I’m super into any kind of visual representation that helps a message stick. I’d guess about 50% of my readers/followers are dietitians or students and 50% are not, so I try to speak to both by using evidence and more stripped-down explanations. Taylor has some fab graphics all over her Instagram that help drive the message home, and here’s two that I doodled out this weekend:
EXTENDED BINGE-RESTRICT CYCLE
There’s a very simple version of this around that’s just diet/binge and overall that is accurate – we know that diets are not sustainable and our bodies have protective mechanisms in place to help combat that and get us eating again. But I thought that a more in-depth picture may be more helpful since it shows the actual mechanisms and how they tie into each other. Leptin is fullness hormone and ghrelin is hunger hormone – so diets do create more hunger and less satiety to promote additional intake. Insulin promotes fat storage – aka, when you diet and intake is low, insulin encourages your body to save some energy in reserves in case there’s another period of starvation (dieting) again.
DIET CULTURE VIEWPOINT
I also like this graphic paired with the diet-binge cycle one. Diet culture/general lack of understanding of metabolism makes it easy to incorrectly simplify weight down to a matter of willpower. This relation of diets to willpower is dangerous, because it perpetuates the mental/emotional stress of feeling like a failure for not adhering to a diet. It also perpetuates weight stigma because it creates the idea that weight management is simple and that people in larger bodies have moral failings due to lack of willpower and they “got themselves into this”. So understanding how diets and weight actually work is so important because it shows that we not only don’t have control over our long-term weight, but that you can be healthy at any size and working actively manipulate weight is ineffective and unnecessary.
Have more graphics you’d like to see? Email me with a post request!