5 Outrageous Ways That Diet Culture is Lying to You


by Tiffany Walking Eagle | 7-minute read

Raise your hand if you’ve tried pretty much every diet, cleanse, tea, drink, supplement, or weird piece of workout equipment in the book. Did you see lasting results? Did the thing you tried fix all your problems forever? I bet it didn’t.

With the occurrence of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week last week, I’ve been inspired to share some of my ridiculous experiences with diet culture in the hopes of spreading more facts. #FactsOverFads

I feel it’s important to add that if you’ve ever believed or wanted to believe any statements similar to the one below, you’re not alone. These statements are out there because they’re effective, and when I ridicule them, it’s only because I’m frustrated that they mislead so many innocent folks, not because you’re dumb. Trust me, ya girl has tried some crazy stuff in the pursuit of my “dream bod.” So I’m right there with you.

Soooo here are five slightly toungue-in-cheek (but unfortunately all-too-common) ways that diet culture is lying to you.

(Please, if you can think of any other ridiculous examples, send them to me! I’d love to pick them apart in a post!!)

1. “If you eat this magical fruit or vegetable once a day, you’ll have a flat tummy in no time.”

There are SO many things wrong about this statement.

First off, when you lose fat, you lose it all over your body. You can’t just magically cause fat loss in your tummy.

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Next, there simply is no magical food to make you lose weight, LET ALONE give you a flat tummy with abs. (?!?!?!?!!?!)

Does eating whole, nourishing foods contribute to a healthy weight? Absolutely.

Are certain foods more conducive to fat loss than others? Possibly. The amount consumed is key.

Will eating blueberries/grapefruit/the powdered root of a recently discovered plant on an uncharted island make your tummy flat fast?

Absofrickenlutely not.

2. “Do this workout for two weeks and you’ll lose ten pounds!’

This one frustrates me TO HIGH HEAVEN but I see it allllll the time! Do you?

Here’s why this is such a problem: this kind of promise simply fails to account for any sort of other relevant factors like lifestyle, eating habits, health issues….it just says that you do a particular workout for two weeks and you’ll lose ten pounds.

First off, that is an EXTREMELY fast rate of weight loss, and it’s not recommended at all. Secondly, you can’t just do a workout and lose weight. You have to be eating at a caloric deficit, and individual results will vary based on a multitude of factors such as health issues, hormones, current physical state….the list goes on. You get the point.

3. “Cut out all carbs/fat/anything that tastes good and achieve the bod of your dreams!”

Good lord. Is the bod of your dreams worth torturing yourself over by never eating anything tasty ever again? No, it’s not, and quite frankly, cutting out foods that our bodies need to function will NOT get you where you need to go. You’ll wind up feeling terrible, and even worse, you could end up with a hormone imbalance or even an eating disorder.

4. “This keto/low-carb/no-salt/whole food diet works for some people, so that means it IS what’s best for YOU.”

EHHHHH. (That was supposed to sound like a super loud “Wrong answer!” beeper. Did you hear that sound in your head? ‘Kay, good.")

There is no one-size-fits-all diet that will work for everyone. Nope. Doesn’t exist. People who tell you this are either trying to sell you something or are unfortunately misinformed. Not everyone who tells you that their diet is the best thing ever and “you should totally try it!” has ill will. It may work great for them, and that’s wonderful! But reality is, what works for them may not work for you. So remember that and do your research first.

5. “Drink this magical concoction of ACV, virgin’s blood, and fairy dust and literally watch the weight fall off!”

I saw an actual pin on Pinterest the other day that showed a before and after photo of someone who had lost what appeared to be quite a bit of weight, and below it was a photo of some disgusting-looking, unidentifiable liquid and a message that went something like “Try This One Simple Drink My Grandmother Used to Lose 700 Pounds that Melts Belly Fat OVERNIGHT!!!!!!”

I wish I were exaggerating. I’m not. I wish that wasn’t misinformation that is floating about in the world, but it is.

Sorry, but there is no magical drink that is going to help you burn fat overnight. There simply isn’t. I’m not saying that there aren’t drinks out there with health benefits, but there is nothing that’s going to cause you to lose loads of weight overnight.

Now, I’m hoping this post made you chuckle, but I want to get serious for a moment because a lot of us who have seen things like this have been desperately chasing after something….so desperately that we’d believe almost anything if it meant we could get ripped quick or lose weight fast.

You, yes, you, whoever is reading this, I wish I could just reach through the screen and hug you. I wish I could look you in the eye and tell you that losing weight is not your life’s purpose.

Sure, maybe you need to lose weight for health reasons, or maybe you don’t. Regardless, there is so much more to you than weight, and the number on the scale or the size of your waist does not define you.

I really do wish I could hug you because I understand what you’re going through. We are constantly bombarded with diets, tips and tricks, pills, workout plans, and detox teas everywhere we look. Influencers, the Internet, television, magazines, social media….it’s everywhere. Right when you’re feeling self-conscious and vulnerable and desperate, they try to sell you something.

Figuring out who and what to believe is absolutely dizzying, and finding our own healthy is so dang hard.

Here is the cold, hard, comforting truth.

There is no magical diet, no powder, no pill, no super-duper health food, no perfect workout, no quick fix that is going to get you the results you want overnight. Even more importantly, losing weight and getting “skinny” won’t make you happy and it won’t fix your whole life.

Here’s the good news: you can find healthy. You can do whatever it is you need to do to get to where you need to be, whether it’s finding the way of eating that’s right for you, being more active, getting stronger, or whatever your goal may be.

But please, please, for your own physical and emotional well-being, stop believing the lies that badger us everywhere we look. Don’t give them that power over you.

Do your research. Don’t believe everything you hear, see, and read. Listen to those who have done their research.

Just like in life, reaching your goals will take time and consistent work.

I know, it kind of sucks to hear, because the draw of those Pinterest quick fixes is that they’re “quick.” But I promise you that those quick fixes don’t last, and jumping from one fad diet to the next doesn’t just take a toll on your body: it takes a toll on your mental health as well.

No, you probably won’t lose 20 pounds in 10 days.

No, you won’t be able to eliminate cellulite with a coffee scrub and a thigh workout.

No, you can’t target belly fat with yoga.

But I promise you that valuing your health every single day in the way that’s right for you by eating foods that nourish you and moving your body will result in progress. (And progress doesn’t always mean weight loss!!)

It will take time, but your body, your soul, and your mind is worth it. You are worth it.

Don’t sacrifice your mental health or your relationship with food for any fad or for losing weight. Find your healthy, and fight for it. <3