Today, May 6th, is International No Diet Day. I used to throw parties every year for it, but now I throw body positive parties all the time so I just have a quiet observation. I thought this was a great occasion to go through three ways that I like to reclaim my consciousness, self-esteem and eating habits from the scars of an early lifetime of dieting.
1. Participate in an act of food celebration.
There are lots of ways to celebrate food! You could have a treat! You could make a meal for friends. You could see one way in which you are not gentle with yourself about food in your brain and try to turn that off for a meal. You could stick a cupcake in your cleavage and get someone to eat it! Eat something awesome and take 5 times as long to eat it so you really taste and savor it. There are so many creative ways to eat in new and celebratory ways that reclaim food from the shame circle of dieting!
Photo by Kelsey Dickey, cupcakes by Morgan.
2. Make peace with “diet” foods you have abused or hated in the past.
I was very inspired by Morgan, the Cupcake Princess for Rebel Cupcake (I pay for her supplies and transport and she brings 100 gourmet mini cupcakes). The cupcake is generally related to the theme and sometimes how it gets there is very complex and always artistic. She got up on stage on Thursday for our “Riots Not Diets” theme to explain her cupcakes. She had been on seventeen diets in her life, including the grapefruit and coffee diet. She tricked herself into believing lemon made things taste better (like helping you forget diet coke is diet). She called oranges “dessert” food. But grapefruits can be great! Candied! Grilled with fennel! A million things! Meyer lemons are truly a fruit from the goddess!
So in order to reclaim her relationship with citrus, the cupcakes were blood orange with a meyer lemon grapefruit butter cream and some kind of citrus sugar drizzle. They were delicious.
Are there foods you only associate with dieting that you could find ways to rearrange your feelings towards in a fun and different ways?
3. Take concrete steps towards re-wiring your brain about food.
I notice that sometimes I feel really cloudy about certain food. Like, there’s so much you hear in the media about how certain foods are bad, but sometimes these foods aren’t always bad all the time. (Saturated fat, for example, I’ve heard isn’t all bad from all sources.) There’s just so much conflicting and complicated information about food. When you’ve had a lifetime of dieting, avoiding certain foods, being vigilant about packaging, etc, it can sometimes end up a jumble in your brain and make it really hard to make a basic decision like “what’s for lunch?”
Part of Health at Every Size is intuitive eating–becoming the expert about your own body and what foods work for you. Reclaiming “balanced” eating to actually just mean eating foods that, together, help you feel awesome in your body at its present shape and size.
An act of food celebration. Photo by Nicole Myles.
For example, I can’t eat kale, it just tears up my digestion. But kale is great for many other people. There are a lot of resources out there and nutritionists who can help you learn what works for your body. I’m starting to work with a holistic health and wellness coach (who is an explicitly body positive, fat positive nurse practitioner and a trusted friend) to learn what works for my body. I’m excited to see what develops and how it can help me feel less foggy about food and make choices that are more in line with my personal health at every size goals.
A No Diet Day exercise for you could be to think about what you want to learn about your body. Do some journaling about whether and how you want to learn about how eating greens makes you feel, what “balanced” eating looks like for you and how you can reclaim it from your diet shadow.
Happy International No Diet Day!
P.S. I wrote an article about the advice I give my friends when they set out to buy a new home on my other blog if you care to read. The One Thing You Can Do to Save Thousands of Dollars on Your Home Purchase
“Decadent” salads– I like this idea! I remember the first time I realized you could put brie and walnuts on salad. Mind. Blown.
#2 – yes! I remember being…this isn’t as brilliant as cupcake performance art, but I was I guess 17 when I realized that I needed to seriously rethink my (and my whole family’s really) attitude towards salad. Those poor leafy greens! So delicious when treated right and yet in my life til that point drowned in really bad fat-free dressing and emotional baggage. I decided I would never make a depressing salad again, and I’ve stuck with it. My salads kick ass with their general decadence and deliciousness and I am very proud of that.
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