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.

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.