An anti-diet nutritionist rejects any diet/lifestyle program, product or messaging that promotes intentional weight/fat loss, creates rules or restrictions around food and exercise, and/or suggests you can’t be healthy unless you look a certain way. So how the heck did I go from being fully immersed in diet culture, to now being an anti-diet nutritionist?
From Eating Disorder to Anti-Diet
It may seem like an incredible jump. How does someone go from eating less than 500 calories a day, to 80/20 lifestyle, to FASTer Way to Fat Loss to…anti-diet?!
From age 11 to 36, I was fully immersed in diet culture with an intense desire to micromanage my food and lose weight. My weight loss methods changed over the years, but the intention was always the same.
And that really wears down and exhausts a person after awhile.
Eventually I hit rock bottom. My obsession with tracking my macros. The burnout of my hormones and destruction of my hunger cues from intermittent fasting was hurting my health. Hurting my marriage. And hurting my ability to fully live my life.
That’s when I found intuitive eating, the anti-diet movement, Health At Every Size, and prioritized my mental health. And slowly I began to heal my relationship with food, fitness and body image by living an intuitively diet-free life.
After 6 years of owning a private practice offering diet/lifestyle programs, I knew—ethically—that all had to go. So I lit a match and re-emerged as an anti-diet nutritionist. It’s by far been the most important and meaningful work of my life.
What Anti-Diet Means
Anti-Diet is a rejection of any diet/lifestyle program, product or messaging that promotes intentional weight/fat loss, creates rules or restrictions around food and exercise, and/or suggests you can’t be healthy unless you look a certain way.
Defining Actual Health
Nutrition and exercise matters. As a Nutritionist, I know and support this fact. But these behaviors are not the ultimate defining factor of our health the way diet culture presents it. Because socioeconomic factors like trauma, poverty, racism, quality healthcare, where you live, access to food and clean water, mental health and social connection also impact your health.
To achieve optimal health there are 6 facets of your wellness that need to be in balance. Your mental, emotional, social, environmental, spiritual and physical health each play an important role in how you feel. And simply “eating healthy” and exercising doesn’t balance them.
Diet Culture Hurts Our Health More
Diet/lifestyle programs put so much stress on what foods you can eat. How much you can eat. And when you can eat. That our bodies naturally rebel after so much restriction. So we end up gaining weight and feeling crappier about ourselves. Because the restrict-binge-restrict cycle is overwhelming and stressful. It’s an unnatural war between mind and body.
And when you let that much guilt and shame in your life, it’s no wonder we’re unhealthier than ever before. The weight of those emotions heavily impact our mental and emotional health.
Dieting can also become a restraint to social health if you’re fearful of what foods will be available for you to eat at parties or restaurants. It takes the spontaneity and enjoyment out of life.
Additionally, diet culture can negatively impact your environmental and spiritual health. Meal planning, measuring your food, tracking, body checking, eating differently than your family, skipping opportunities because it interferes with your rigid workout schedule hurts your relationships. Including your relationship with God. And yourself.
Physical Health Isn’t About Weight
Your physical health is based on factors like organ function, digestion, sleep patterns, hormone levels, bloodwork results, consistency of EKG results, joint pain, sight and hearing, energy levels…and hundreds of other factors! Your weight is irrelevant to what’s happening on the inside and how you physically feel.
Ditching Diet Culture to Gain Wellness
The good news is your body is incredible! If you listen, your body will tell you exactly when you’re hungry, when you’re full, when you’re satisfied and even what specific nutrients you need to thrive.
No guilt or debate on what food is healthier. Rejecting outside influence from diet culture. Stopping food rules or feelings of limitation. And no more “if” statements to limit the when, what, or how much. Just authority over your own body and control of your health.
Eating intuitively allows you to define what health means to you. The focus is no longer on your weight or body type, but rather how you feel. Trade the guilt and shame for self-trust and confidence. Become acutely aware of which of your 6 facets of wellness need tending. And achieve good, balanced health!
My Anti-Diet Approach
I firmly believe in sharing anti-diet messaging in a loving, compassionate and self-empowering way. Most, if not all, of us in the anti-diet community are recovering from eating disorders or disordered eating, so we deeply know how it feels to be trapped in diet culture.
I approach anti-diet work by identifying the harm dieting and diet culture causes. I openly question and challenge specific diets/lifestyle programs, products, weight loss methods, and the science they reference. But I make sure I never attack the dieter or person selling the diet. Because I used to BE the dieter!
Anti-diet work is also about promoting body positivity—which includes fat positivity and knowing anyone can achieve Health at Every Size. This means accepting and being inclusive of bodies of ALL sizes, shapes, ethnicities, sexual orientation, etc. No body should ever be shamed.
Anti-diet work recognizes that diet culture is rooted in fatphobia, white privilege, thin privilege and economic privilege. Many cultural foods are vilified as unhealthy. Simply because of prejudice from predominantly white scientists, dietitians, and healthcare professionals conducting studies on white patients.
Ultimately, the mission of an anti-diet nutritionist is to call out the harm of diet culture, help others heal from years of disordered eating, and work to equalize access to quality food and healthcare.
Final Thoughts from an Anti-Diet Nutritionist
As an anti-diet nutritionist, I just want you to genuinely FEEL your best. Be the authority of YOUR own body. Ditch diet culture so you can embrace your God-given intuition.
If you need help reclaiming your health after years of dieting, schedule a free 15-minute consult with me by clicking the button below.