March 01, 2022

Not One More Life Hijacked and Destroyed by Diet Culture
Not One More means we’re fed up – no pun intended – with Diet Culture’s intentional, greed-motivated, psychological assault on our children, our friends, our families, our colleagues, our communities, and our relationships with ourselves and others.

Not One More means understanding that people need hope to heal. And to hope, they need informed, compassionate community members who will show up to offer support without judgment.

Finally, Not One More means we can delay Not One More day, recognizing that it starts with us and must start now.

I love working with clients. I love the moment when they begin to grasp their innate worthiness and embrace self-compassion, perhaps for the first time in a long time. From that space, we examine the path that led them to where they are and cultivate the self-confidence needed to modify behavior and practice self-advocacy.

When my clients leave my care, they deserve to return to a society that’s actively rooting for them. On their behalf and on behalf of all who have wrestled with Diet Culture and or recovery, I’d like to address all who have been impacted – either directly or indirectly – about our collective responsibility to make our online and “real life” communities safer, kinder, and more supportive of people struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating.

Diet Culture Everywhere
No matter who you are, it’s probably safe to assume that Diet Culture has influenced you at some point; a judgment or bias here, body-focused criticism there, maybe even a “like,” on occasion.

I’ll be the first to raise my hand!

Overcoming internalized fatphobia and becoming an advocate was a strenuous, often lonely, uphill climb for me, and I’m still in the process of learning/unlearning. But whether we see ourselves as willing participants, passionate dissenters, or feign neutrality when it comes to Diet Culture, the fact is this: We, all of us, are currently members of a society that produces, capitalizes on, and continues to generate demand for a dangerous, isolating, shame-based fear of rejection based almost exclusively on physical appearance.

To borrow a famous idea from Desmond Tutu, if you are neutral in the conversation about Diet Culture, you have chosen the side of Diet Culture. We can remain silent no longer. We are part of a growing, online community, the collective behavior of which perpetuates toxic, groundless, racist ideologies about food/eating, body size, weight loss, beauty, and exercise. A community that performs confidence while ironically highlighting a general lack thereof with filtered content, curated comparisons, and baseless “health” advice.

If we who know better don’t do better, things won’t get better. So, let’s do better.

Feed Ourselves, Deprive the Disorder
The work involved with this mission is unique to each person and requires self-reflection; to make Diet Culture obsolete, we must all be accountable for our words, buying behavior, biases, social media activity, etc. In doing so, we will not prevent every eating disorder. But we can deprive eating disorders of what they need to take root, grow, and destroy lives.

If you can, imagine eating disorders as seeds – some that germinate, some that don’t – think of Diet Culture as its water, societal bias/ignorance as its sun. The seeds of eating disorders and disordered eating will continue to exist as they have throughout history, but we do not have to give them an environment in which they can flourish.

Our mission will not succeed if our primary focus is on individuals and illnesses. As its name implies, Diet Culture is a cultural problem – not a personal failing by those with eating disorders. While we all share this society, the greatest burden of responsibility to create change falls on those who are not currently negotiating with or tangled up in Diet Culture. (If not us, who?)

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Fighting Diet Culture begins with the choice to be accountable for the messages we allow to access our minds; the most significant battles will not be televised. Diet Culture’s influence is immense, apparent on social media, around the dinner table, and even at the doctor’s office. Individuals in larger bodies as shamed for their assumed negligence, laziness, and lack of self-respect. Individuals in thin bodies receive positive reinforcement from strangers regardless of their health status, and fear rejection should their weight ever increase. Individuals of all ages in “average-sized” bodies often go undiagnosed due to ignorance regarding “what eating disorders look like.” I don’t just want to prevent the most tragic outcomes of eating disorders. I want to come together to prevent countless, needless years of suffering and struggling to achieve a fictional ideal of health and or beauty experienced by those with and without eating disorders. And I need your help.

Alsana is an eating recovery community and treatment provider with in-person Residential and PHP/IOP programs in Alabama, California, and Missouri, and Virtual PHP/IOP offerings across the United States. Their approach to eating disorder treatment is compassionate, evidence-based, and designed in alignment with the Adaptive Care Model®. This holistic method seeks to address healing in all areas of clients’ lives by integrating medical, nutritional, and therapeutic care with movement and relational therapies. Alsana serves adult clients of all genders and sexual identities struggling with a broad spectrum of eating, feeding, and co-occurring disorders. Programs accommodate the unique needs of vegan clients and clients struggling with ED-DMT1, also known as “diabulimia.”