The amount of TikTok “what I eat in a day” videos that flood my FYP is insane. No matter how many times I click “not interested,” they always seem to claw their way back in like they’re my ex. And while TikTok can be a great place to learn more about healthy lifestyles, it seems as though diet culture has a way of sneaking its way into our everyday lives.
These videos on TikTok are serving diet culture to young girls on a silver platter. For the vast majority of social media users, these videos are completely unrealistic, impossible to sustain long term, and extremely dangerous. Not only can it be incredibly triggering for many young and impressionable girls on social media, but many of these creators are spreading blatant misinformation. When it comes to the wellness side of social media, it’s riddled with health myths left and right. Creators with huge followings will give wellness advice despite having no actual qualifications in nutrition or dietetics.
During the pandemic, I know I wasn’t alone in seeking out wellness tips on social media. There was an emerging pressure to become “that girl,” the ultimate illusion of what health is “supposed” to look like. There was also a growing fear of the “COVID-15,” and the diet side of social media had users in a chokehold. Around this time is when I really took a step back from the “wellness” side of social media.
I started going on hot-girl walks, and my companion? A podcast that was all about approaching wellness in a healthy way. These podcasts have an accessible and knowledgeable take on health and prove that diet culture isn't a valid choice for your personal wellness. That being said, here are 5 anti-diet culture podcasts that you need to listen to ASAP.
1. Maintenance Phase
Hosted by journalists Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes, Maintenance Phase is my absolute favorite anti-diet culture podcast, hands down. Aubrey Gordon is the author of What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat, and she frequently draws on her own experiences as a fat queer woman living in a society riddled with diet culture. They have episodes filled with poking fun at Gwyneth Paltrow’s “moon juice” and scrutinizing diet books written by unqualified celebrities. They also break down the worst fad diets that (unfortunately) are still popular today, and they cite scientific studies that clearly debunk wellness myths that we’ve all heard.
My favorite episode: “The Master Cleanse”
2. Take The Cake with Kate Noel
Kate Noel is a smaller influencer who discusses niche topics such as eating disorder recovery, body image, digestion, body neutrality, supplements, having a healthy menstrual cycle, and more on her podcast Take The Cake. She also provides insight into the ways that diet culture subtly sneaks into our lives and how we can work against it. Kate has had a long journey with body acceptance, and she frequently draws on her experience dealing with diet culture in the modeling industry.
However, Now that she quit modeling, she’s become a certified recovery coach. This podcast frequently features guests like registered dietitians and other health experts. Bonus points for Kate’s soothing voice, she always puts me at ease!
My favorite episode: was “healthy digestion 101”
3. Rebel Eaters Club
Hosted by the hilarious activist and writer Virgie Tovar, Rebel Eaters Club is one of my favorite podcasts because of its focus on the intersection of sexuality and race with diet culture. Virgie brings guests onto the pod to discuss everything from raising kids in a food-positive way to discussing the queerest foods in history. Both entertaining and educational, there’s never a dull moment.
I also use her guided Body Positivity journal religiously. As a college student studying gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, I was surprised to learn about how intertwined sexuality is with diet culture. Definitely give it a listen!
My favorite episode: “Horny for Healing: Body Positive Dating Advice”
4. Sea Moss Girlies
The OG’s will remember it as What The F*ck is Sea Moss? (we love a good rebrand), but Sea Moss Girlies is one of the most iconic Gen-Z podcasts out there. The pod is hosted by Kate Glavan and Emma Roepke, two of the most chaotic people I’ve ever listened to (in the best way possible). They break down what vitamins and supplements are worth the hype, how to have healthy digestion, how the metabolism works, and nutrition labels.
They also make frequent attacks on popular social media wellness myths (we love to see it), dissect a variety of fad diets, and explain difficult concepts like adrenal fatigue and the lymphatic system in an entertaining way. The girlies also tackle serious topics like climate change and expose the way that the diet industry impacts it! It's giving Maintenance Phase, and I love it!
My favorite episode: “Episode 52: Attack of the Keto Bros”
5. What The Actual Fork
Hosted by my intuitive eating queens Sammy Previte and Jenna Werner, two registered dietitians, What The Actual Fork is so refreshing after being on TikTok all day. I can always trust the information that I’m getting from these two, and they frequently have health experts on as guests. I originally found Sammy on TikTok (@findfoodfreedom), and she became a much-needed interruption to the flood of toxic diet culture content online. I can always count on her to debunk the harmful misinformation that’s always swirling around.
Both Sammy and Jenna give me major mom vibes, and I absolutely adore them. Some common themes of their podcast are body acceptance, body image, the toxicity of “wellness” social media, self-worth, fertility, eating disorders, and intuitive eating!
My favorite episode: “Why ‘What I Eat in A Day’ Content is Problematic”
Breaking free of diet culture is not something that happens overnight. Social media platforms are so ingrained with it, and there’s really no escaping it completely. Celebrities are constantly promoting diet products and unhealthy behaviors to their impressionable audiences. It's so easy to fall into their traps! If you find yourself getting wrapped up in toxic “wellness” media, it's okay! Be patient with yourself and give yourself room to grow. It's so important to prioritize our wellbeing, and you’re taking the steps to get there. So, put on your headphones, pick a pod, and treat yourself to a little HGW...you deserve it!