This Part 2 of my Ditching the Diet Mentality series. If you missed what this whole thing is about, start here.
Here are some resources that have helped me ditch the Diet Mentality:
Read & listen
Isabel Foxen Duke’s Newsletter
Isabel’s main message is that she wants to help women stop acting crazy around food. Having been totally wrapped up in the diet binge cycle herself, she’s done the hard yards of changing her mindset around food, diets, and bodies to have a more enlightened and freeing approach. She sends out short truth bombs every few weeks and they always seem to strike a chord. Sign up on her website.
Food Psych Podcast
Christy Harrison is a body positive dietitian with a personal background of disordered eating. in her podcast she interviews other body positive guests from all walks of life about their journey with food, rejecting dieting, and much more. Listen here.
Some holistic nutritionists and dietitians (like Christy Harrison of the Food Psych pod) are certified in what’s called Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating is pretty much what it sounds like, instead of following diet rules, you learn to listen to your body and what it wants and needs. Simple enough, but if you’ve been inhibiting your food intake and/or feeling guilty about it for decades, it can be quite challenging. The original book on the subject, Intuitive Eating, was written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch — I recommend getting the most up-to-date version.
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
This book is one of the originals in getting outraged by the way beauty standards are used to manipulate women and keep us down. Rage is a great way to start to give less of a fuck about the size of your jeans.
Eat Up! By Ruby Tandoh
A great book about eating and food by a seriously talented food writer, eating disorder survivor, and former contestant on The Great British Bakeoff.
“It’s not just what you eat, then, it’s how you eat it. Eating food that you enjoy, in a context that’s relaxed and pleasurable, is a step towards more efficient digestion and better health. […] there’s a lot of comfort in knowing that your appetite and your health needn’t act at odds with one another. Sometimes, you can just sit back and trust your appetite to lead the way.”
Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life by Kelsey Miller
(Sometimes Magical) Self-care
Exploring the effect that food has on my body as a woman had a huge impact on me. It made me look at food as a fully supportive, nurturing tool, as opposed to something I manipulated to change my body to fit some societal standard.
Work with the moon
Learn about your yin and yang energies and the phases of the moon to tune into the parts of yourself that don’t need to be pushing, plotting, and thinking about your weight.
When you’re looking to something bigger than yourself and setting intentions based on how you want to feel each month, big shifts can happen in your headspace. Maybe you set the intention to enjoy your life to the fullest — like Sophia Loren eating pasta, drinking wine, and being sexy AF — the moon can help remind you to anchor into your body where it is now and enjoy the hell out of it.
Social media overhaul
First of all, unfollow accounts that make you feel bad. Anything that elicits a “I wish my thighs looked like that” or “I feel gross” after looking at it is not good and you don’t need it.
Instead follow accounts that celebrate a range of bodies. Regularly seeing people on your personal media that aren’t all the same thin “ideal” along with people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities is good for everyone.
Eat the pizza you’re craving without judgement of good or bad. Skip your morning gym session. Walk instead of run. Yoga or stretching instead of HIIT. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable with not pushing yourself or punishing yourself for what you ate/are about to eat. Focus on what makes you feel really good and calm at the end instead.
This has been huge for me. I used to freak out if I couldn’t run 5 days week. I haven’t ran regularly for over a year and I’ve never felt better. I do yoga, walk a lot, and sometimes lift 5 pound weights if I can remember to. I’ll throw in the occasional run if I really feel like it, but I never force it anymore.
Get hobbies that don’t involve food or intense exercise
And this is coming from someone who was so obsessed with food that I made a career out of it. Maybe it’s…
- Taking a class (tarot, history, and astrology are some of my favorites)
- Going to more museums
- Finding live music you’d like to see
- Starting a record collection
- Going for long walks or hikes out of town on the weekend
- Getting involved in a charity
- Learning to crochet
- Going to see more comedy
Ditching the diet mentality is a long and winding journey. Our culture reinforces diets and moralizes food into good vs. bad camps, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Let’s face it, all of this overthinking and obsessing about food, weight, and finding the right diet (fyi, there’s no right diet, because diets don’t work) isn’t making us feel good, nor is it helping our bodies.
By breaking up with the diet cycle, we’re giving our minds the space and freedom to think about other, more important things to live our lives from a place of pleasure and love instead of fear and guilt.