The Should Eat Fantasy Compliance

How many diets have you been on? When was the first one? Most women have been dieting in some shape or form….or coming off a diet…or preparing to go back on a diet….for as long as they can remember.

Can you relate?

I believe we live in a culture that has trained us to distrust our bodies and think we need to follow orders to pick out dinner options. 

We should be eating this. We should be eating that. We must not eat this after 7, or else…

Or else what?

All these shoulds lead most of us toward shame, guilt and distrust of our own innate wisdom. You were born knowing how to eat and how much. All those diets disconnected you from that. 

You may be wondering, “But I feel so good when I am dieting, at least for a little while.”

Totally. Diets and preparing for them give the notion that things will be alright soon. Just the decision to embark on a diet can relax and calm you. Your head may feel clear for the first time in a long time.

The first few days or weeks of a diet can give off a buzz of excitement and kudos from well-meaning friends and family.

Can you feel it? That’s diet seduction.

And it is just a fantasy.

The reality is diets are only short term. They are unsustainable. This is not just a belief of mine rather evidenced-based in literally hundreds of research studies.

So why do you blame yourself for the diet ending?

If diets don’t work for most people, why do doctors and dietitians recommend them?

If diets are actually harmful long term…promoting weight cycling, higher insulin levels, higher tryglycerides, higher blood sugars, depression, and negative body image….why are they recommended to improve health?

Those are important questions with a really nasty answer:

The world is so fat phobic that it cannot wrap its head around the notion that weight loss is not a behavior. And, medical science has yet to find ONE diet that works to promote health and promote maintanence long term for most people. Even more, this mind control is rooted in white supremacy and misogyny.

You see how people of size are treated in our world: chairs don’t fit, airplanes won’t accomodate, and culture hasn’t provided equal treatment in academia, the military, or employment.

This constant discrimination sends anyone trying to find a way to fit in. To find more ease in a world that says their body is not acceptable.

A fat body dieting is complying with the orders: eat this not that. Do all that it takes to weigh less. Even if it hurts.

And each time you comply with the orders, the fantasy of equal treatment and a better life fill your head.

This is The Should Eat Fantasy Compliance.

This is the reason why you keep getting sucked back into Diet Culture and it is so important. You are just doing what you are told while craving equality and decency.

Unfortunately The Should Eat Fantasy Compliance distracts us all from the facts that diets don’t work for most people and they are harmful. It also distracts us from the biogtry that comes from weight stigma, racism, and gender inequality. 

I want to stand with you radically rejecting diets and reconnecting to your own innate wisdom for health.

This week’s Love Food podcast episode (107) is one of my all time favorites because it gives you the tools to stand up to the villain. In this episode I go through the 4 pillars to Food Peace: permission, pleasure, consistency, and variety. Take a listen here or via your favorite pod catcher.

Until then, call out the real villain. And take off that shame cloak. It is not for you. It never was.

 

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help.

Listen to the Love Food podcast and find new ways to rewrite your fate with food and body.

You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, your fav pod catcher or right here.

Wake Up Weight Watchers

I have been off the figurative grid the last few weeks to reboot. And, on a whim when I momentarily had wifi, I scrolled through Instagram only to see the horrifying news:

Weight Watchers, the diet company that has already stolen so much time, money, and self-compassion from us, is giving away memberships to teens this summer. 

Why is Weight Watchers choosing to give away memberships??

To teach body dissatisfaction?

To suck more innocent children into the hell of an eating disorder?

To help teens start a life of self blame for weight cycling?

To help promote weight gain?

Diets to Eating Disorders

Too many people have told me their life long and life threatening eating disorder started as a teen walking into Weight Watchers. Often they walked in with their mothers. Or, after the recommendation from their doctor.

As fellow dietitian Laura Thomas says, “Not everyone who goes on a diet gets an eating disorder yet everyone with an eating disorder has gone on a diet.” 

