Health & Wellness, Mental Health

These Toxic Health Sayings Need To Go

When it comes to talking about food, I often catch myself using really damaging terms. These health terms and sayings have been ingrained in the way we discuss, and look at food. For example, I can’t help but look up “guilt-free” brownie recipes, or how to make a “skinny” latte. These terms are not only damaging because of their actual definitions, but they also make many people have an inappropriate or hurtful relationship with the foods they love. Let’s dive into why we should stop referring to food in these harmful ways that perpetrate diet culture.


Homer Simpson Eating GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Guilt-free is an especially damaging saying because it is basically telling us that some foods should cause us guilt. If you eat a brownie, a slice of pizza, an Oreo cookie, or a milkshake, we’re told that we’re supposed to feel guilty. This causes many to have an unhealthy relationship with food because we’re now feeling afraid, embarrassed and ashamed to eat the delicious foods we love. While I’m not saying you should be drinking a milkshake with every meal of the day, you shouldn’t feel “guilty” for treating yourself to something sweet. You shouldn’t fear certain foods because of the “guilt” they bring about. Healthy eating is not only eating foods that are nutritional but also having a healthy relationship with food itself. While guilt is a generally healthy emotion and proves we have a strong moral compass that will lead us in the right direction, it can be damaging when pitted against our joy. Healthy eating should be about moderation, not fear.


Fit Diet GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

While the term “skinny,” in relation to coffee, is referring to the use of skim or nonfat milk, it is still damaging. Our society is obsessed with the idea of thinness. I’m here to tell you that being skinny is not the end goal and you will do so much more in your life than being thin. If you’re naturally thin, you are beautiful! If you aren’t, you are beautiful! Personally, I think we, as a society, need to stop commenting on people’s weight. Like, forever. If you see someone and you think they look “amazing” for losing or gaining weight, keep it to yourself. Our worth and our beauty does not come from the shape of our body. Being “skinny” does not necessarily mean you are healthy or treating your body right. I think “skim latte” will do the trick, and can stop harboring the idea that we are living on this Earth to lose as much weight as possible.

“Cheat Day”

Food Cheat Day GIF by Scooby-Doo - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s not necessarily the term “chat day” that is the problem, but the idea behind it. A “cheat day” is the one day in which you’re “allowed” to eat whatever you want, with no repercussions. There are so many problems with this. For one, the mindset behind being “allowed” to eat certain kinds of foods can be really damaging. For the other days of the week, you are eating food you don’t necessarily enjoy to the point where you feel like you need a binge day. Second, your diet should be balanced every single day. Do you want a cookie? Great! Just maybe also eat some vegetables today. There is no binging necessary and there is no reason that you need to keep yourself from the food you love and enjoy. Want to make a batch of brownies? Awesome! Maybe consider switching out sugar for coconut sugar and flour for whole wheat flour. You can absolutely eat the food you love every single day. I don’t want anyone to ever go out with friends and to feel like you have to abstain from eating what you want. A healthy lifestyle is all about balance, so let’s stop with the “cheat day.”

What other toxic diet culture sayings have you heard? Comment your thoughts below!

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