Is diet phobia just as bad as fat phobia?
The other day I had an interesting exchange with someone on my Instagram. She hashtagged me with #thefuckitdiet and because I am familiar with Caroline Dooner’s work I immediately knew what she meant. I explored The Fuck It Diet and also Isabel Foxen Duke’s Stop Fighting Food program a few years ago, after yet another failed diet attempt. Their approach felt liberating to me and I joined a few Facebook groups to help me learn more and fully embrace it, I called it my diet anarchy at the time. However, it wasn’t long before I fell into a deep hole of binge eating and weight gain that I could ill afford. One day I found myself reaching out in a group where talking about our weight was against the rules. I mentioned my weight anyway, to provide context with regards to a weight induced health issue I was struggling with. I asked: “How do I not make this about my weight when the weight is directly causing an unhealthy condition?” I got kicked out.
Once again, I realised that I am not feeling heard or seen by many of today’s diet or non-diet approaches.
Our society is pretty broken when it comes to dieting, obesity and a food industry that mostly cares about profits. And everyone has an opinion on our bodies and health, see my Instagram exchange on the left.
I am all for accepting and loving ourselves, and others, no matter what size we are. I also agree that the diet industry has done a lot of damage and that we need to move away from the all-or-nothing mentality and placing our self-worth on being thin. However, a lot of the ‘diets-don’t-work’ and/or ‘Healthy at Every Size’ proponents are either very young or have never been morbidly obese. Many of them are recovering from eating disorders and they do good and important work in this respect. However, not all of us want to lose weight because of low self esteem or body shame, or because we think that being at a certain weight will solve all our problems and ‘fix us’.
I want to lose weight because my obesity is directly impacting my health and quality of life.
The founders of Intuitive Eating reject weight as a parameter for our health and as such don’t support weight loss as a goal or dieting as a means to getting to this goal. Nonethless, Intuitive Eating does encourage behaviors that support good health and I like their focus on nourishing a healthier relationship with food while reconnecting with our body’s own wisdom and, ultimately, ourselves. Which is why many of the Intuitive Eating principles are very much a part of what I am doing. Yes, I want to lose weight and I also want to become an Intuitive Eater, I don’t think the two have to be mutually exclusive and that’s what I am exploring with my Intuitive Dieting approach.
Mostly though, I am done apologizing for making weight loss an important part of my good-health strategy.
Losing a significant amount of weight will not only cure my sleep apnea but also allow me to have a much needed surgery that will help me improve my mobility and overall quality of life. I am very aware that whatever I do now to lose weight has to become a way of life that is sustainable in the long term. I am also working on my anxieties and looking for ways to ease them and learn different coping mechanism other than numbing them with food. There is a lot of work to do and no-one can do it for me. I am taking full responsibility for the things I can change and do, I am done with the excuses and excited about the road ahead.