Counseling

TBT: Refusing to Diet is a Political Act

Hello and happy Thursday! 

I'm doing a throwback today from a post I did around New Year's on Sundaes for the Soul (that website is offline as of right now, as I continue to transition to using this site for everything). Lately, it seems like I (and so many others) have been inundated with messages of weight loss, needing to diet, needing to have the "perfect" body, especially in the summer- but really, what else new? Those messages, unfortunately, exist year round. So below you'll find that post about how dieting is a political act (and can also be harmful to us) - enjoy and feel free to comment below!

This time of year is a deluge of weight-loss commercials, detox ads, gym membership specials. I can hardly turn on the TV without seeing an ad for weight loss (thankfully, I watch Netflix for the most part and can successfully avoid the weight loss madness). People are posting on insta their "fitness/body goals" for the new year. People everywhere are talking about how their going to commit themselves to the gym/veganism/whole food diet/gluten-free/dairy-free/low carb/no carb/low fat/no fat/paleo/alkaline diet. As much as I hate diet talk of any kind, I am compassionate towards people trying these kinds of things because our culture tells them they have to. A woman who isn't dieting is not trying hard enough. She doesn't care about herself, they'll tell you. THAT IS 1000% BULLSHIT. 

Dieting is the patriarchy's way of making sure women continue to live small. It was a years-ago thought up strategy to keep women on a hamster wheel of diets. Because as long as we stay on the hamster wheel, we're quiet. We are not speaking up or speaking out. We don't have the time or the energy to pursue our wildest dreams. We are quietly staying in the place where men long ago put us. Don't fall for it: you are so much bigger than the box dieting traps you in.

There's a lot of reasons I hate dieting. The patriarchal history is enough to infuriate me and abstain from dieting ever again (because I'll be damned if I ever let a bunch of old, white men tell me what I have to do with my body, ever). But also the physical and mental effects are horrible and dangerous.  It manifests a neurotic relationship with food. It makes you feel tired, foggy, in a daze. It teaches us to ignores our body's natural hunger cues. It teaches us to stop listening to our body all together, when it comes to both food and movement. If you want to know more effects of dieting, I strongly recommend you research the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. Refinery29 has a great article that you can read HERE (also Kelsey Miller is an anti-diet queen and I highly recommend reading her book Big Girl). I'm planning on doing a post dedicated just to the Minnesota studies but suffice it to say that it is a fascinating read. 

Sweet girl (man/non-conforming human), I cannot tell you how much you don't need to diet. I cannot tell you how much you do not have to lose those last X pounds. I cannot tell you how little it matters if you fit into those size X pants. You are so worthy. You are more than worthy. You are a human being who has fought and loved and struggled and conquered in order to get to this place. You deserve to be here without condition. You do not have to change your body. An extra 20 minutes on the treadmill is not going to make you a better person. You are good enough, exactly as you are. I really, really promise. 

If you're ready to get off the dieting train forever, if you're ready to experience food and body freedom, I want to work with you! I am now accepting new clients to journey into intuitive eating, body acceptance and total liberation with. If you're interested, you can contact me here.  I would love to talk to you! 

Sending you the warmest wishes and non-diet vibes,
Meghan

 

What does food freedom mean?

The other day, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (not food/health/body positivity related) and the guest they had on that day was someone in recovery from an eating disorder. It’s the first time I’ve heard this topic addressed on this particular podcast (though it dominates many other podcast conversations I listen to) so I was interested to hear how it would go. The two women who host the podcast are comedians, though the podcast is about sex positivity so they’re very familiar with women empowerment. Still though, the topic of eating disorders seems to be outside their wheelhouse so I was curious to see how it would be addressed.

Ooooof.

The guest was an actress/stand-up comedian who had a history of anorexia. I won’t go into the inappropriate questions that got asked and inappropriate jokes that got made on both ends- I’m not immune to the unseemly jokes that sometimes happen in comedy; I get it. I also understand that this is an issue that I am very close to so my bias is strong. But the one thing I do want to unpack is how they talked about recovery.

The guest said multiple times that she was “in recovery” while acknowledging that it will likely be a lifelong process. However, when the hosts (inappropriately) asked her what she eats, she was still cutting out some pretty major food groups. When they asked more specific questions, it was clear that she was still following some pretty strict food rules.

Look, I’m not here to disparage this poor woman. I have boundless compassion for her. So many of us (myself included) have been in that place. And I’m truly happy for her if she feels like she’s in a better place than she has been in the past. But I think it does a discredit to eating disorder recovery and to everyone who is looking for freedom from dysfunctional eating patterns to imply that what she described is recovery.

Recovery is not cutting out food groups.

Recovery is not having stringent rules around food and exercise.

Recovery is not laughing about how you would never touch a certain food.

Whether it’s from an eating disorder, disordered eating or chronic dieting, recovery is so much more than that.  It alarmed (though not necessarily surprised) me that such a dangerous description of what eating disorder recovery is was described on such a popular podcast.

So what does recovery and food freedom look like?

It’s allowing yourself all foods. It’s knowing that you can have as much or as little as you want. It’s nourishing yourself without rules. It’s opening the fridge and knowing that you can have whatever you want. It’s knowing you can eat all of it now but also that you can save some for later. It’s tossing out the list of “bad” foods and recognizing that it’s dangerous for foods to be attached to morality. It’s going out to eat and knowing that you can order whatever you want. It’s not beating yourself up when you eat past the point of fullness and it’s having compassion for yourself when you do. It’s knowing that no matter what decisions you make about food, it doesn’t define your worth or who you are as a person.

It’s easy to get to the point where you feel like you’re doing “good enough” with food- when you’re not necessarily restricting, but you’re not truly allowing all foods. When you’re not as obsessive as you once were, but you still get nervous about going out to dinner or eating without knowing calorie counts. I’m all for celebrating the small steps along the way, but I think it’s so important that we don’t stop there. That we keep taking steps towards total food freedom so that we can live our lives without letting food control more space in our brains than it deserves.

I want to help you get there! If you’re interested in working with me, you can contact me here or email me at meg@mkaznutrition.com.