Christy Harrison of the Food Psych podcast has a lot to say about the trap of the Wellness Diet. In this article she shows how diet marketers are using a stealth approach to keep dieting relevant.
Because more people are becoming aware that diets don’t work, diet promoters have to become sneakier. “It’s not a diet” is being promoted for many eating regimes that actually meet every qualification of a diet. Ways of eating promoted for wellness fall into this category.
The Wellness Diet is my term for the sneaky, modern guise of diet culture that’s supposedly about “wellness” but is actually about performing a rarefied, perfectionistic, discriminatory idea of what health is supposed to look like.
It’s not just about weight loss, although thinness is an essential part of The Wellness Diet’s supposed picture of health. (So is whiteness, and youth, and physical ability, and wealth.)
While it’s certainly good to eat more whole foods, focusing on perfectionist eating that divides food into “good” and “bad” has the same drawbacks as any other diet. Therefore, it will drive deprivation, obsession, and magical thinking, and ultimately not be sustainable.
The key question to ask is if a way of eating allows space for you to rely on your own internal wisdom. If there are hard and fast rules about what you are “allowed,” it’s a diet.