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Eating disorders are both physical and psychological illnesses. These two pieces often overlap. For example, in order to work on the emotional part, it’s important to have adequate nutrition, otherwise the brain cannot function properly. This is just one why recovering from an eating disorder takes a team. This includes a therapist, physician, psychiatrist and last but not least, a registered dietitian. All clinicians on the team are crucial in providing you or your loved one with the tools and techniques needed for recovery.

Dietitians Alex and Bobbi specialize in working with eating disorder recovery

Since I am a dietitian and all, I’m going to spend some time discussing what makes a dietitian a critical member of the team 1.Degree in nutrition:

Dietitians are the only members of the treatment team who have gone to school to specifically learn about nutrition science. (Just as an MD is the only one to have gone to medical school). The eating disorder can have a lot of knowledge about nutrition. However, this knowledge is often false or twisted to make it seem scary. We get information about nutrition from the media, but again, this information is false or twisted to make it seem scary.

So, dietitians can use their background in nutrition science to help clients better understand what may be happening in the body.

.This knowledge can often be used to fight back against the eating disorder. For example, the ED might say “grains are bad.” But, in reality, grains are the main energy source for the body. They have essential vitamins and minerals. And they make meals more satisfying. When the “grains are bad,” thought pops up, often times it’s useful to use true nutrition knowledge to fight back against that voice. Additionally, dietitians can better properly assess the nutritional needs of a client to assure appropriate intake for adequate nourishment and to repair and restore the body.

2. Role model:

It’s incredibly important for clients who are struggling with food to eat with member of their treatment team. This often falls on the dietitian because, well, we’re the ones talking about food. We also have a positive relationship with food we can model for our clients. Challenging and processing “fear foods” in session is definitely intimidating. However, food challenges are essential for recovery. We know that nutritional variety and flexibility is a solid marker for recovery. So doing this in session can be a more supportive way of reintroducing foods that may have been cut out or limited because of the eating disorder.

3.Challenge ED Food Related Thoughts:

As someone is beginning to form a new, and more positive relationship with food, it’s crucial for eating disorder thoughts to be challenged. The dietitian can easily pinpoint and gently call out both loud and subtle disordered food and body thoughts. The “grains are bad” example I used early. That’s definitely a “loud thought” and may be easier for someone to gently call out and redirect. A thought like “I need to watch my portions” is more subtle. “Watching portions” still implies a level of restriction. Having a positive means giving oneself unconditional permission to eat and trusting the body to provide one with signals. Any external food rule (like “watching portions”) can interfere with these bodily signals and possibly amplify food shame and guilt.

4.Intuitive eating:

The end goal of eating disorder recovery is intuitive eating. My hope as an eating disorder dietitian is that I can follow my client all the way through recovery and guide them toward intuitive eating. There can be triggers as one starts to listen to the body and allow themselves to eat based on these signals. These triggers include… weight changes, eating less/more of certain foods, comments from other people…etc. A dietitian can support their clients through these triggers and learn how to cope with them.

When choosing your outpatient team, you have the right to ask questions and decide whether or not a potential dietitian or therapist (etc) is going to be a good fit for you. Most of us are willing to schedule a 15-20minute phone call to answer these questions and get to know you.

I’d like to discuss what you should ask for with RDs. Here are some questions you can ask: What is your experience in working with eating disorders?

Of course, you’ll want to make sure the dietitian has experience in working with eating disorders. Think about it: you wouldn’t ask an oncologist to do surgery on a broken foot. You certainly would run the risk of doing more harm since it’s not their area of medicine. Working with eating disorders is a specialized illness that requires extensive training and supervision. You may want to ask if the dietitian has their CEDRD or if they are considering working toward it. 

Do you practice from a Health At Every Size © framework?

When recovering from an eating disorder, it’s highly important to work with a dietitian who believes in HAES ©. I love this article by Lisa Pearl on why HAES is a Cornerstone for Recovery.  She states “two of the biggest reasons to encourage a HAES® approach is for the prevention of eating disorders and the elimination of weight stigma and its devastating effects on psychological, behavioral and physical health!”

What are your other specialities?

Along with the question regarding HAES, you’ll want to check to see what other specialities the RD has. Other specialities can certainly be a great thing! If you or your loved one is struggling with another medical diagnosis that involves nutrition (like diabetes or a gut related illness), it can be awesome to find an RD who may have more knowledge in that particular area. However, you’ll want to watch out if the dietitian also specializes in “weight management.” Weight management is actually quite a diet-y term and can be harmful in someone’s quest for full recovery. See above about the importance of HAES!

How many clients do you typically see a week?

Eating disorders are complicated. And a dietitian can spend up to 10 hours a week coordinating care with other members of the treatment team. Typically, “full time” for a dietitian working with eating disorders could be anywhere between 20-30 clients a week. You’ll want to make sure the RD has time during the week to collaborate and breaks from seeing clients for their own self care. This way, they will have time to devote to seeing you (or your loved one), coordinate care with other members of the team AND have time for their own self care. Which is very important for all of us!

