Six months ago, I shot a video.
It started with me walking through the door of a cafe I love, ordering a chocolate croissant and a latte, and sitting down to enjoy them.
Later, it showed me making burgers for lunch with my then-fiancé (now husband), and the two of us eating them together at our kitchen table, laughing and talking.
The point of these shots was to show how different life is once you give up dieting—how much freer you are to engage in fun, spontaneous meals and not have eating be a stressful experience. And also how much more space you have to focus on your relationships, both with other people and with yourself.
Because here's the thing: Diet culture is a life thief.
When you're spending all your free time planning meals that are allowed on the diet or "lifestyle change" du jour, exercising to try to change your size and shape, constantly cataloguing everything you believe is “wrong” with your body, and comparing yourself to everyone you see, you don’t have the mental space to devote to the things that really matter to you.
Diet culture steals your energy and your spark. It keeps you from living in line with your deepest values, and it robs you of your precious time on this planet.
My video—a promo for my intuitive eating course—was meant to illustrate how the philosophy and practice of intuitive eating helps people take back their lives, because I KNOW that it does.
But I also see an enormous amount of privilege in that video, and in my story.
I’m a white, cisgender, heterosexual, relatively young woman in a thin, able body, who can afford croissants and fancy lattes (and owns a business that can hire a production crew to film her consuming them).
My privilege doesn’t take away how terrible the experience of dieting and disordered eating were for me mentally and physically, because they absolutely were.
But during my recovery I didn’t also have to deal with systemic oppression based on things like the size of my body, the color of my skin, my sexual orientation, or my socioeconomic status.
There were many battles that I didn’t have to fight while I was recovering from my food issues—battles that might have made my journey to give up dieting unfold a lot differently.
And I know the way my life looks now is definitely NOT everyone’s experience, or what everyone would want for themselves.
I would never want to hold up my experience as universal or "aspirational."
There are already far too many people out there perpetuating the myth that intuitive eating leads to weight loss and thinness (it doesn't).
There are already far too many social media accounts making it look like intuitive eating is about always eating the exact thing you're craving in any given moment, in perfect hazy afternoon lighting. (It's not.)
So I decided to stop sharing that video, because what I really want to do is blow up the notion that this whole intuitive eating, non-dieting thing has to look a certain way.
And I'd love your help.
I want to see what YOUR version of life beyond dieting looks like.
Especially if it’s different than mine.
I want to know how YOU approach food, how you relax and have fun, what your passions are, and what brings you joy now that you've stopped trying to change the size and shape of your body or eat and exercise “perfectly."
If you’re still in the process of healing from your eating issues and rejecting diet culture, I want to see what you really WANT to be doing with your life, and where you’ve found moments of happiness and liberation along the way.
I want to see how you plan to use all the time, space, money, and mental energy that you once lost to dieting and body shame.
If you’re ready to join me in expanding the narrative of what life beyond dieting looks like, share your photos and videos on social media with the hashtag #LifeBeyondDieting starting today.
Let's show the world how people in all kinds of bodies, with all kinds of intersecting identities, live our lives when we're DONE with diet culture.