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 ūüôā 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. ‚úĆ🏾

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.

This one thing goes in every school lunch.

Right about when my kids start “sleeping in” until 8, it is time to send them back to school. I already miss the lazy days of summer!

This may surprise you: I too dread packing school lunches. 

Just ask my partner, Kevin, because he hears my complaints every night around 10 pm. I am tired and can’t fathom making another decision as I pack them each night. I could say I pack them with love (it is still there) yet it doesn’t look like that while I am packing them!

I am raising my kids to know no good or bad food yet school has quickly taught them the rules. We are managing somewhat to navigate this disordered eating world with open communication yet I still like to stay one step ahead.

My youngest started pre-k this year with a new-to-us teacher. Since I didn’t know her or her assistants yet, I decided to pack this note in his lunch box:

 

I appreciate child care providers have so much love in their hearts and only want our kids to be safe and healthy. Unfortunately, our fat phobic world and normalized disordered eating lead us to this common preschool lunch talk:

  • “Eat your growing foods first.”
  • “Make it a happy plate.”
  • “You didn’t eat your lunch so no dessert.”

I want to avoid teaching diets with every cell of my being. 

I know I can’t fully avoid them yet will face them as they come. I hope this lunch box note, from The Feeding Doctor Katja Rowell’s work found¬†here, prevents some of the diet talk directed toward my youngest child. I have used this card before and have found them helpful.

Have you tried to include these cards? What has been the reaction?

So far my wishes have been respected. And, I am poised to intervene when not.

This week’s Love Food Podcast episode features a letter from someone struggling with the urge to binge. I invited Isabel Foxen Duke to help me answer the letter and we discussed how much dieting and fat phobia contribute to binge eating behavior.

Those very common preschool lunch directions come from internalized fat phobia. I hope the notecard fights back.

Have you listened to this week’s episode? It is a great one!¬†Catch up here.

As you transition to fall schedules and events, I hope it is energizing and engaging for you.

Have a great week friend.

Warmly,

Julie

p.s. I am SOOOOO stinking excited to share what I have been working on for the last 6 months. I will be finally spilling the beans in the next month and I am about to BURST. Details soon…..

I have always felt ashamed of my body. {with Antonia Hartley}

Do you feel shame around your relationship with food and your body? Are you worried about disclosing your eating behavior to a current partner or loved one? Do you find yourself thinking about food all the time? Listen now for some concrete solutions to overcome these barriers to food peace.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by Pursuing Private Practice Masterclass.

Ready to start doing things your way and kiss the corporate world goodbye?

Details here and remember the super secret discount code BOSS for 10% off.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • Shame is so common in the eating disorder experience!!
  • Antonia Hartley joins to help tackle this letter writer’s struggles…
  • Eating disorders make us feel so alone and isolated, but there are many people dealing with the same issues.
  • Insight and awareness are vital to finding recovery and healing, but it can only take you so far. It’s important to work with a dietitian or other eating disorder professional to find lasting recovery and make changes!
  • Finding a Health at Every Size dietitian to work with is SUPER important to make sure you’re in a safe environment to find help.
  • If you’re thinking about food all day long, definitely inquire if you’re eating enough! Sometimes restriction is physical or mental, and adequacy with food is very important!! If you’re bingeing, it’s likely that you’re NOT getting enough, no matter what size you are.
  • It’s NOT as simple as calories in, calories out. Our metabolism is MUCH more complicated than that!
  • Sometimes there is fear in letting go of our eating disorder because there is a small part of us that feels these diet rules are serving us in some way… but they’re not!
  • “Honesty is the antithesis of eating disorder behavior.” – Antonia
  • Relationships are SO important in eating disorder recovery! Be honest with those you love, and set the boundaries around¬†triggers.
  • Eating behaviors can be a messenger for our emotions or our needs… listen to them!
  • If you’re in a situation where someone in your life is consistently triggering you, don’t be afraid to bring¬†them into a therapy session with you to parse out exactly what you need from them as a loved one. Remember, we live in diet-culture world, so give your loved ones some time to adjust to this new way of life!
  • Be aware of your own internalized fat stigma when exploring recovery.
  • You weren’t born with food rules!! These are LEARNED behaviors and “truths.”
  • Checking back in with your treatment team post-recovery is SO important! Remember, we live in a world that hasn’t recovered from its own eating disorder, so having a supportive community around you is essential for maintaining recovery.
  • On feminism: Feminism is for everyone, not just women! Ending sexism is good for everyone.
  • Ending weight stigma helps everyone!

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.

My mom put me on my first diet.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with food? Are your food issues related to your fear of gaining weight? Have you been struggling for some time, going back and forth between recovery and eating disorder behaviors due to the fear around what food peace truly means? Does food insecurity impact your relationship with food? Listen now for some tips on how to overcome these challenges.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by Pursuing Private Practice Masterclass.

Ready to start doing things your way and kiss the corporate world goodbye?

Details here and remember the super secret discount code BOSS for 10% off.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • Meret Boxler, host of the Life. Unrestricted podcast, shares her letter about her food peace journey and struggles!
  • None of this is your fault!!
  • Sometimes our family dynamics produce a situation in which the children have to become their own parents to survive. This can impact our relationship with food very deeply.
  • Ellyn Satter’s food hierarchy of needs versus the Maslow hierarchy of needs: our foundational needs must be met in order to build towards needs higher up the pyramid. If we’re struggling with our foundational needs, we won’t be motivated to reach for our more nuanced needs.
    • For example, food security is the foundation of the food hierarchy of needs. If someone wants to work towards wellness, food security must be established first!
    • Some examples of food insecurity: poverty, growing up with caregivers who were always on diets or policing food etc. These environments prevent a foundational sense of food security from forming.
  • Wellness is NOT the most important thing in our relationship with food… it’s food security. Permission around foods (especially fun foods!) can be part of the big picture of healing from a past of food insecurity.
  • Feeling our feelings is very important in this food peace process!!
  • If we work at it, our needs¬†around permission and food security will eventually be met. Be patient! You are worth this work!!
  • Food peace is your birthright.
  • Weight stigma is at the core of a lot of our food peace struggles. It is OPPRESSIVE! We need to stop the discrimination based on weight, rather than push people to change their bodies.
  • We need to end weight-based bullying!!
  • The media tells us which body sizes are acceptable. Representation of ALL kinds of bodies is so important.
  • Weight-based stigma in the eating disorder community is a big problem! You can’t tell by a person’s appearance if they’re struggling with an eating disorder.
  • Weight is NOT indicative of health! All bodies of all sizes and abilities can strive for health-promoting behaviors, including body acceptance and intuitive eating.
  • Self-compassion is key!!

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.