• Stephanie Dorfman, MS, RD

How to Change the Conversation AWAY from Diet Culture

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

It's time to have this very important discussion as one holiday ends and we dive right into the holiday season. How can we navigate conversations AWAY from diet culture?

Some of my favorite intuitive eating dietitians have written helpful blog posts on ways to confront diet culture and change the conversation away from its harmful messages. I continuously learn from the many inspiring anti-diet dietitians that I follow and want to pass along their knowledge.


What is Diet Culture?

We are all surrounded by diet culture - whether we choose to notice it or not. It has sadly become a cultural norm and hit topic of conversation. Social media, tv commercials, internet advertisements, friendly conversations - literally everything has been immersed in this harmful culture, which makes it so difficult to get out of.


Diet culture promotes "exciting new ways" to "change your lifestyle," or "reach your health and fitness goals." When in fact, it's basically promising you the complete opposite! Diet culture messages are pumping you full of lies causing - food restriction, bingeing (yes both - restriction and bingeing - more on the dieting cycle to come), over exercising, ignoring our body's needs, spending crazy amounts of money, and so many more negative things that we all DO NOT need right now, or ever.


Diet Culture Thoughts

You may be experiencing constant nagging thoughts that are always annoyingly floating around your head. Raise your hand if you know what I'm talking about...

  • "If only I weighed [x], I would be happier"

  • "Ugh, I ate so much yesterday - gotta hit the gym tomorrow"

  • "If I keep [insert food here] in the house, I will never stop eating it"

  • "I shouldn't eat [insert food here], it has too many calories"

  • "I can only have [x] calories a day"

If you have experienced (or are experiencing) thoughts like those, THAT'S OK!! Trust me, I have been there, done that. Once you are in that diet hole, it is hard to climb out! That's why I'm here - to provide a safe space to explore the wonders of stepping out of diet culture and into intuitive eating. Moving away from diet culture helps to quiet those thoughts and moves you toward a life where you treat your body with the care and respect it deserves - instead of always trying to change it.


Changing the Diet Culture Conversation

Looking for ways to navigate your conversations AWAY from diet culture and weight stigma and toward SO MANY TOPICS that are WAY MORE interesting!? Continue reading...


Here are some highlights from a post by Brenna O'Malley, RD at Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness (so many more great suggestions within the post)

  • You do not always need to preach the anti-diet culture message

  • You are allowed to set personal boundaries

  • You can politely excuse yourself from the conversation

  • You can suggest that talking about bodies and weight is the least interesting thing to catch up on - talk about something else more exciting

  • You can inform others that you are working on not discussing things diet related, and follow-up with a different topic

Here is a summary from a post by Robyn Nohling, FNF-BC, RD at WellSeek (so many more great suggestions within the post)

  • Create a supportive community promoting intuitive living - family, friends, social media accounts, podcasts, and blogs

  • Set boundaries, but also know, you are allowed to change your boundaries at any time

  • Decide what to engage with - will you continue absorbing diet-related messages, or brush them off and acknowledge those messages are not truthful

  • Educate other if you choose to - you can even point them in the direction of this blog post!

  • Your changes will affect others as they may notice your change of thought. Just remember the changes you have gone through and that these changes do not happen overnight

Here are some conversation ideas from a post by Rachel Hartley, RD, LD, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor at Rachel Hartley Nutrition (so many more great suggestions within the post)

  • The super delicious taste of the food

  • Favorite holiday traditions

  • Pictures of your pets

  • Recent TV binges

  • Can we talk about something else other that diets

To Sum Up this Diet Culture Post

Diet culture sucks - straight up - and it's really tough to get out of it. I hope these blog posts, tips, and conversation suggestions provided you a good place to start and open your eyes to the many, many, manyyyyyy other things to discuss over the holidays (and any time). Let's take the next step to end diet culture together!


Remember - I have a free intuitive eating download created to help you get started navigating away from diet culture.

5 Ways to Unlock your Inner Intuitive Eater

This is a great intuitive eating worksheet to start your journey and continue learning. It may seem scary to jump right in and actually just eat and enjoy food - and that's OK! Consider it a big experiment - curiosity over judgement. Give it some time and see how it goes! Use the challenges and prompts in this download as a guide to begin.


Looking for more support? I am here to provide a safe space to listen and help!

Send me an email, schedule a free discovery call, or connect with me on Instagram.