Hi my name is Izzy and I am a grateful recovering dieter. I have been on every diet known to man, and probably some unknown to man. So, I am an expert. Since apparently lived experience makes us an expert at anything now a days. Screw a dietitian or a nutritionist, and the girls selling workouts on IG, they have nothing on this wealth of ~useless~ knowledge I’ve accumulated through years of a severe eating disorder. So yeah, anyway, I am here to tell you about the perfect diet to lose all that unwanted fat! This diet is better than keto, it’s better than the whole30, the military diet, the depression diet, the paleo diet, the Atkins diet, Weight watchers- oh I mean WW, the Mediterranean diet, any juice cleanse, sleeping beauty diet, fat free, sugar free, better then all of them, combined. And the best part is that you don’t have to do anything.
If you really believed I was going to give you advice on a diet I am sorry you wasted five minutes of your life reading this far. See, I do not believe that my personal experience makes me an expert and I truly believe if you are overtly concerned about your diet you should do two things, 1) see a registered dietitian- since they have a wealth of knowledge, a degree, a license, and study health and human biology for 6-8 years, and also 2) keep reading because maybe you will like what I have to say and realize it’s not weight you have to lose, it’s the pressure, it’s the guilt, it’s the opinion of others.
I am anti diet. I need to clarify that this does not mean I am anti health, but in some ways maybe I am to some people’s standards.
I do not know why people loop together the words diet and health. Well, actually I kind of do.
The word diet gets a bad rap, when we say diet we usually automatically go to weight loss, when in reality a persons diet is just what they eat. So if I ate cupcakes for breakfast and steak for lunch and tacos for dinner that is my diet. That makes the word sound a lot less scary. But for some reason *diet culture* the word diet equates to some strict set of rules I must follow in order to look better?? When I say I am anti diet, I am saying that I do not believe in people going on a diet to lose weight.
When I say I am anti health I do not mean anti vaccine, anti medication, anti exercise or anti eating a salad. Health also sometimes can get a bad rap, because we see health as a body type, not as how our internal organs are functioning. We equate health with thinness. We equate health with physical body type. We don’t take into account that a person can be both fat and healthy. We don’t think about health as our lab results or our blood pressure and heart rate. We don’t look at health as if we are happy, unhappy, mentally in a good or bad place. Health, for some unknown reason, is usually indicated just about how we look.
And, yes, I said fat. A curse word to some, but an adjective just the same as skinny. We associate fat with bad and say things like “you are not fat you are beautiful,” as if we cannot be both. Do people even realize how insane that is. What a backhanded compliment that is? All of this makes no sense and it is dumb. We only dislike fat because for decades we have been told that bigger=less. Less lovable. Less attractive. Less of a human. Less healthy. Less deserving. We live in a fat-phobic, diet obsessed, world.
And if you think I am wrong please ask your fat friends what they get told by doctors anytime they go in for a routine checkup, because 9 times out of 10 it is something regarding weight loss, or if they were healthier how X symptom would dissipate. In a recent study of 2,500 U.S. women, they found that 69 percent reported feeling stigmatized by their doctors and 52 percent endured recurring fat bias. These feelings of stigmatization and bias can keep people out of doctors office due to fear and stress, it can make diagnosis of serious health problems nearly impossible. And when fat people do go to a doctors office, the bias can lead to misdiagnosis such as a prescription for weight loss, instead of a proper solution and diagnosis.
The truth is we can have the same exact diet and same exact exercise routine and chances are we will still look vastly different. Which is why health at every size (HAES) intrigued me from the get. I didn’t understand at first, what it meant to be healthy at any or every size. It was hard for me to fathom, because everything I learned about health and bodies came from the scope of diet culture. Which is trash. Diet culture is what tells us that we have to look X way to be accepted by society. And health at every size says fuck societal norms on what we should or should not look like. It tells us that diet culture is a billion dollar business that feeds off of our insecurities.
“The HAES approach is a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. It is also a movement working to promote size-acceptance, to end weight discrimination, and to lesson the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness.”
So what does this mean for your diet?
It means eating the things you enjoy. It means that some days you might eat and extra cookie, and some days maybe you want a salad. It means moving because you want to, not because you have to or need to “make up” for something. It is an anti-diet. It is accepting that wherever your body sits when you are not on a crash diet, is where your body wants to be, and that is okay. That is more than okay, that is encouraged. That is self acceptance. It’s no rigid rules. It’s cake for your birthday because you like cake. It’s unplanned pizza parties or late night snacks with a friend. It’s also unlearning years of diet culture, which is hard, but doable.
I also want to say I know I say ALL of this from a place of privilege. My body meets all of societies ideals. Yet somehow I have been unhappy with my body most of my life, crazy.
I remember sitting in my doctors office a week before I was scheduled to enter residential treatment and she said “look at you, I can’t stop eating and you can’t eat. I wish.” A doctor. Who knew I was unhealthy. Who had just done a test on my heart and told me I could die in my sleep it was so low. A doctor who was writing in my chart the diagnosis of anorexia. I wonder how she speaks to her other patients. I wonder if she knows how crazy she sounded to me. But she wasn’t the only one.
People told me all the time I looked great. I replied all the time that I was sick. Girls at college parties asked me what arm workouts I did to be so skinny and I would reply that I have an eating disorder. People at work would ask me how I stay in shape and I would tell them I am not in shape I am dying. But I looked healthy!!!!! No. I looked skinny. And that is somehow equates to health. My organs can fail. My skin and nails can be ghostly and brittle, but if I am skinny, who cares about the consequences.
When fat people try to get help for their eating disorders they are ignored, they are misdiagnosed, they are denied proper care and treatment. If the problem is not visible, it cannot really be there- right?
This quarantine is making diet culture more and more apparent. In a study of woman, more were concerned with weight gain than with actually contracting the virus. That is diet culture. That is NOT healthy. That is hundreds of thousands of women that have been marketed diet culture for years that have no idea they are buying into a lie.
So if you are looking for a perfect diet, look no further. Shove a diet up your asshole, and eat a cookie and a salad and stop running if you hate it and start dancing if you love it.