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Chopping Up The Roots Of Diet Culture

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

My husband and I are dealing with a bamboo invasion in our yard. This stuff is elusive. Just when we think we have a section cleared we’ll see a little green shoot stick up. Bamboo is unique in that it creates a root system that grows parallel to the surface of the ground. That causes it to travel far, fast, and spread everywhere. This can damage the foundation of a house, displace native plants, and anger a nearby neighbor since it becomes their problem, too. Bottom line, don’t ever plant bamboo.

I love a good analogy. So as I was chopping up some bamboo roots I thought, “man, this is just like diet culture. It’s insidious, causes harm, and it’s a bitch to get rid of.” The initial seedling, or food rule, can look so innocent. How can a tiny little sprout torment a whole yard? How can "eating healthy" or "watching my weight” lead to social isolation, decreased pleasure in life, or trigger an eating disorder? Sometimes bad things come in very sneaky packages.

My husband and I found the best approach to ridding ourselves of bamboo is a multifaceted one. We tear up the roots, mow down any sprouts that pop up, and poured an underground barrier to prevent the roots from the woods entering our yard. We have to stay vigilant.

I believe the best approach to combating diet culture is attacking it from all angles, too. Submerge yourself in the anti-diet world. Read the books, listen to the podcasts, follow the social media accounts, talk to your friends about it, and read silly blog posts that attempt to create an analogy between bamboo and dieting. Most importantly, discover it for yourself. Just like we wouldn’t trust a pilot who has read every aviation book but never actually flown a plane, you probably won’t trust that this approach until you try it and feel the difference.

My yard will eventually be ready for some beautiful, native plants. And you can start tearing away those deep-rooted diet beliefs and make room for more welcomed food thoughts. We both have some work ahead of us but we'll get there.


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