By Julie Dillon
The “should-eat” fantasy compliance
How many diets have you been on? When was the first one? Most women (and many men) have been dieting in some shape or form … or coming off a diet…or preparing to go back on a diet … for as long as they can remember.
Can you relate?
I believe we live in a culture that has trained us to distrust our bodies and we think we need to follow orders to pick out dinner options.
We should be eating this. We should be eating that. We must not eat this after 7, or else…
Or else what?
All these shoulds lead most of us toward shame, guilt, and distrust of our own innate wisdom. You were born knowing how to eat and how much. All those diets disconnected you from that.
You may be wondering, “But I feel so good when I am dieting, at least for a little while.”
Totally. Diets and preparing for them give the notion that things will be alright soon. Just the decision to embark on a diet can relax and calm you. Your head may feel clear for the first time in a long time.
The first few days or weeks of a diet can give off a buzz of excitement and kudos from well-meaning friends and family.
Can you feel it? That’s diet seduction.
And it is just a fantasy.
The reality is diets are only short term. They are unsustainable. This is not just a belief of mine rather evidenced-based in literally hundreds of research studies.
So why do you blame yourself for the diet ending?
If diets don’t work for most people, why do doctors and dietitians recommend them?
If diets are actually harmful long term…promoting weight cycling, higher insulin levels, higher triglycerides, higher blood sugars, depression, and negative body image….why are they recommended to improve health?
Those are important questions with a really nasty answer:
The world is so fat-phobic that it cannot wrap its head around the notion that weight loss is not a behavior. And, medical science has yet to find ONE diet that works to promote health and promote maintenance long term for most people. Even more, this mind control is rooted in white supremacy and misogyny.
You see how people of size are treated in our world: chairs don’t fit, airplanes won’t accommodate, and culture hasn’t provided equal treatment in academia, the military, or employment.
This constant discrimination sends anyone trying to find a way to fit in. To find more ease in a world that says their body is not acceptable.
A fat body dieting is complying with the orders: eat this not that. Do all that it takes to weigh less. Even if it hurts.
And each time you comply with the orders, the fantasy of equal treatment and a better life fill your head.
This is The Should Eat Fantasy Compliance.
This is the reason why you keep getting sucked back into Diet Culture and it is so important. You are just doing what you are told while craving equality and decency.
Unfortunately, The Should Eat Fantasy Compliance distracts us all from the facts that diets don’t work for most people and they are harmful. It also distracts us from the bigotry that comes from weight stigma, racism, and gender inequality.
I want to stand with you radically rejecting diets and reconnecting to your own innate wisdom for health.
I invite you to listen to Love Food podcast episode (107) — it is one of my all time favorites because it gives you the tools to stand up to the villain. In this episode, I go through the 4 pillars to Food Peace: permission, pleasure, consistency, and variety. Take a listen here or via your favorite podcatcher.
Until then, call out the real villain. And take off that shame cloak. It is not for you. It never was.
Today’s guest Food, Nutrition, and Your Health columnist is Julie Duffy Dillon. Julie is a Registered Dietitian, Eating Disorder Specialist, and Food Behavior Expert partnering with people on their Food Peace journey. She is trained as a mental health counselor and supervises dietitians and other health professionals to use weight inclusive and attuned eating strategies. She owns central North Carolina’s group nutrition private practice and premier source of eating disorder treatment and prevention, BirdHouse Nutrition Therapy. Julie also produces and hosts the weekly podcast, Love Food. Learn more at JulieDillonRD.com.