We all start off innocently wanting to lose weight. Whether it be because we feel like we NEED to. We see that our peers, parents, co-workers and friends are. Or even worse, we see everyone on social media doing it - following their favorite Instagrammers. And then it becomes a need of acceptance.
We want to feel part of the group.
If everyone else is doing it, I should do it too.
It can even go so far to being CONVINCED that YOU need to lose weight or go on a diet because the media is SO DAMN GOOD at persuading you. They have a pretty tricky way of wording things to relate weight loss and happiness. Which by the way, has no relation....
So, you go on this diet. You lose some weight and then magic happens (sarcasm) you start to get COMPLIMENTS. You start to get reinforcements... whether it be from friends, family, or people online.
And you're like WOW! I feel so good. People are complimenting me. I feel WORTHY.
So you keep going...
You keep on dieting and dieting and over-exercising and over-exercising to the point where you are OBSESSED. It's not even about the compliments anymore. It is so ingrained into your mind that you can't get out.
The innocent attempt to lose a few pounds has turned into complete restrictive eating, an unhealthy relationship with food, fitness and your body and you are tired, sad, irritable, confused, and lonely, yet you keep going because you have CONTROL.
Ah hah. The big word here: CONTROL. Other things in your life might feel "suck" right now. You may feel like you have no control over work, school, your relationships, or whatever, but you CAN control your body, and that is satisfying.
It goes on and on. For years. You get sick. You have no energy. You may even lose your menstrual cycle. But some of those things may even seem satisfying to you because that reinforces how in control you are.
But after a while there comes a point when you realize, this isn't the life you want to live. You're sick of being sick. You're tired. You don't want to live like this anymore...
But you can't get out. You don't know how to get out because you're so deep into it.
That is what I call The Diet Culture Effect.