Over half of Americans have dieted at some point in their lives. Upwards of 90% of those who have intentionally lost weight have gained it back within five years. Plus, over half of those who embark on weight-loss efforts, end up gaining more weight than they lost. Why are we so obsessed with dieting when it is clearly ineffective?
The problem is diet culture (aka the wellness diet): a system of beliefs that equates thinness to health and moral virtue. It promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, and demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others. Ultimately, it's sexist, racist, and classist, yet it's so enmeshed in our moral fabric that it's hard to recognize and extricate. Today, it masquerades as health, wellness, fitness, and inspirational Instagrams, but it's still all-consuming and harmful.