The only way to end Eating Disorders is to end the WAR on “obesity”

 

While reading my Instagram feed during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I have been inspired by the recovery conversations. I have seen memes, blog posts, and heard podcasts empowering us to advocate for the changes in how we view eating disorders.

Eating disorders don’t fit the stereotypes. I admit I used to recognize eating disorders in just thin white teen girls. Don’t make the same mistake!

Eating disorders come in all sizes, all genders and gender identities, all ethnicities, and all backgrounds. You cannot tell if someone is experiencing an eating disorder by looking at someone.

Never.

I met with my first client affected by an eating disorder in 1999. Since then modern science has been able to connect so many dots to allow us to better understand eating disorders.

Here’s what we know:

  • there is a genetic link to eating disorders. Just like someone with a genetic predisposition for alcoholism avoiding alcohol, those with certain genetic traits should avoid certain behaviors to help avoid setting themselves up for an eating disorder. Does this guarantee no eating disorder will occur?? No and it does set up a protection from it and brings down the likelihood.
  • Which behaviors should be avoided? Dieting, pursuing weight loss, and/or manipulating food to promote weight outcomes. Diets have been found in research to predict eating disorder behaviors.
  • While not everyone who diets gets an eating disorder, diets set a person up for metabolic long term consequences like high cholesterol, high insulin, high blood sugar, and high triglycerides. These consequences are connected to weight cycling, that yo-yo effect from going on a diet and losing weight, then regaining the weight, then dieting again.
  • Most people experience some sort of disordered eating because of diet culture. We are taught at an early age that fat is bad and we should eat to avoid it all costs.

I like to imagine a world free of eating disorders and disordered eating. Imagine everyone experiencing this earth free from food and weight worries? Imagine what we would do if we didn’t have to worry about our weight, or what we would eat and not each day?

Imagine how much shit we would get done.

While we are dreaming, let’s work back a bit toward reality. What would be different in this eating disorder free world? What could we bring from this dream land to make it more like our current world?

I know what would be different.

We would no longer be fighting obesity.

We would not consider certain bodies “an epidemic” with billions emptied into eradicating these bad bodies.

We would no longer make judgements based on sight to predict health, intelligence, and worth.

Tap. Tap.

I need to check into your dream world for a second. Let’s be sure we are on the same page.

Be sure to note this dream world is NOT full of skinny people.

It is not full of people with BMIs of less than 25. or 30. or 40.

This lower BMI world is still FULL of eating disorder. More disordered than currently.

No longer fighting obesity to end eating disorders doesn’t mean no more fat people.

No longer fighting obesity means we catch up with science and decency:

No longer fighting obesity means we stop fighting bodies.

No longer fighting obesity means we honor size diversity.

No longer fighting obesity means appreciating health comes in every size.

And every size should exist. Every size should have access to care, education, employment.

Every size is celebrated for the soul it carries.

We will only find solutions to end eating disorders and disordered eating if we end fat phobia.

Why?

  • Making size a moot point will eliminate the need for diets. Eliminating the need and industry for diets will prevent those with the genetic predisposition for an eating disorder from as easy access to the pathology.
  • Recovering from an eating disorder means abstaining from diets. How can one abstain from diets when culture dictates that dieting is normal eating or pursuing weight loss is healthy? With diets no longer in style, healthy eating will include eating for self-care, variety, and satiety.
  • Fear of gaining weight is a significant part of the eating disorder experience. Unfortunately, our world normalizes and justifies this fear because of health misinformation, confirmation bias, and fat phobia. Eliminating this cultural fear of fat will help those recovering to do the same. Honestly, I cannot imagine anyone able to recover from this part of their eating disorder until this is eradicated.
  • Many people have a body who’s preferred weight is higher than the cultural norm. Try recovering from an eating disorder yet your eating disorder team says your weight is too high? Huh?? Yes it happens and way too often. Fat phobia within the eating disorder field is abundant and this prevents those needing to be at a higher weight from full recovery.

