3 Steps to Rejecting Diet Culture in the New Year

by Crystal Savoy, MS, RD, LDN

Did you know that the dieting industry is now worth 72 billion dollars?  You read that right – BILLION. With that much money behind an industry telling you how you “should” be eating/“should” look, influencers galore pushing teas and weird concoctions, being told the “cure” for literally everything is to cut out X food, and then there’s Susan who won’t stop talking about her new diet & how amazing it is – how is one to reject diet culture?  It can be hard, but it can be done. Let’s talk about how. 

In order to help us get unstuck, we need to re-frame our current beliefs and patterns.  Small actionable steps can help make us feel empowered to make change. Here are some steps to consider taking:    


Knowledge is power

  • Diet industry — as mentioned above is a multi-billion dollar industry with a goal to make you feel crummy and profit from that.  Guess what?! You are amazing and don’t need to fall into this trap! 
  • Fatphobia & weight bias — the belief that people in larger bodies are automatically unhealthy or “less than” (FYI bodies come in all shapes and sizes and everyone is worthy regardless of size!).  Want to learn more? Start here
  • Read this new book by Christy Harrison – the non-diet dietitian queen on ditching diet culture and embracing intuitive eating.  You won’t regret it. 

Connect to your healthy self 

  • Values – I think of values as a benchmark for living your life to its fullest potential based on what’s important to you.  This list/worksheet on values can be really helpful to get clear on what your values are.  Once you clarify your values, you can work towards aligning your behaviors with what matters to you most. 
  • What is my healthy self asking for and needing in this moment?  This is a good “stop and pause” question to check in with yourself.  Dieting messages can be enticing and LOUD. Sometimes we need to literally ask ourselves – is this what’s best for me? 


  • Diet talk – there is SO MUCH diet talk, especially this time of year but unfortunately all year.  Some people are lucky to not have direct contact with people who are known to discuss their latest diet, others have to face this everyday.  If you’re in the latter boat or just live in this toxic culture (most of us) boundaries will be important. This might look like: 
  1. Leave the conversation – sometimes we just don’t have the energy to speak up or engage, that’s okay! 
  2. Change the conversation – ignore the talk entirely and bring up something else!   For example, “So what are your plans for this weekend?” “Have you read/watched anything good lately? I need some recommendations.”  Worst case scenario, insert weather talk here. 
  3. Educate – “I’m working on intuitive eating/recovery, listening to my body, and honoring what I need, so I’m not dieting.  I’m happy to share more information if you’d like.” 


A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.

Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth


My hope for you is that 2020 is filled with many lovely things free of diet culture! Psst…

It can’t hurt to have a non-diet dietitian to support you on this journey! 🙂