It’s Time to Kick Diet Culture to the Curb

Your body is incredibly smart.

There is so much it does without you even thinking about it. For example, I bet your heart is beating right this very second. And you’re not even telling it to.

In the words of the BIG GUY, you are incredibly made.

Yet, we tend to forget just how wise our bodies are.

Lots of mistrust.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to trust your body…to honor your body?

To stop equating body size with health?

So many of us believe ‘getting healthier’ means losing weight.

You know that’s not necessarily true, right?

A person’s size is not an indicator of their health.

I can tell you this from experience.

I think it has a lot to do with our culture.

Our diet culture.

You know, the culture telling you smaller is better.

The culture telling you you should take up less space.

The culture telling you ‘getting healthy’ means changing the appearance of your body.

The culture labeling foods as ‘good or bad’, or ‘clean’ or ‘junk’, or ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’.

The culture telling you sugar or carbs or fats or gluten are evil.

The culture that uses ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures to demonstrate new found health.

The culture that gives air time to “The Best Diets of 2019” and follows that up with a celebrity imparting us with nutritional advice.

The culture that has us thinking weight loss is something that should be complimented. Have we even considered what we may be encouraging?

I’ve been following Robyn Coale, The Real Life RD for about 5 years now. She is part of the growing population of anti-diet dietitians out there.

Robyn has gently encouraged me (and many others) to rethink health. And as a result, I’m much better at listening to my body. I am much kinder to myself.

And I am much happier.

Now, I realize we are all in different places on our journeys. Sometimes we are not ready to let go of beliefs that have become so ingrained our lives. The belief that exercise needs to be intense. The belief that white flour is evil. The belief that white sugar will lead you to an early grave. The belief that a flat stomach will make you happy. The belief that ignoring your hunger demonstrates discipline.

Case in point?

Me.

See this book?

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Bought it back in the fall of 2012. (This is an old edition).

Not sure why I bought it, other than in the fall of 2012 I was desperate to ‘get healthy’.

Tried reading it.

Didn’t get very far.

Wasn’t really buying into the whole ‘intuitive eating’ ideology. I mean really. Was I suppose to embrace the idea you could eat whatever you wanted and be healthy?

R-r-r-i-i-g-g-h-h-t-t.

Yet for some reason, I couldn’t part with it; it sat on my bookshelf for many years.

When we moved last fall, I rediscovered the book.

And read it the same day.

Experienced a pretty huge ‘aha’ moment.

After six years, my thinking had changed.

Thank God.

Over the past few years, I’ve discovered my body is pretty smart.

I could trust it.

AND BE HEALTHY.

The book, Intuitive Eating, is the work of two dietitians who felt compelled to find a way to “reconcile forbidden food issues and still eat healthfully while not dieting”.

The book is based on 10 principles:

  1. Reject the diet mentality (diets don’t work)
  2. Honor your hunger (if you’re hungry, eat)
  3. Make peace with food (cravings and binges are the result of restricting)
  4. Challenge the food police (get rid of food rules)
  5. Feel your fullness (listen to your body)
  6. Discover the satisfaction factor (eat what you are hungry for)
  7. Cope with your emotions without using food (food doesn’t solve problems)
  8. Respect your body (accept genetics-it’s ridiculous to think a size 9 foot could fit into a size 6 shoe)
  9. Exercise-Feel the difference (just be active and do what you enjoy)
  10. Honor your health-Gentle nutrition (you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy)

Perhaps you too are tired of this diet culture and are ready to investigate intuitive eating.

If so, in addition to the book, I highly recommend the following nutritional experts:

  1. Robyn Coale RD NP
  2. Christy Harrison MPH, RD, CDN
  3. Haley Goodrich RD
  4. Cara Harbstreet, MS RD LD
  5. Emily Fonnesbeck RD 
  6. Kirsten Ackerman RD

 

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