We know eating disorders have a genetic link and going on a diet is all it takes to start the ball rolling for an eating disorder to be born. Think of someone with alcoholism in their family, taking their first drink and that starts an abusive relationship with alcohol. 

Teaching diets to those with the genetic disposition for an eating disorder sets them up to experience the mental illness with the highest mortality rate.

You may be saying….But, Julie, we need to worry about teens with diabetes and eating disorders are rare.

12 in 100,000 children have Type 2 Diabetes (Writings Group et al., “Incidence of Diabetes”) yet 2900 in 100,000 children experience an eating disorder*. Statistically, we need to worry more about eating disorders than increased adiposity.

You may be saying….But, we need to do something about the obesity epidemic. At least Weight Watchers is doing something.

Diets like Weight Watchers are doing something: making us sicker and they don’t work. 

Show me the data from any diet study (including any Weight Watchers research) that keeps weight off long term (that’s at least 2 years) for most people. THERE AREN’T ANY. Somehow diet companies sell a product, make 60 billion dollars a year, the product fails for most people, and the failure is PART of the PLAN. The diet companies KNOW their products don’t work and have convinced us we the people are at fault. 

You know what data we do have? That diets don’t work for most people. As Deb Burgard says, “We need to call the diet industry the weight cycling industry.” Weight cycling raises cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, insulin, blood sugar. The more we diet, or weight cycle, the more we weigh.

Huh?

Diets predict weight gain and eating disorders. 

So why in all H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks can Weight Watchers sell a product to our young precious children? How is this safe? Or legal? Or ethical? Or moral?

Why are we ok with this?

I love what my colleague Rebecca Scritchfield has to say about this Weight Watchers announcement in a recent Washington Post article

How can we stop this harm?

Consider signing this Change.org plea to stop this Weight Watchers campaign.

Do you have children that you worry about their eating or weight? 

Listen to this recent Love Food Podcast episode I did with my colleague Anna Lutz. She gives amazing insight.

Are you a fat teen?

Hello. I want you to know I see you. I don’t want you to change. You are acceptable as you are right now. You deserve to feel at home in your own skin and not torture yourself with a diet. Weight Watchers is a diet that doesn’t work for most people. Did you know you can trust your body to promote health? You have hunger, fullness, and satiety that let you know what your body needs. Don’t believe any diet sheet or think following points should dictate your worth. You are worthy already. That’s the point.

You don’t need them. 

But, we need you. 

Getting sucked into Weight Watchers or any other diet will only distract you from all that you bring to this world. 

Please don’t try to shrink yourself. Take up space. All that you want and need. I want to hear you and see you.

We need you not the points.

Warmly,

Julie

Here’s the footnote in case you dig that research stuff:

*K.R. Merikangas et al. “Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in US Adolescents: Results from the National Comborbitity Survey Replication-Adolescent Supplement.” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 49, no. 10 (2010): 980-9.

Body Positive PCOS New Year Resolutions

Kimberly Singh, Julie’s resident nutrition grad student {{ also affected by PCOS! }} is back to blogging on PCOS topics. Enjoy!

Are you tired of new year resolutions related to weight loss yet wonder what else to focus on?

As the new year approaches you may find yourself surrounded by diet culture at its annual peak. This is particularly difficult time to avoid diets.

Here are are 5 New Year’s resolutions that will help your PCOS while maintaining a weight-neutral approach.

Experiment with giving yourself permission to eat.

Allow yourself to eat without restriction and rules. This is scary at first, but eliminating the rules will allow you to better listen to your body.

Take a leap of faith, and trust yourself to shake off the rules created by diet culture.

Eliminating food rules will even make eating a more wholesome experience that creates space for connection, creativity, and warmth around food.

Engage in movement that brings you joy.

Let your body be present and fully engaged in movement. Move in a way that lets you feel connected to your body.

Strip away the judgments about stamina, duration, and frequency.

Simply let your body be.

Eat enough protein.

