Why Do We Trust Fad Diets?

by | Jul 5, 2022

A new day, a new fad diet. When starting a new fad diet, what are you looking to get out of it? What answers are you looking for? Why do we put so much faith in these diet trends?

Why Fad Diets?

Hundreds of people turn to diets to lose weight, “better” themselves, improve their “health” or to make themselves feel safer or more accepted in society. Is it the intense structure of a diet that draws you in? Is it the fake promises of a better life that gets you?

Typically, people think that the reason they are not successful, happy, confident, etc . is because they are a certain size that diet culture has deemed “bad.” So I invite you to question that – is that really true???

*Just a friendly reminder – BMI and weight are not indicators of health

On that topic – I love this post from Dr. Colleen Reichmann @drcolleenreichmann – we never fully consider everything we give up in order to change our body. Have you ever thought about this?

And this one from Rachael Hartley, RD @rachaelhartleyrd – there are tons and tons of studies that show the negative risks associated with diets and weight loss interventions. BUT not a single study shows any health risks associated with eating and living intuitively. So why are we continuously trusting and starting new diets? Let’s discuss why we feel this way – coming from a place of understanding and self-compassion

It’s not our fault

Check out this post from Brenna O’Malley, RD @thewellfull. We are really only ever taught how to diet, and are never encouraged to listen to our body for nourishment and satisfaction.

Since the dawn of time….there has always been something being advertised that urged people to change their bodies to better themselves.

In a blog post by Alissa Rumsey, she recalls beauty ideals and standards starting pre-20th century and discusses how it is OUR choice, once we understand where these ideals came from, whether or not we would like to follow them.

Just because photos of unrealistic bodies are printed in magazines and posted on social media, it does not mean we need to lean into those “ideals,” change our bodies, and turn to fad diets. Fad diets have become the quick fix and the quick answer people turn to, to try to achieve an unrealistic ideal presented by society and the media.

If you are nodding along, I am with you! Weight stigma and fatphobia are REAL! The diet industry and its constant promotion of intentional weight loss through fad diets is a big reason why weight stigma and fatphobia exist, and why we constantly try new diets to fit in.

Consider this post from Brittany Modell, MS, RD, CDN @nofoodfears – such a great question! I would love to know – why do we trust the diet industry, more than our own body??

How do we change this?

There are too many people out there shaming other people’s bodies based on unrealistic beauty standards, and unfortunately, we cannot control other people, but we can control ourselves and our thoughts.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO CHANGE OR TURN TO A DIET. Starting a new diet most likely will not have the “answers” or outcomes you are looking for.

Every body is beautiful

Every body is unique

That is the true beauty about it

It is no simple task and it is not easy to avoid negative thoughts about ourselves or try to push them away with a diet bandaid, but there are ways to help (that do not include dieting). Let’s try to acknowledge and reframe those thoughts and start to treat our body and mind with respect and compassion (before quickly turning to a new diet).

  1. List a few things of what your body does for you. For example, your legs help you walk and our arms help us hug our loved ones. You might not like the size of your body, but that does not mean it has to be changed. Let’s appreciate what our body does for us.
  2. Buy clothes that make you feel comfortable and good about yourself. In a different blog post by Brenna O’Malley, RD with Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, she mentions that waiting until your body is a certain size to fit in your old clothes will make you feel worse about yourself – holding yourself to that ideal standard that may not be possible. Instead of trying to fit into your jeans from “x” number years ago, go to the store and buy yourself a new pair. This is a real life example of treating your body with respect. .
  3. Imagine if your friend was speaking negatively about their body to you. What would you say to them? How would you respond to your friend? Most likely with a compassionate and kind response. The next time you feel down about yourself, try to remember that these are normal feelings everyone has and consider talking to yourself the same way you would respond to a close friend or family member.
  4. Create a social media feed that is diverse in the people you follow. We can’t control a lot of things in life, but one thing we can adjust is what we see on social media. Try to look into new accounts of people who resonate with you and what messages you would like to hear and see. I am happy to help with this!!! There are so many incredible Health at Every Size (HAES) aligned health professionals in the social media world and their messages are things I wished everyone saw everyday.

** To help diversify your social media feed, sign up for my monthly Instagram round up email!

Each month I will try to give a new variety of anti-diet professionals to follow – to really bulk up your social media content with Intuitive Eating and Weight Inclusive messages.

To Wrap Things Up

If you ever find yourself looking for answers, safety, or comfort in the form of a diet, I invite you to question why starting a new diet is the answer. Will it provide you with the answers and outcomes you are looking for? What do you have to give up in order to follow this diet? Are there health risks associated with this diet?

This is not easy. This change of thinking will not happen overnight. If you are looking for someone to talk to, to help you off that next fad diet ledge, I am here for you! A safe space to deep dive into your feelings surrounding food and body. I am here to be your biggest supporter and help you find what you are looking for in ways that are not diets.

Feel free to schedule a free discovery call to learn how we can work together.

Hi, I’m Stephanie

I’m a Registered Dietitian and I write about all things related to Intuitive Eating, nutrition, body image, and more! Thanks for joining me in my little corner of the internet.

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