You’ve been lied to and here’s the proof.

Content warning: Use of those crappy “O” words often used to define health and disparage because citing research.

Moving away from diets can feel like a salmon swimming against the stream.

Keep in mind: even though the struggle is tough for the fish, they are doing what is innate and true. Opting out of diet culture in the long term will bring you health and peace through your own innate wisdom.

We have been lied to. Researchers know that diets don’t work for most people.

A 2007 study reviewed outcomes from long-term calorie controlled diet plans to determine if they were a successful way to treat “obesity.” The researchers found 1/3 to 2/3 of dieters regained more weight than was lost. Further, dieters did not experience any significant health improvements (Mann et al 2007 and Bacon and Aphamor 2011).

Several twin studies have considered whether genetics has a part in weight gain from dieting. A 2012 twin study (K H Pietiläinen, S E Saarni, J Kaprio and A Rissanen 2012), found a dieting twin to be 2 to 3 times more likely to be “overweight” than his non-dieting twin. Even more, they found the more one dieted they more they weighed!

Did you know dieting predicts weight gain?

Dr. Deb Burgard, eating disorder psychologist, has said, “Instead of the weight loss industry we need to call it the Weigh Cycling Industry.”

Weight cycling is another term for yo-yo dieting. Have you tried a diet, lost weight, and then regained in all back?

Did you regain more?

After a break, did you start another diet then lose weight?

But, after a period of time, did you notice the weight crept back on?

If you identify with this process you have weight cycled. Your weight going up then down then up again leads to poorer health. Research has found weight cycling to promote high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high insulin levels, and high blood sugar. Dieting has been associated with food obsessing, binge eating, and eating outside of hunger (Haines & Neumark-Sztainer 2006).

Instead of helping you keep weight off, improve your health, and help you feel better about yourself dieting contributes to your binge eating and weight gain. Moving away from dieting will move you closer to Food Peace™.

There is no research to date that shows any diet keeps weight off for more than one year. Most research articles on health benefits of weight loss stop the study at one year or earlier.

When you’ve dieted, did you find you could do the diet plan for 12 weeks or 6 months? Then, soon thereafter, you “fell off the wagon”? Research on weight loss show success and health improvements at 3 and 6 months too.

Keep this in mind: you are not the exception rather the rule.

Weight loss doesn’t work for most people long-term. Research supports this.

You didn’t fail, the diet did.

Weight loss is a seductive fantasy…here’s why.

Last week I wrote about body respect beginning with no longer pursuing weight loss. You may recall I mentioned weight loss is a seductive fantasy.

If you’ve been told your whole life your body is unacceptable, I appreciate this first step away from weight loss will feel like a deal breaker. I beg you to hold on and hear me out.

One thing is for sure: what you’ve learned so far about food and weight has brought you to this chaotic relationship with food. If you keep reading and apply this information to where you are now, I think it will empower you differently. Plus, you always have the diets to go back to in case you no longer want to pursue Food Peace (although I am hoping you don’t choose this!).

I think the pursuit of weight loss is a seductive fantasy. The weight loss quest gives you hope. Prior to the official start of every diet or food change, you make your food lists and your mind may feel clearer. The idea of starting a diet may even feel safer than moments before. I believe the start of a diet engages your mind in a daydream filled with hope, happiness, acceptance, and peace.

This is the fantasy.

This is the reality: we all are not meant to be thin or with a body mass index of 20 to 25. Your body prefers you to weigh a certain amount, your set point. From genetics and past behaviors, your body will be inclined to experience certain behaviors in order to get back to that set point after gaining or losing weight.

Do you experience cravings, binging, or food obsessions?

These behaviors occur after the body has been without consistent nutrition and not from you failing another diet.

It is you being a successful human.

If your weight is higher than some recommend, I bet you have focused on weight loss most of your life. What if the diet is promoting your weight gain, food obsession, and poor health?

What if the diet was to blame not you?

I hope this note helps you hold off on starting a diet in 2019. More on why soon.

Warmly,

Julie

6 Keys to Food Peace™

“With every diet ending, I failed three times: the diet didn’t work, I’m a quitter, and I’m still fat.” ~A quote from a woman at diet rock bottom

Have you been dieting for as long as you can remember and hate your body?

Do you feel addicted to food?

Do you binge or emotionally eat and tried everything to just eat normally?

This is diet rock bottom and there is hope. While most nutrition books teach you quick fix diets, Food Peace™ takes you on a journey.