There are more reasons and time is short while I type this. I want to push publish before I pick up my kids from school 🙂 So I am leaving this incomplete until I can add more. Maybe you want to add more too? Shoot me an email (julie@juliedillonrd.com) and I will add yours, crediting your thoughts. ✌🏾

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.​

Is my healthy eating a problem? {Ep 105 with Robyn Goldberg}


What happens when the “simple” diet you were on starts to feel super complicated? Have you started struggling with a food plan that you were told would be easy? Listen now as my guest for this week, Robyn Goldberg, and I talk about how to manage this part of the Food Peace™ journey.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my online course, Your Step-by-Step Guide to PCOS and Food Peace™. Sign up now to get on the waitlist for the next enrollment period, and receive my FREE road map: Your First 3 Steps Toward Food Peace™ with PCOS. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how

Product links may be affiliate. If you click and make a purchase, there’s no extra cost to you.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • At the end of the day, diets are MESSY! Robyn Goldberg joins us to break down this week’s letter.
  • Pregnancy can make our food rules escalate… our fitness regime might increase, and we might start getting super restrictive with our food choices.
  • Eating disorders are the silent dilemma in sports injuries!
  • Carbohydrates are our #1 fuel! Cutting them out takes a HUGE toll on our bodies. We need to re-educate ourselves on nutritional needs in way that aren’t influenced by diet culture, and learn how to nourish ourselves both through food and by other means.
  • Find a nutritionist trained in eating disorders to guide you through this relearning process. You need the support! Our brains are inundated with diet culture and disordered ideas, and we need resources and support to help you on this journey. No one should have to recover on their own!
  • Healthy eating includes pleasure, connection, and feeling at home in your own skin no matter your size.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.

I’m tired of fighting the world to not diet. I’m tempted to try again.

Are you feeling tempted by all of the New Years diet talk? Do you know diets don’t work, and yet find yourself thinking that maybe this time it’ll be different? Listen now for my reminders on why intuitive eating and Food Peace™ are the way to true empowerment and health.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my online course, Your Step-by-Step Guide to PCOS and Food Peace™. Sign up now to get on the waitlist for the next enrollment period in January 2018, and receive my FREE road map: Your First 3 Steps Toward Food Peace™ with PCOS. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

Product links may be affiliate. If you click and make a purchase, there’s no extra cost to you.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • We know that diets don’t work long-term… and yet, the New Year brings the tempting diet message to the forefront, especially for those of us in larger bodies that face weight stigma.
  • What is intuitive eating? How can it help us to find Food Peace™?
  • The more we try to restrict, the more we feel chaotic around food, and the more likely we are to experience weight gain and eating disorders.
  • This process of Food Peace™ is SO much harder if we live in a larger body!
  • Diets are this big, seductive fantasy designed to keep us stuck in ideas around what makes us worthy.
  • Let’s find a way to make our bodies acceptable right NOW.
  • Diets also hold this idea of hope for connection and acceptance, which is part of what makes it so tempting.
  • I believe in body liberation and body autonomy… you can do what you want with your body! But I still encourage you, when you feel the pull of dieting, to consider what triggered that thought process. Investigate it, and if the root of it is yearning to connect with others, consider that connection is what you really want, not weight loss.
  • Working towards radical self-acceptance can feel isolating! Remember that part of the seduction of dieting is hope for connection and acceptance to and from others.
  • People in larger bodies are often praised for seeking out weight loss. It can help you feel more accepted and create a mode of connection… but that doesn’t mean it’s the right way forward.
  • It’s possible that diets are trying to help you meet unmet needs of acceptance and connections. Diving deeper into the WHY is so important!!
  • Shame is likely a part of this as well, so investigate that and unwrap the true motivations behind this urge.
  • Ask yourself, what are you really yearning for?

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series.