Julie recommends that women with PCOS experiment with eating 10 to 20 grams of protein in the morning and evening. Shift your focus away from labeling foods as good versus bad, and focus on eating enough.

Observe how this change affects your energy levels and PCOS symptoms.

I have found it helpful to create a list of go-to meals with enough protein. I like to be ready for the unexpected, so my go-to meals range from take-out to super fancy recipes.

Observe how your body reacts to different foods.

Be your own scientist as your discover how to best manage your PCOS.

Be a neutral observer as you explore how you feel after you eat different types of foods. You may find it helpful to take notes throughout this process. Observe how specific foods affect your energy levels, mood, and appetite.

Remind yourself that you can use this information as you please. This does not mean that you have to eliminate any foods that do not leave you completely energized and satisfied.

Don’t be scared to say, “no.”

Say “no” to people, ideas, and healthcare professionals that are not serving you and your PCOS experience. Listen to your gut instinct.

Stepping away from experiences that are not serving you will create space for experiences that are aligned with your values.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

Weight Loss Isn’t the Answer for your PCOS

Kimberly Singh, Julie’s resident nutrition grad student ⇢also affected by PCOS!⇠ is back to blogging on PCOS topics. Enjoy!

It’s that time of the year again.

Everyone is revving their engines to prepare for a new lifestyle filled with vegetables and water.

They are starting their elimination diets and shaming their prior self for indulging in things like sugar and bread (gasp).

As they start this new lifestyle with blind optimism, they are sure this time will be different.

Not like last January, or the one before that, and so on. In a few weeks to months the craze will wear off, and most dieters will be back to eating sugar and whatever else they currently deem unhealthy trash.

Sound familier?

If you have PCOS this is probably a familiar cycle.

You already know the shame and pressure to change your body’s size through restrictive dieting and rigid exercise. 

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

As if society’s pressure to shrink yourself wasn’t bad enough, you probably have doctors promising you that all of your PCOS nightmares will end when you drop the weight.

Who wouldn’t want that?

They paint this beautiful picture of your PCOS symptoms vanishing with the proper amount of restriction. If you just do it right and long enough you will be practically cured.

However, they fail to warn you about the increased risk of eating disorders and weight cycling among dieting women with PCOS. They rarely ask about a history of binge eating disorder, which is common in women with PCOS. And last but not least, they fail to warn you that dieting causes you to ignore your body’s internal method of regulation.

Diets inherently tell you to ignore your body and listen to the blanket of shame that society throws on people of size. 

Healthcare professionals prescribe weight loss for PCOS as an ultimate solution, ignoring the weight cycling that usually accompanies the PCOS experience. The reckless prescription of restrictive diets to a population at an increased risk of eating disorders causes harm to women with PCOS.

Not only does dieting lead to weight gain (the literal opposite of what PCOS dieters expect) but it also poorly affects their health.

Diets discourage people from knowing how to use food as fuel for their bodies. Julie finds that by urging her clients to observe reactions to different foods, they are able to identify how to best energize their bodies and manage their PCOS.

Women with PCOS get energy from food in a different way from others, and by turning down the volume on dieting, they are able to better hear what their bodies prefer. I have found it to be helpful to log how I feel 1-3 hours after eating different foods. 

Dieting can seem so appealing, especially for those of us with PCOS. It promises a whole new shiny life-a better version of yourself that is lingering inside of you and waiting to be released.

It can even sound like the only solution to your PCOS, but it is not.

You are the only solution. 

You have the internal wisdom to guide yourself to health and happiness, and don’t let diet culture tell you otherwise.

As the new year begins, I urge you to ditch your diet. I urge you to stop restricting. Stop listening to messages about weight loss filled with shame, and start listening to your body.