This post serves to give you the basic framework to heal your relationship with food and eat normally without binging and without dieting. I write this post after 20 years working with people at diet rock bottom looking for another way to relate to food. They didn’t want to hate their body anymore and they knew diets weren’t working. After witnessing what it took for them to take these brave steps, I have gathered 6 key strategies to make the Food Peace journey.

This post is designed to read from beginning to end because the 6 keys build upon each other. The keys are also designed to be revisited when your Food Peace journey becomes bumpy and challenging. It can help you gather more healing tools by reading the parts you need in the moment.

Respect

If diets work why do you go on them every year? Dieting is a 61 billion dollar industry and an estimated 45 million Americans diet each year. The public is taught to need diets. Health professionals are taught dieting is a sign of self-care. You trust the diet industry with your life, but are you actually healthier? No.

Food Peace shows you how dieting is behind the weight changes, bingeing, and negative body image. Instead of improving your health, diets fuel your unhealthy relationship with food and promote body hate.

But if you have dieted your whole life, how do you eat? Every time you try to stop dieting, the binges begin. Eating without a diet plan feels scary and out of control.

Food Peace begins your journey by teaching you the first key, how to Respect your body. The teaching is more like unlearning the oppressive rules that dictate how you eat and move. You may not accept your body the way it looks today, and learning how to respect it by unlearning can help you step away from diets with less chaos.

Acknowledge your diet history. How many times have you tried to lose weight? You have pushed, tortured, cut out, abstained, and hungered long enough. Respect as it relates to Food Peace acknowledges that diets have only harmed and failed to produce long term results. You weren’t weak or lacking character. Diets didn’t work because you are a successful human that through evolution have been wired to survive famine.

You don’t have to love this part. Or love your body. You don’t even have to accept your eating or body.

Rather, let’s gently acknowledge that the tools you were given were flawed. They weren’t the right tools. They will never work.

Diets didn’t work for you because they don’t work.

Try with compassion to opt out of diet culture and the pursuit of weight loss. Keep in mind you don’t need to be fixed and it is ok if you don’t believe me yet on this.

Explore more within this first key, Respect:

It’s not body love or acceptance first, it’s respect.

Weight loss is a seductive fantasy, here’s why.

You’ve been lied to and here’s the proof.

Am I letting myself go?

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

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

Sometimes Food Peace feels sad.

 

Release

I appreciate the shame you are holding onto because diets didn’t work for you. It’s not your fault since diets are a shitty tool. You’ve been manipulated by big oppressive systems and massive rich corporations to believe you are to blame.

Because you’ve been successfully manipulated, you are wearing a very heavy shame cloak. I want you to identify shame’s role in your complicated relationship with food. Bingeing and food addiction experiences connect to diet culture’s manufactured shame and lack of permission for pleasure.

You haven’t fallen off the wagon all these years. It is time to burn that wagon down.

Connecting with who is to blame usually brings on a flood of anger. Ouch it can hurt and be uncomfortable especially if you don’t have permission to feel anger. I encourage you to experiment with permission for anger.

This pissed off rage makes up the second key Release. It is a vital part of fueling the Food Peace journey. It gives you the direction and places the blame where it belongs: off you and onto cultural systems like white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. And wow, is that heavy.

Food Peace in this place may feel scary and exhilarating. It won’t feel like you are connecting with hunger or fullness because this Release takes up so much space. You may literally feel as though you are full of anger that hunger and fullness cues will be miles away.

Many wonder how long they will be in the space of their Food Peace journey. Many long to connect with their body in a more neutral way and the anger is draining. There is no way to answer this because it is so individual. It depends on your lived experiences, your support systems, and the systems you must navigate to live your life. I hope you give yourself compassion while navigating this part of the journey.

Repair

Diet culture has been unkind and violated your human rights. I encourage you to experiment with giving yourself permission to be where you are in your relationship with food. This permission is a major part of repairing your relationship with food.

There is healing to be found in permission.

Altering your view of eating behaviors happens within the third Food Peace key, Repair. Harvest compassion, mindfulness, and nonjudgmental curiosity to your thoughts about food.

What does this look like?

When feeling rebellion while connecting to diet culture’s trauma, notice the craving to rebel and give permission (even if the permission feels experimental or awkward) to eat. If or when that permission twists into shame, notice this. Call it out. Remind yourself that shame is from conditioning and doesn’t belong to you.

Does this all sound too tough? Too much? That’s ok too. Permission belongs in that space too.

Repair work tends to allow for slowing down so you can connect with what your body is saying and needing and practicing a nonjudgemental response. This key is NOT about eating only when hungry and stopping only when full. That is not part of permission rather a perverse twist making Food Peace into a diet.

