A handy guide to the toxic language of diet culture

“Detoxing” is mostly a marketing expression.
“Detoxing” is mostly a marketing expression.
Image: Melissa d'Arabian/AP
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The holiday season, with its parties, buffets, and multi-course feasts, is coming to an end—which means that the season of abstinence, atonement, and New Year’s resolutions is upon us. At least, that’s the narrative that diet companies and gyms are eager to foist upon us come Jan. 1—and no wonder, when the bulk of their industries’ yearly revenue is made in the first month of the year, as people try (and often fail) to live up to a set of rather arbitrary standards that have little to do with real health or wellness.

Here’s our handy guide to the toxic diet culture words and phrases you’ll hear a lot of this time of year—and what they really refer to.