You can kick diet culture out of your diet, experts say. Here's where to start

The way we eat, exercise and relate to our bodies is often impacted by diet culture, a trap which can increase negative attitudes toward others and ourselves, experts said.

This is part of a year-long series that takes a closer look at eating disorders, disordered eating and relationships with food and body image.

(CNN)When you hear "diet culture," you probably think of models, movies and magazines.

But it's much too insidiously far reaching to be limited to what we take in from entertainment.
Much of the world is entrenched in ideas that controlling food and movement to get closer to an ideal body type is the way to go -- even if it doesn't lead to healthy choices, said Sabrina Strings, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine.
    "The vast majority of the public is influenced by diet culture," said Strings, author of "Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia." "I think it is the overarching experience of our lives living in the West."
      While diet culture can contribute to eating disorders for many people, even those who don't have a diagnosed condition often are subjected to shame, bullying, restriction, self-punishment and negative relationships with their food and body because of diet culture, said Jill Andrew, the first openly queer Black person to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and cofounder of Body Confidence Canada.
      Often messages from diet culture can sound a lot like healthy eating advice, but the two are different, said Lauren Smolar, vice president of programs for the National Eating Disorders Association. And identifying if your dietary choices are being led by your body or what society says about your body is an important first step, she added.

      What diet culture is

        An important disclaimer: When these experts say "diet culture" they do not mean making choices with the health and well-being of your body and mind being the priority.
        Diet culture is comprised of the influences and messages that impact how we eat, based on cultural pressure to attain an ideal body type, Smolar said.
        It can be hard to tell when and to what extent society is influencing our eating habits, given the messaging that says a body with less fat is healthier and that some ways of eating are morally better than others.