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Today is International No Diet Day, INDD. I decided it would be fitting to share all the things I’ve gained from quitting dieting.
Are you shocked? I’m not. I have gained some weight since I quit diet culture. I don’t know how much (and I don’t care). I don’t own a scale anymore and I wear the clothes I am comfortable in. Gaining weight can be a normal, healthy reaction to stepping off the creaky, old diet culture carnival ride. The fact of the matter is, I respect what my body is doing to heal. I have emotional wounds from disordered eating and self-hate for so many years. I have been working on learning intuitive eating and listening to my body’s hunger and thirst cues. I recently took control of my mental health and started medication. It’s normal to gain weight on meds. Gaining, losing, maintaining weight has become neutral in my life. Through stages of life your body is going change size.
2. Space for other things in my life
Quitting dieting and obsessing over calories and food has given me space for other things. Food and worry about my body size used to take up so much of my thoughts and my time. I was emotional any time I ate, I was worried about purchasing the right food, the correct ingredients for my diet of the month. These days, I’m gardening more. Walking my dog more. I enjoy cooking for my family again.
3. Peaceful mealtimes
I used to stress so deeply about what my children ate at meals. It was a projection of my owndifficulties in my relationship with food. We got to a point where my sons would wake up early so they could eat what they wanted without my stress and restriction. About 3 months ago we implemented family-style meals and a snack basket. I choose what to offer them for meals (usually the main dish and two sides) and they choose how much of it they want to eat. My own mealtimes are free of anxiety and stress. Food is energy, fuel, and fulfills my needs.
My mental health is better. When I stopped focusing on body size solely as the measurement of my wellbeing, I started prioritizing myself in a whole person way. ‘Healthy’ defined by diet culture means crash diets, obsessive exercise, and shrinking yourself to appease an aesthetic for other people. Since quitting diet culture, I have begun to put my wellbeing ahead of it all. I’ve gotten medical help for things I was ignoring, I walk more, play outside with my children more. I eat what I’m craving – sometimes its chocolate and sometimes its a big fat salad. I see my body as the keeper of my magic, as a tool for my life purpose and not as an ornament for other people’s viewing.
5. Body Liberation
At the end of the day, you don’t have to LOVE your body, but learning to respect and be kind to it is what matters. Body liberation has afforded me the peace of being ok with the body my soul is living, no matter the size of my butt and thighs. I smile when I see pictures of myself. I dress in clothes I love. I’m not scared of my belly. I purchased a two-piece swimsuit and I am excited to wear it this summer at the pool and on our cruise. We hike as a family because I’m no longer scared that I’m too fat. I listen to what my body needs, and meet those needs as best I can.
How can you also experience this? I suggest this book list I’ve created.
The Podcast “Food Psych” has been a large contributor to my mindset and wellbeing as well. Finding a therapist and pursuing treatment for your mental health can have a large impact on your relationship with food.
Have you considered quitting diet culture?
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