Wellness Wednesday: How to Survive a Diet Obsessed World

Living a life free of dieting is liberating, but you're still surrounded by diet culture. Learn how to survive a diet obsessed world without losing your mind!

There's nothing quite like food freedom. Knowing you can eat whatever you want, when you want it. Being able to savor your favorite foods without guilt or fear. Feeling healthy, happy and confident in your skin, not desperately clinging to a diet in an attempt to get there. Knowing that who you are is so much more interesting, complex and beautiful than a number on the scale. Even when you're not quite there yet, every step in that direction feels like a sigh of relief.

Except an interesting thing happens when you find food freedom.

Diet culture becomes hella annoying.

When a colleague tells you all the details about their new raw vegan locavore diet it makes you want to pluck out your eyelashes one by one. A high school friend shares an article on facebook about how gluten is the devil, and you resist the urge to hop on a plane, fly to your hometown and beat her over the head with a stale French baguette. You find yourself yelling obscenities at Melissa Joan Hart on TV when she pops on the screen to sell those sad looking, plastic wrapped meals that helped her lose her baby weight.

And depending on where you are on your journey, you might even catch yourself feeling a hint of intrigue for the new diets and splashy headlines and celebrity endorsements...followed by a deep sense of shame and anger.

Deciding to live a life in which you no longer participate in diet culture and all it's B.S. shifts your perspective drastically. It makes you want to smack dieters over the head to knock some sense into them. WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?!?! Or as Glenys Oyston says, "WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CREAM AND SUGAR LACED COFFEE!"

When they don't understand, it can make you really, really angry.

I think it was on the podcast Love, Food (which you MUST listen to) that I first heard the phrase "living in a culture with it's own eating disorder." Truth. Our culture is so obsessed with thinness and dieting that it's become such a normal thing to talk about. But in what world is critiquing bodies and sharing tips for eating less food an interesting or enlightening topic of conversation?

So, how to survive when you feel like you're in crazy town?

Compassion. 

Remind yourself of the pain you felt when you were trapped in the cycle of dieting and body hate, and just know that they are in that same pain. Dieters are doing the best they can with the knowledge, support and self worth they have in that moment. They're one of the many victims of the same diet culture you were once trapped in. And it's that diet culture that deserves your anger, not the victims.

If you want more tips for dealing with diet talk without resorting to physical violence (against yourself or others ;) ) check out the facebook live video I did last week on the topic. Doing another facebook live today at 4 pm where I'm answering another question from a reader. This one's on navigating fad diets and nutrition advice, how to distinguish what's healthy from what's wackadoodle. If you have a burning question on nutrition or maintaining wellness without dieting, email me your question to AnAvocadoADayRD@gmail.com with the subject line "facebook question."

Also, a reminder to those who might be interested in joining our next round of Joyful Eating, Nourished Life! We're running a one week only discount until Labor Day, so be sure to join the mailing list so you can get the code! We got really great feedback from the last group. And we still chat with them regularly as you get lifetime access to a private facebook group where you can get personalized advice from us three dietitians and support from the rest of the group. Head to www.joyfuleatingprogram.com and scroll to the bottom sign up for the list and get the code!

[This program] has changed my perception of myself and my relationship with food and exercise... [I learned] to identify my hunger cues and when I’m satiated, as well as not judging food as either “good” or “bad” and removing guilty feelings about my eating habits. I learned that I am definitely an emotional eater and I now know how to take better care of myself in all aspects of life.
— M.S
I loved this program. I loved the breakdown of lessons and how the program challenged me to learn about my body and love myself, which has been my greatest struggle with my body and eating. I feel this program has given me the tools to eat more healthily, enjoy the journey and pass that information and attitude to my daughter so she hopefully does not struggle in the same ways I have.
— K.S.
In six weeks, the Joyful Eating Nourished Life program helped me have a more positive body image and a much improved relationship with food and exercise. Learning to eat when I’m hungry, and stopping when I’m satisfied, makes being a foodie even more fun! I’ve been eating - even craving - healthier options, I don’t have nearly as many sugar cravings, and when I do splurge, I’m able to enjoy it guilt-free. I wanted a healthy relationship with my body and with food, and that’s what I got with this program. Thank you!
— Cathy W.
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