Healing is the most important part of Food Peace and vital for the Repairing.

Rewire

As you start to heal while repairing, you will gather the diet culture artifacts: food and body rules. The Rewire key helps you unlearn those rules and decide what you would like to believe instead. Going rule by rule, you build an arsenal, rooted in permission, of compassionate nonjudgemental responses to ingrained diet culture rules. Over time, this takes you from thinking about food nonstop to mostly when you need to eat normally, when you want to, and to promote health. I mention the word “mostly” here because no one is a robot and only eats when hungry and stops when full. Further, depending on your access to food and/or levels of marginalization this can change.

Do you have certain foods you always binge on? Do you have certain foods you can never keep in the home because they are too tempting? This Rewire space will help you have comfort and ease around these foods again.

For many people I work with individually, this is the place where studying Intuitive Eating often begins.

Reconnection

How do you know your body is hungry? How do you know when your body is satisfied? Are you meal hungry or snack hungry? Or panic hungry?

These are questions that can only be answered once respect, release, repair and rewire work have been done. Reconnection begins the process of relearning you how to rely on your body’s own ability to know how much to eat and what to eat. This step is simple yet not easy (a quote I first heard from Evelyn Tribole). Looping back to the other keys allows Reconnection to take place using hunger, fullness, and satisfaction guides.

Recommend (Advocacy)

Advocating for others not home in their own skin allows you to add power to your Food Peace journey. After learning these keys, you will want to spread the Food Peace message. This helps others not go down the path of diet rock bottom and helps you with your eating recovery. Picture a community circle allowing connections to the keys and permission. Let’s join together to allow more people to take this journey toward healing and make the world a better place for more bodies.

 

I have hope there are possibilities for you to heal your relationship with food and your body. You can learn to eat without dieting and hating yourself.

You can experience Food Peace.

It’s not body love or acceptance that’s first, it’s respect.

“If diets work for you, why do you keep going on them?”

If you are considering making 2019 diet free, let’s gather important intel to help you get through January aka The National Dieting Holiday.

When was your first diet?

Do you remember how you got the idea to start eating less, focus on weight loss, and exercise more?

Did someone say your thighs were getting too big?

Were you teased on the playground as the fat classmate?

Did the pediatrician tell your parents to stop giving you seconds?

When were you taught how to hate your body?

How long have you considered your body unacceptable?

Appreciating how body hate and rigid dieting started will help you begin your journey toward Food Peace. This first part of your healing will feel emotional and challenging yet I encourage you to stick with it. I see how the diet industry and health care providers have pushed you to lose weight and with each diet ending you felt (and feel) like a failure. This cycle is not your fault because you were given faulty tools. And these tools hurt your body and the way you relate to it.

In order to heal, take a step back and acknowledge these faulty tools. Consider how they were not respecting your body. Instead of dieting in 2019, I encourage you turn your focus to body respect.

What is body respect?

Popular social media memes tell you to love and accept your body. Most people I work with say they cannot love their body because it is unacceptable. Caring health care providers, parents, and friends have ingrained the idea that fat is unhealthy. Schoolyard bullies taught you your body deserves to be mocked and ugly. Insurance companies and employers blame you for increasing health care costs.

Every aspect of your existence has taught you your body needs to be fixed. The message has been clear: the only way to be acceptable is to eat less and exercise more. And you have spent your whole life trying and failing and trying and failing.

Body respect challenges these messages.

Your body is not unacceptable, ugly, or unworthy. Your body does not need to be fixed.

The messages are wrong not your body. It is time for you to know the truth about how you’ve learned to take care of your body and how cultural messages have harmed your relationship with food. Learning this key tool of Respect sets the foundation for your journey toward Food Peace. It provides the reasons why diets don’t work, how they contribute to your diet rock bottom, and how to start healing.

The Food Peace journey begins with its first steps: deciding to stop pursuing weight loss.

Because weight loss is a seductive fantasy.

I will share more on this seduction next week.

Warmly,

Julie

Before you pick out your resolution, read this.

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 w
eight 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 2019 without dieting. Instead of categorizing foods into eat this not that, resolve to live your life. What will one year without dieting look like?

I want to help you in 2019 along your Food Peace journey. I have been teasing apart the ideas that make up the Food Peace method for a book. I will be sharing the ideas and concepts over the next year while building the manuscript.

Any feedback you provide along the way would be appreciated. Your support has always meant a lot to me and so has your feedback.

More soon!