Here are some of my favorite resources when diet culture has me in the dumps:

  • Weight-neutral podcasts: some of my favorites are Love Food, Dietitians Unplugged, Food Psych, She’s all Fat.
  • Lindy West’s writing has a great balance of humor and realness of the fat experience.
  • Intuitive Eating (<–this is an affiliate link) is a must-have. It will help you unlearn diets.
  • And last but not least: myself! When I am present and grounded with myself, I know that diets are not right. Self-compassion and mindfulness help me get through my toughest moments.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

Jeanes, Y. M., Reeves, S., Gibson, E. L., Piggott, C., May, V. A., & Hart, K. H. (2017). Binge eating behaviours and food cravings in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Appetite, 109(Supplement C), 24–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.010

Lee, I., Cooney, L. G., Saini, S., Smith, M. E., Sammel, M. D., Allison, K. C., & Dokras, A. (2017). Increased risk of disordered eating in polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility, 107(3), 796–802. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.12.014

Mann, T., Tomiyama, A. J., Westling, E., Lew, A.-M., Samuels, B., & Chatman, J. (2007). Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. American Psychologist, 62(3), 220–233. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.220

Morosi, A., & Jeanes, Y. (2017). Food cravings, binge eating and emotional eating behaviours in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 76(OCE1). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665117000155

If diets work, why do you go on one every year?

Before you pick out another New Year’s resolution diet, I beg you to reconsider.

If diets work, why do you end up on one every year?

Diets come from a 60 billion dollar a year industry.

Billion.

These rich folks tell us we can’t trust ourselves around food, and we need them.

Their lists, supplements, gimmicks, books, potions, rules, lies.

We have trusted the diet industry with our lives, but are we actually healthier?

Instead of bringing us closer to health, chronic diseases are increasing. So are eating disorders, the most life threatening of all mental illnesses.

Diets promise weight loss yet I challenge you to find one weight loss study with a low drop out rate showing weight maintenance for more than two years. This research stops by one year because after that weight starts to be regained.

Instead of the weight loss industry, we need to rename it the weight cycling industry.

My frustration: we give this industry our hard-earned money and it doesn’t even work.

I am calling out the diet industry as money hungry frauds. Instead of bringing us health, peace, and weight loss they are robbing us of joy.

There is an alternative way to eat and promote health.

I challenge you to live one year without dieting.

Instead of categorizing foods into eat this not that, resolve to live your life. What will one year without dieting look like?

Reconnect with Your Eating Wisdom

Life without rigid food lists may bring to mind bingeing, food chaos, or unhealthy living. At least that is what diet
companies sell us to believe.

Instead of a list of safe foods, let your body decide how much to eat and what to choose from. You may have seen a baby cry when hungry and show contentment when satisfied. This system is well-known and trusted.

You were the same at birth and designed to let hunger, satiety, and fullness direct you toward healthy eating. What changed?

You were told to diet and this distracts and leads to distrusting signals. The more you’ve dieted, the farther you may be from this internal regulation system.

I want to help you reconnect to your innate wisdom. Attuned eating, also called Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, has been shown to support and improve health while healing one’s relationship with food. You can find more confidence building discussions on attuned eating within future blog posts and among those using #FoodPeace on Instagram.

Reconnect with Exercise

While healing your relationship with food, be mindful of how exercise complicates things.

Do you have to go to the gym after eating too much?

Do you only eat fun food after working out?

Although common, these are eating disorder behaviors. When we view exercise as purely calories in, calories out we are missing the point. The human body is designed to move and using exercise as a penance makes it a short-lived experience.

I encourage you to find movement your body enjoys. This can become life long.

A perk: joyful balanced movement further enhances your body’s eating wisdom.

Reconnect with You

Dieting places food in the forefront of our perception and dictates whom we eat with and where we socialize. It keeps us out of the present.

Food does not deserve this power.

It is time to reclaim the driving position in your own life. Food Peace™ will help you reclaim your power.

Yes, this will be tough and I believe you can do it!

If you desire this reconnection to food, movement, and your body please join me. I will be podcasting, blogging, chatting, and posting using #FoodPeace throughout 2018. If you need more support, consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist trained in eating disorders and Health at Every Size approaches.

Together, you can find the space to heal.

And reconnect with joy.