If you’re anything like, oh, everyone I know, you want to feel comfortable in your own skin.
You want to feel safe, at peace, connected, and loved.
You want to experience joy and pleasure.
You want to feel free—both in your relationship with food and your body, and in your life as a whole.
We ALL want those things, and in my view they’re fundamental human needs.
They’re basic human rights.
They’re what we all desire and deserve.
As we move through life, we all do our best to get those needs met, with whatever tools we have available.
The problem is that our culture has dealt us some really crappy tools.
Our culture is diet culture, a society that equates thinness to wellness and moral virtue, making you feel like the only way to achieve those things is to shrink your body (even though that’s an out-and-out LIE).
Diet culture convinces us that those universal human needs we all have—to be comfortable in our own skin, to be safe, to be loved—are only within our reach if our bodies look like a certain “ideal” that’s literally impossible to achieve.
Diet culture also ruins our relationships with food by demonizing certain ways of eating while elevating others, which makes you feel ashamed and judged for any desires that fall outside diet culture’s definition of the “right” way to eat.
(And by the way, that definition changes from moment to moment, depending on who you ask.)
Diet culture is a life thief, stealing your ability to meet your essential needs.
Stealing your basic human rights.
Even when we know the truth about dieting and disordered eating, The Life Thief will try to convince us we’re wrong every single day, so that it can keep stealing from us.
In fact it’s become an expert at shape-shifting, because in recent years more people have gotten wise to its thieving ways.
So now instead of diets we have “lifestyle changes,” “eating plans,” and “wellness programs.”
They’re the same thing as diets—telling you what, when, and how much to eat, deeming certain foods “bad” or “off-limits,” and upholding an impossible ideal of what “health” looks like—but they swear up and down that they’re not diets.
They gaslight us with their promises of a healthier, brighter, “cleaner” life.
They’re what I call The Life Thief In Disguise (or TLTID, because it tilts your understanding of reality).
Unfortunately even health and wellness professionals can fall prey to TLTID logic, ushering The Life Thief into their patients’ and clients’ lives under the guise of health promotion.
That’s what happened for my guest on this week’s episode of Food Psych.
My friend and colleague Meredith Noble shares how a weight-loss recommendation from a doctor led her down the rabbit hole of chronic dieting, which included years on commercial diet plans, “clean eating” programs, and “lifestyle changes,” following the advice of countless coaches and nutritionists.
None of it produced lasting weight loss, let alone well-being; instead, it all contributed to feeling disordered, out of control, and totally consumed by food.
It stole her time, her energy, and her money, which are three of The Life Thief’s favorite targets.
Fortunately she discovered the concepts of Health at Every Size and intuitive eating, which helped her find peace and freedom with food and her body. She shares how that journey unfolded for her, and how connecting with a supportive community helped her handle diet culture in a radically different way.
Here’s to reclaiming your rights,
PS: If you’re a fellow anti-diet health and wellness professional who wants to ensure that your online presence and marketing materials reflect your values, check out my new Master Your Anti-Diet Message mini-course. It’s for coaches, yoga teachers, dietitians, therapists, personal trainers, bloggers, and anyone else in the wellness field who wants to fight diet culture and help people reclaim their lives <3
This post was originally published in my weekly email newsletter.