“We Didn’t Expect To Encounter A Toxic Diet Culture”



As a Gen Z new to the workplace, writer and PRIMER intern Maeve Galea was horrified by tales of Millienial and Gen X obsession about weight.

For many of us, the post-pandemic return to the office was the first time we were entering these spaces.

We quickly learnt the trademarks, trials and tribulations of office life: the daily commute and the smug feeling when you manage to bring in a homemade lunch.

One thing me and my Zoomer chums didn’t expect to encounter during our first forays into office life was a toxic diet culture that seems totally normalised by our superiors.

I have been shocked by several of the stories at after-work drinks.

One friend reported that come lunchtime at her job at a glossy magazine, the conversations between her superiors instantly turned to how fat they look and feel and the best carb-free diet du jour.

These stories make great conversational fodder, but they also leave me feeling sad.

These are smart, powerful, interesting women in their 30s and 40s attaching shame to their bodies and the food they eat in the same way that we did as teenagers.

“I was 12 when Instagram launched and it didn’t take long for it to take over our lives. We downloaded calorie-counting apps, tried to survive a full school day on an apple and a miso soup, and spoke endlessly about our quest for skinny.”

The result was that many of us developed a relationship with food that landed on the spectrum of disordered eating. Thankfully not long after this, the body positivity movement started to gain mainstream momentum.

I will never forget seeing the Fall ’16 lookbook from New Zealand-based lingerie label Lonely.

It was the first time I had ever seen diverse bodies with scars, stretchmarks and lopsided boobs. They were beautiful images, and it felt like a revelation.

Happily, I can report that these days my friends and I would never talk about our own — or anybody else’s — bodies in negative ways.

I simply cannot imagine entering a conversation about the new fad-diet worth trying.

Meet The Women Making Thousands From Their Wardrobes



Read more about toxic diet culture at PRIMER.


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