If there’s one thing you already know, it’s that there is little I dislike more than Diet Culture. The Diet Industry uses shame and manipulation and outright lies to sell us short term results at best, and royally messes up our understanding of food and our bodies in the meantime. BUT I think because I talk so much about being anti-Diet Culture, people assume I believe that you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, diet. And that can be tough to see when you’re looking for coaching around a goal that might require it.
So, in case it wasn’t clear, I’m here to tell you that:
1. I fully, totally, wholly support you
2. I fully, totally, wholly support your goal
3. I still think dieting is a terrible way to get there.
Now, before we jump in, I think it’s important to get clear about how we’re using ‘diet’ here. I don’t mean diet by definition – as in “the kinds of foods you habitually eat”, and I don’t necessarily mean it in a “caloric deficit” sense, either. Diet, in the pop-culture sense, is about pre-packaged, restrictive protocols that require you to overhaul your life to fit a set of rules.
Think Paleo, Keto, Zone, Whole 30… different rules, same bullshit. These are the reasons I consider myself an anti-diet nutrition coach.
Because I am not anti-weight loss, I am anti-culture that demands the pursuit of weight loss. I am anti- pressurized weight loss or externally dictated weight loss. I am anti-harmful methods to weight loss. The weight loss itself? That’s not the problem here.
So, with all of that said – here is what being anti-diet is to me:
ANTI-DIET IS PRO-AUTONOMY
The Diet Industry exists because of Diet Culture, which, in a nutshell, is a set of beliefs that equates thinness with health and moral virtue – being “good” for participating and having a body that conforms to its (ever-moving) standards.
And here’s the thing: We are all products of diet culture.
We live in a world where we are bombarded with messages that our bodies are not enough: we see this on TV and in magazines and social media. We are constantly given subtle messages that if we buy-in, our lives would be better.
And so anti-diet culture is the support for you to buck that system and make your own rules. You get to decide what you want. And YOU get to determine how to get there. External shame and guilt not included.
ANTI-DIET IS PRO-HEALTH
There is little more harmful to your health and wellbeing than yo-yo-ing from one extreme way of eating to another. Our bodies, while generally adaptable understandable freakout and go a bit haywire under those conditions (all in the name of protecting us, I might add).
The Diet Industry sells products but ALSO sells you failure. And this is packaged as personal failure, not the failure of the plan, of course. Because the industry only survives if it doesn’t meet its/your “goals”…otherwise the money would fizzle out quick.
And with every failure? More of a ding in your metabolic health, on your hormones, on your self-esteem. Diet culture’s diet strategies are health at its absolute worst.
ANTI-DIET IS PRO-GETTING-TO-THOSE-GOALS-ONCE-AND-FOR-ALL
The truth is, we are so much less likely to rebel against goal-supportive habits when they exist outside of hard, restrictive rules and labels of morality. There is no such thing as “good” and “bad” – not with foods and not with humans, either. Real change is all about HOW we get you to your end goal; hopefully with principles like ease and sustainability leading the pack.
And so that’s what it’s all about: a nutrition system tailored to you – your likes, your needs and your life. What does your goal require? What protocols work best for your body? What strategies work best for your REAL life? The answer to getting to and staying at your goal is hiding right there.
ANTI-DIET IS ACTUALLY ANTI-DIET CULTURE
And that’s really it, isn’t it? It’s not about what you eat, or what you want to eat to support your goals, it’s about neither the rules nor the system to implement them being chosen for you or forced on you at the expense of your wellbeing.
I want all my clients to define, chase and nail their nutrition goals with full autonomy. You know your body, your needs and your humanity better than anyone or anything else. But doing that means bucking the system a little, leaving what you’re TOLD you should want at the door in exchange for what you really do.
So for the record – if losing weight (or gaining weight, or changing your body composition, or eating for more energy or better performance or whatever you want) is the goal, I support you. I just want you to be able to do that in a way that feels good, with your humanity and wellbeing at the forefront.