Must I love my body to move toward Food Peace. No, you don’t.

Respect does not require body acceptance or body love.

It is ok if you are not in a place where you love everything or anything about your body.

Rather, what if you focused on treating your body as worthy of healing?

I believe in time acceptance will come and body love will happen as more people experience this same body respect.

I have been blogging the last 2 months on the first step toward Food Peace™, Respect. The next few months I will be blogging on step 2: Release.

Keep in mind, our Food Peace journey is not linear nor on a timeline. I see the journey more like layers that need tending to. The layers build upon each other yet our fat phobic culture will try to break the layers apart. The layers are at even more risk if you live in a body that is marginalized in today’s world. This part of our existence means that we need to be attending to all the layers, even those which we may feel we already “completed” to be sure our needs are met.

I hope you become more gentle with your need for patience and compassion on your journey.

When you are ready, it is time to move on to the second step: Release. If you are not ready, keep rereading my blog’s discussions on diet failings and size acceptance. Click here to re-read my blogs on Food Peace’s first layer, Respect or here to re-read the 6 keys to Food Peace.

Another note: If you still do not feel ready, you may not be at diet rock bottom and need more time to experience diets to know they don’t work for you. My blog will always be there when you are ready. It is ok to take a break and revisit later. Until then, I will wait patiently.

Sometimes Food Peace feels sad.

There’s something I want you to know: even if you are feeling unprepared or scared to give up dieting, you are still ready for Food Peace. I will be continuing to write on how to make these next steps and my hope is the writing provides some guardrails along the way.

A gentle heads up: as you move forward, be prepared for some emotional reactions.

First, you may feel different from most people. Dieting is normal eating these days. Connections are made over meal planning, fad diets, and boot camps. You may find giving up diets will make some relationships shift or feel strange.

I encourage you to surround yourself with as many non-dieting normal eaters as possible. If you can’t find them in real life, consider joining a support group whether live or virtually. Work with a counselor and dietitian to help you make these steps. Just be sure they ascribe to a Health at Every Size approach and trained to not focus on weight loss.

Eating according to your own body’s messages may feel odd, novel, or strange. It may sound exciting and scary. Soon after the excitement, most people I speak with grieve.

They grieve for all the years wasted on dieting and the seductive fantasy diets had in their life. Moving past this space can take time so I invite you to take all the time you need.

Notice the anger along with the sadness.

These feelings will be tough to sit with yet aid in your Food Peace journey. Notice them and welcome them in if you are ready.

I am here with you.

Can you relate: “I don’t want to diet but I don’t like my body.”

I have been writing a lot lately about the dangers of diets, how seductive and manipulative they can be, and how diets don’t work. I am wondering if I just heard you say, “But…..”

Maybe you are with me on how diets suck the life out of you and food has too much power, “but” you still want to weigh less. And diets are required for that.

If this describes your current way of being around food, I encourage you to experiment with putting this dieting desire on the back burner for the next 3 to 6 months.

Taking a break from diets and the pursuit of weight loss will help your body take a break from this harmful yo yo dieting. Ending the diet chaos and weight cycling, even temporarily, will be a great investment in your mental and physical health. Stepping away from weight loss pursuits will give you the opportunity to feel less craving to binge or “emotionally” eat.

Remember that hopeful clear feeling a diet brings? This seductive fantasy is how the vicious cycle BEGINS not ends.

Do you feel chaos around food when not dieting?

Don’t blame yourself or the food, blame the dieting and the diet industry.

Blame the pursuit of weight loss.

You will find bingeing has less of a hold only after you stop dieting for a period of time.

Saying goodbye, at least for now, to diets will help you begin this journey toward Food Peace™.

Diets have violently assaulted you for too long. They are disrespectful to your body.

Eating, without dieting, is the Food Peace step of Respect. It is respecting your biology, physiology, and needs. You are not to blame for the diet’s disrespectful treatment of your body and you can be a part of turning things around.

This next steps are tough and oh, so worth it.

There’s a reason why you feel chaotic around food.

How did the diet industry aka the weight cycling industry get so powerful?

Most products that do not provide long-term results fail to make it in the market place. Imagine if you had a car that drove fine yet after 12 weeks stopped working even after trying to repair it. Would you blame yourself, the driver? No, you’d go back to where you purchased the car and demand a refund.

What if you bought a microwave that after just a few months stopped heating food? You would probably contact the warranty and they would send you a new one. What if the next one did the same? I have a feeling you wouldn’t blame yourself you would never buy that brand of microwaves again.

The company making these microwaves would eventually lose business for a poorly made product. They might even go out of business.

The market would demand them to fix it or face the consequences of losing customers.

The diet industry has eluded this marketing regulator. Instead, the diet industry has designed diet pills, meal replacements, plans, calorie counts, gym memberships, etc that fail for the majority long term.

Instead of failing in the marketplace, the diet industry has found a way to blame the product’s failure on the user rather than the product. Rather genius yet this point of blame is the foundation of your negative relationship with food.

Why did this happen? How is the diet industry getting away with this?

This certainly would be a glorious area of study and I have a feeling their magical marketing powers are rooted in evil like white supremacy, patriarchy, misogyny, and other oppressive systems.

Makes sense to me that our relationship with food can feel so chaotic and draining: we blame ourselves for each fumble yet gaslighted to believe we just aren’t smart enough.

We need to call this out for what it is.

And it is time for you to reclaim your power.

Am I letting myself go?

Many people ask this question as they consider moving away from diets. Certainly, the act of dieting appears to be a way to take care of one’s health. It also is considered an active way to improve health.

Considering the diet research I wrote about last week, we know dieting predicts weight gain AND dieting doesn’t work to keep weight off long term.

So if you stop dieting, are you letting yourself go?

No.

You are letting yourself be.

Choosing to not diet is an active process you will have to think about everyday for a while. It will not come easy (although some of shown me steps to help it become doable). Thinking about this process as “giving up” is using black and white diet culture thinking making it appear all or nothing.

These are cognitive distortions, often discussed in psychotherapy. Most in our world is grey rather basic black or white. There are variations, options and alternatives instead of just polar opposite.

Choosing to not diet means choosing to eat to promote health, energy, and eating disorder recovery.

Choosing to not diet means not buying into the simple notion that weight predicts health. Certainly research has suggested for quite some time now that one can be fat and fit (Diabetes Care. Nov 2009).

What if you were never told your body was flawed?

What if you were never taught how to diet?

What if you were encouraged to stay connected to your body?

What if you were taught how to trust your hunger, satiety, and fullness cues?

What if you were taught movement needs to feel good in order to be healthy?

Respect is the first key to Food Peace™ because you were taught to disrespect your body as self-care. This teaching taught you to diet, punish with exercise, and lead to chaotic ways to relating to food. Body respect will help you heal this false truth foundation and help you change directions like never before. Improving your health and healing your relationship with food requires this Body Respect.

It requires you to abandon the notion that lowering your weight is the solution rather what’s keeping you stuck.

How is National Dieting Month going? What do you need to feel brave enough to opt out of diet culture today? Jump to IG (where I will place this post too) and let us know.

Warmly,