What anti-diet means to me

We consider our bodies far more often as a billboard for the approval of others than assessing its needs as our earthly home […] How many people do you know who make decisions about their body’s needs based on well-being or delight rather than appearance?”


I’m participating in a book club hosted by Center for Discovery, and I literally stopped reading (and highlighting) Binge Eating Disorder: The Journey to Recovery and Beyond by Amy Pershing with Chevese Turner so that I could come and share the above quote with you. Not just because it is SO TRUE but also because I need you to know why I do what I do:


I am not anti-diet because diets don’t work, I am against dieting because I’m against eating disorders.


While it’s true that food restriction with the intention to lose weight has a 95% failure rate, what’s even more disturbing to me is that “35% of ‘occasional dieters’ progress into pathological dieting, (disordered eating) and as many as 25%, advance to full-blown eating disorders.”


Years ago a random Craigslister came to my house to pick up some old hay bales for his worm farm. As he was loading up his truck he asked me what I did, and what came out of my mouth surprised me: “I want to help people in eating disorder recovery.” The man laughed in my face and said, “Good luck, those people are hopeless.”


Little did I know then that not only did my declaration plant a seed within me that would sprout and blossom over the next five years, but that the man’s response would also become a weed for me to tackle…

I cannot tell you how many business coaches, family members, close friends, and even strangers on the internet have told me to market my message as a weight loss strategy in order to be more profitable in my desire to reach the masses. And with each invitation, I’ve refused. I WILL NOT BECOME PART OF THE PROBLEM I’M TRYING TO HELP SOLVE.
Deep down in my heart, I know I am meant to support eaters in honoring the needs of their earthly home. Regardless of what wellness culture or worm men think, food freedom is possible! Because all bodies are good bodies and deserving of hope.
I’m anti-dieting because I am pro-living.

Do you know what it’s like to feel truly at home in your body? I do. Not always. Some days are easier, or harder, than others. But it is doable and absolutely worth it. In the meantime, remember that your body is hopeful and so are you

Do you even like salads?

It’s not about eating the salad. It’s about the motivation and the why behind it.

Choosing to eat a salad out of self-care or self-compassion, when it’s something you genuinely want, feels good. And it will feel inherently different than eating a salad because you should or because you have to.

Negative willpower is shame based. Positive willpower, on the other hand, is based on honoring your feelings, needs, and values. 

Self-awareness is realizing that any kind of food choice isn’t black or white. It isn’t even positive willpower versus negative willpower. It’s simply how you are choosing to express your will

So, what do you want?

Sometimes you don’t know what you want and that’s ok.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Maybe you slip into negative willpower because that’s what you’re used to, it’s habitual. That’s ok, too.

So, how can we develop habits to practice more positive willpower (not because it’s better but because it’s a process toward more self-awareness)? Learn to be ok with the process, and be mindful of any perfectionistic tendencies where you assume food choices or eating habits have to look a certain way.


Our desire to eat “perfectly” is often motivated by judgments, what we’ve made it mean about our Self or other people.


Instead of beating yourself up, be gentle. Stop putting yourself into false dichotomies and realize we’re all here learning, experiencing, and “mistaking” — that’s kind of the point of being alive!

Remind yourself when you do slip into perfectionism that you can shift out of negative willpower into positive willpower by saying to yourself, “Oh, there’s that habit again! Well that’s ok, let’s try something different. How do I feel? What do I need/want?” And then move on.

Any food can be “guilt-free” when you’re truly self-aware.

Eat the salad, or don’t. Your body, your choice. Find ways to nourish all parts of your Self with compassion and curiosity. But above all, remember that your food choices and eating habits do NOT define you. You’re enough, just as you are. Always have been, always will be. So eat something because you deserve to and you’re worth feeding.

Food is more than fuel

When we choose to set aside our food fears and interact with food in new ways, our relationship with food starts to shift from disordered dieting to mindful eating. Because food is symbolic, which makes it sacred.

If you are already conscious of your feelings toward food, you may have noticed that at times you experience a gamete of emotions (fear, guilt, joy, pleasure, etc.).  But sometimes, you might be so detached from your food that you find yourself rather apathetic toward eating…  Hopefully some of these prompts will help you develop an awareness around your current relationship with food so you can then start creating your ideal relationship with it:

  • How do YOU experience food?
  • What judgments, and values, do you attach to your eating habits?
  • When was the last time you ate something you wanted, sans guilt?
  • If you’re a (grand)mother, watch your (grand)children eat their food — what do you notice about their preferences and behaviors?
  • Ask your inner child what/how she would like to eat.

Intuitive eating is more than just eating what sounds good… It includes honoring your spiritual health by giving yourself permission to enjoy food!  It also includes honoring your physical health through gentle nutrition, which can look like planning for when you’re hungry even if you aren’t.

Do you find yourself justifying under-eating out of fear of overeating? Or are you just completely apathetic about food in general? And what do you do when you’re not hungry?

If you need help understanding your body’s sacred cues (or the lack thereof), and you’re ready to feel less apathetic about food, then it’s time to (re)learn how to trust your body so it can trust you.