, drove to the petrol station, ordered about five different ice creams and sat in the car eating all of them because I just needed to eat something that had flavour. That was my experience with dieting. I know, I still laugh about it now.
Food is so important to my family
Having grown up in a big Greek family, anything to do with food is very celebratory for me - it makes me think of fun, family, music and dancing. Whether it’s Easter, Christmas, birthdays or name days, there’s always something to celebrate and food plays a big part in those moments.
I love food, I love lots of flavour and variety, and I love to ENJOY my food, but it wasn’t until I travelled more that I realised food can be very triggering for so many people and it can have a range of negative associations.
Assumptions people make about me
When I’m on shoots or away on overseas trips, people often make assumptions that my food choices are always “clean” or bland and are surprised when I choose something like pasta or a burger instead of just a salad. Do I eat that stuff? Yes!
I recently shared the five things I always stand for when it comes to food, because I know people are often SO surprised when they find out I eat fast food! I’ve always been open about my food philosophy of a balanced diet with NO restrictions, but it seems easier for some people to put me in a ‘box’ rather than take the time to understand me and what I stand for.
What I stand for
- Making fitness as SIMPLE and ACCESSIBLE so that ANY woman feels empowered to start and maintain her journey.
- A sustainable approach to fuelling your body by eating foods you LOVE without complete elimination or restriction. Yes… that does include the occasional burger!
- Staying in my lane! I’m a personal trainer, not a physio, dietician or a doctor. I wholeheartedly believe I should only use my platform to give advice when I am qualified to do so.
- NOT letting your health and fitness goals get in the way of your life. Instead, integrating them into a healthy balanced lifestyle that you can ENJOY.
- Practicing what I preach. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to do one thing, and then go and do another. I absolutely follow my own advice (and yes, that includes my weekly workouts in the Sweat app). The things I recommend for you as a trainer are things I fundamentally believe in.
Find what works for you
When it comes to developing a healthy relationship with food, rather than looking to someone like me for advice or doing something because someone else is, I encourage you to get educated, think about what your own unique goals are and learn what works for you.
If you have a specific goal or question, you can also seek out a professional like a nutritionist or naturopath. They are trained and have expertise on the subject - whether that’s about gaining or losing weight, maintaining a healthy diet, feeling better about your relationship with food, or dealing with an intolerance.
As a personal trainer, all I can do is share my own experience and what works for me and my lifestyle. Your lifestyle will be totally different. I eat a healthy balanced diet, I drink lots of water, and I don’t drink alcohol, but I also love sharing food with my family, Greek cakes and coffee, and yes, having McDonald’s from time to time.
Whatever you’re eating, make sure it makes you feel good, healthy and you enjoy it! And if you have a meal you don’t feel great about, don’t punish yourself! It doesn’t matter! Take the time to find out what works for your body and your lifestyle. Enjoy yourself. You will feel so much better.
What’s your favourite meal that makes you feel good? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.