Diet culture is tricking you and you have no idea.
This relatively new “wellness” industry is simply the diet industry trying to rebrand itself, and its fooling a mass majority of people. How are they fooling you, you ask?
By calling old diets “healthy lifestyles.”
Here are 4 “healthy lifestyles” you should watch out for.
(DISCLAIMER: If you are following one of these specific diets due to health reasons and are under the supervision and following the advice of a licensed health practitioner this does not apply to you.)
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that is similar and related to the Atkins diet. It basically is the practice of drastically lowering your carb intake and replacing those calories with fat calories. The lack of carbs puts your body in a state of “ketosis.” It basically forces your body to burn fat as energy, instead of carbs.
Keto diets are extremely restrictive and have long lists of foods to actively avoid including all forms of fruit, or you risk throwing your body out of the ketosis state.
The Paleo diet was designed with our hunter-gatherer ancestors in mind. The goal is to eat as holistically and naturally as possible like humans did thousands of years ago before there was any “processing” or additives. The paleo diet can range with high to low carb and is more individualized giving off the impression that it is a more flexible “lifestyle” than any other.
However, the paleo diet is still extremely restrictive with long lists of food that you are not “allowed” to eat.
Macro Counting “Lifestyle”
Macro counting is a relatively new beast to the “wellness” and diet industry. It’s the new way to count calories. Instead of counting calories, you are counting grams of macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein). Many people who live the macro counting “lifestyle” boast about its flexibility and the fact that you can eat whatever you want in moderation.
Although that is true, the basics of the “lifestyle” are still restrictive. The overall goal in macro counting is to be +/- 5g of you macronutrient goal. Many influencers who practice this kind of lifestyle talk about meal planning a week ahead, and only going to certain restaurants that have their nutrients available. This requires weighing, measuring, counting, and portioning everything you eat. It robs you of your ability to listen to your body’s hunger cues and feed your body what it tells you it needs in the moment.
Any “Counting Lifestyle”
Although there is a need for gentle nutrition awareness, it is safe to say that any “lifestyle” that promotes counting and applying numerical value to food is a very slippery slope.
Are there legitimate reasons to follow these diets? Yes. Like Crohn’s Disease, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and others autoimmune diseases. But we need to call them what they are- DIETS. And if you have no other reason to eat these diets than to lose weight and “get healthy,” you are causing legitimate damage to your long-term mental health.
They are not flexible lifestyles that offer freedom. These diets place numerical and moral value on certain foods. This reinforces the ideas that there are good and bad foods, and you are good or bad depending on how well you can follow the restrictions.
The healthiest lifestyle you can pursue is being mindful of what your body is telling you. Eating when you are hungry, and not eating when you’re not. It’s really that simple.
(Unless you’re like me and it take years of therapy to relearn how to listen to your body’s hunger cues… but it is WORTH learning!)
Don’t be fooled into DIETING because they call it a “healthy lifestyle.”
If a diet did work, then we wouldn’t constantly be looking for the next one. If there was a diet that helped people lose weight, keep weight off, and be healthy forever, then the diet industry wouldn’t make any money.
They are allowed to lie to us and tell us that “this time it will work.”
Gentle nutrition or intuitive eating is how we were created to interact with food. Our bodies are able to tell us when they are hungry, and then tell us when they are full. We are born with the ability to listen to those cues, yet diet culture and society convinces us that isn’t true. We are told that we need to control everything around food and exercise, and we literally put our bodies in starvation mode and they call it a “healthy lifestyle” while stealing all of our money.