Toxic weight loss & diet culture
April 1, 2022

4 minutes reading time

I have become increasingly disappointed with the Facebook groups that I am a member of. I have actually left most of them behind. Toxic weight loss and diet culture seems to have infiltrated even the most forward thinking communities. As an active member of the keto and carnivore community, I have seen toxic weight loss and diet culture overtake common sense and objectivity in almost all of the groups.

It makes me so sad. I thought that I had left toxic weight loss and diet culture in the past. When I started my own keto journey back in 2016 the community was quite small. We all knew each other’s names and shared theories. We dissected studies to see what value we could get out of them. It was a community full of support, rich debates and sharing of knowledge.

Today, most of these communities are unrecognisable to me thanks to toxic weight loss and diet culture.

What is toxic weight loss and diet culture

When I made this video to document my experience in the keto community in the last two years there was a huge amount of confusion. Keto isn’t an inherently toxic diet, but the approach that most people have been taking and recommending certainly is.

Toxic weight loss and diet culture is based in shame and blame. If keto isn’t working for you it must be something YOU are doing wrong. When I made this video about my thyroid and metabolism problems after keto, the message I got was my own fault. The keto community did indeed come for me to tell me why I was wrong. And it was all blame based. Here is a list of “reasons why you were doing keto wrong”

They have told me:

  • It’s because I ate too little
  • It’s because I ate too much
  • It’s because I didn’t eat enough fat
  • It’s because I didn’t eat enough protein
  • It’s because I ate too much protein
  • It’s because I ate too often
  • It’s because I didn’t eat often enough
  • It’s because I didn’t exercise
  • It’s because I didn’t fast
  • It’s because I didn’t fast long enough
  • It’s because I fasted too often
  • It’s because I wasn’t “doing keto right”
  • It’s because I didn’t do carnivore long enough
  • It’s because I didn’t listen to the male doctors

and I won’t even go into the personal attacks on my physical appearance, my intelligence and my motivation for making the video. That is toxic weight loss and diet culture in all its glory.

Toxic weight loss and diet culture invasion

To see this in action, all you have to do is go onto instagram. Some of the targeted advertising I get is shocking. As a weight loss nutritionist, I follow a lot of other weight loss and nutrition experts so my targeted advertising is from the weight loss industry. I see ads for shakes, for pills, gummies, powders and teas all promising to help you lose weight.

Of course they don’t work but if you complain, the explanation you get is that you “must have not used them right”. It’s not just the gimmicks but some of the biggest names in the weight loss industry are steeped in toxic weight loss and diet culture.

It’s all your fault … Seriously go to instagram and look at this guy’s profile. He has never been an obese woman who has been dieting since she was a teenager because ​​toxic weight loss and diet culture told her that she wasn’t good enough the way she was. This is toxic weight loss and diet culture personified.

The image shows toxic diet and weight loss culture social media posts.There are two pictures. In the top there is a bottle of pills and the label says hard to swallow pills. In the bottom picture there are pills in a hand. The text says obesity is a choice.

I remember going to my Weight Watchers meetings and being shamed about my weight. I would step on the scale week after week after sticking religiously to the program only to have gained weight each week. And, each week I would be told that I must not have done “right”, I must have misunderstood my points or wasn’t tracking properly. It was all my fault. Only it wasn’t.

It’s  toxic weight loss and diet culture

At the heart of toxic weight loss and diet culture is blame. If you can’t lose weight, you can’t keep it off then it’s something you are doing wrong. But the problem with most weight loss programs is that they are all about restriction and going at 100km/hr until you get to your goal weight. This is fundamentally wrong. Our bodies will not go along with this, just like trying to drive with your foot to the floor, eventually the tank is going to run dry. 

I am not talking about calories, but about the huge consumption of nutrition that is needed to keep going. Most weight loss programs are low calorie, high exercise. This works but only for a short period of time before your body adapts. The orthodox approach tends not to work for women unfortunately. Us women are more likely to already be stressed (high cortisol) and with our dodgy thyroids (metabolic insufficiency), it makes it much harder. We are also more likely to be dieting from the age of 14 up. 

I polled in my free Facebook group for Keto/Fasting Thyroid and Metabolism Recovery to see how long the members have been dieting for. This was the unsurprising result:

The image shows a poll that is asking about the effect of toxic diet and weight loss culture long term. The image shows a poll asking how long have you been on a diet/calorie restricting. 69 people voted 20+ years, 8 people voted 5 years, 6 people voted 10+ years and 2 people voted 1 year.

Even before you start a new diet, your cortisol and thyroid levels are already effected by long term dieting and restriction. Our poor bodies have been ravaged because we are following the advice to the letter. Go stronger, harder, faster, deeper until you get to your goal.

IT. DOES. NOT. WORK.

Time to move forward

When I created the Protein Priority Diet, I wanted to move away from toxic weight loss and diet culture. It was important to me to create a program that was individualised, flexible and adaptable. Built into the heart of the program is reverse dieting. This concept is pro metabolic, meaning that it helps to keep your metabolism high while you lose weight.

The image shows how following toxic diet and weight loss culture effects metabolism. There are two graphs. The one on the left shows the effect of yo-yo dieting. The one on the right shows the effect of reverse dieting.

Most importantly, we reject these toxic practices of restriction. I don’t allow a “weight loss at any cost” mentality in my program because it doesn’t work. To lose weight in a healthy way takes time, it takes feeding your body calories and nutritious food. Not doing it more, longer, harder, further. 

Is it no wonder we all feel so lost when it comes to what to eat? We have been letting dietary dogma prevail. “It can’t possibly be “insert diet name here” (they’re nearly all the same) because “THE SCIENCE”.  Well science also told us that cholesterol was bad, animal fat would give us heart attacks and in the 1950s Phillip Morris told us that smoking was good for us. 

Toxic weight loss and diet culture made us all chronic dieters. Repeating the same practices not going to fix our weight issues. Reject it and come over to my community where I am teaching healthy weight loss through reverse dieting, deep nutrition and basic health habits. Think about joining us in the Protein Priority Diet community today. The Metabolic Recovery Plan is waiting for you. Click here to read more – https://christinaoman.com/protein-priority-diet-program/

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