If you would like to learn more about recovery resources, Health at Every Size treatment, or anything else, please reach out to one of our amazing dietitians. We’d love to talk with you! Reach us at admin@empoweredeatingblog.com or 240-670-4675.

The post Why see a CEDRD and Important Questions to Ask appeared first on Empowered Eating.

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By Caroline Best 

Last Summer I went on a social media break for a week, and completely stayed off all of my accounts. To be honest, it made a big difference in my mood. I noticed my day-to-day state was happier and more relaxed.

 I’ve thought a lot about why I had such a strong reaction to doing something so simple.

Social media can be a positive thing in moderation. It’s a great way to keep up with loved ones and see interesting/inspiring things. However, social media (especially a lot of it at once) can be pretty toxic if we’re not careful.  People tend to post what I call “highlight reel” pictures. Or photos where they’re out doing fun things, looking great, surrounded by friends, ect. Seeing enough of these photos can play on very natural human insecurities. There’s a lot of research being done right now on how this can affect mental health. This constant exposure to everyone’s highlights makes us feel like we need to “keep up”.  And this can have a draining effect. We have an earlier post that talks a lot about how to combat this ( link).

However, this post has to do with social media in the summer and some amazing accounts to follow.

Social media in the summertime can be especially toxic because of “summer body” culture. There’s a lot of absurd (and dangerous) messages about how to “look best”  for the summertime and focusing on getting a “swimsuit body”. We’re all constantly exposed to marketing  trying to convince us to try to mold ourselves to narrow and often unattainable beauty standards.When in reality, once you put on a swimsuit, you have a swimsuit body. Nothing else is needed. You don’t have to do anything else  (tan,shave,work out, ect.) despite what society might try to convince you.

We went through and found some accounts that fight against summer body/diet culture and are really refreshing and inspiring. These accounts are filled with great reminders to appreciate your body: Tess Holliday, @tessholliday

Tess Holiday is totally redefining what is means to be a supermodel in the best possible way. Her instagram is empowering and seriously beautiful. She’s a perfect role model, exemplifying how  all bodies are swimsuit bodies. She also keeps it real with her posts, and regularly calls out diet culture.

@EffYourBeautyStandards

Continuing the Tess Holliday love…. Eff Your Beauty Standards is actually an account founded by Tess Holliday, and has several other body positive contributors. The mission of the foundation focuses on breaking down and redefining beauty standards. The pictures focus on celebrating the many sizes and shapes bodies come on, and emphasizes how all of these are beautiful.

Rosey Blair, @roseybeeme

One of the reasons instagram can be pretty harmful is so many of the popular fashion bloggers and influencers tend to fit a narrow beauty standard (PSA:these standards are so damaging because they try to convince us to work towards unrealistic/unhealthy expectations). Rosey smashes these standards and totally owns her role as an instagram influencer and fashion blogger, focusing on size inclusive style.  Not only are her pictures gorgeous and interesting, she is also an advocate for size diversity/inclusivity.

Empowered Eating @empoweredeatingrd

A shameless plug. We have an instagram run by our amazing empowered eating dietitian, Alex Raymond. The account focuses on combatting diet culture, offering eating disorder recovery support, and highlighting all of the reasons to respect your body.  Alex does a great job sharing quotes/blogs/ stories that are really motivating.

@recipesforselflove

Not only is this account so aesthetically pleasing, it has a great message. I find it calming to look at. Each post has an inspiring message that focuses on keeping it real and self-love.

Jessamyn Stanley, @mynameisjessamyn

This account is so great. There’s a lot of messages out there that convey there’s a way to “look like an athlete”, which is completely untrue.  We are peppered with the message that athletes are always muscular/tall/thin, which is completely untrue. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes. Jessamyn is the perfect example to show how serious and dedicated athletes (in her case yoga) can be any body size/type. She has a program called Ever Body Yoga which has great yoga routines (shared on her insta page!) that focuses on body inclusive workouts.

@NotPlantBased

I absolutely love Not Plant Based. It’s such a refreshing account. The account was co-founded by two journalists who are passionate about eating disorder recovery and promoting positive body image/healthy relationships with food. The posts totally call out diet culture bs. There’s a good mix of recovery inspiration, some honestly great food pictures, and quotes.

Kelvin Davis, @notoriouslydapper

Our last account on the list focuses on an important topic that often doesn’t get enough recognition.  A focus on promoting positive body image for men. Men are exposed to tons of damaging messages about how to look “best”, especially in the summer. This instagram influencer focuses on size inclusive style for men.

To wrap it up…..

Those are some of our favorite accounts. I think these do a great job of providing inspiring and motivating messages while also taking down narrow beauty standards and fighting diet culture. So many popular accounts present airbrushed, edited, photos as natural and this creates a wildly unrealistic beauty standard. Remember, the pictures you are seeing as highlight pictures, you never know what went into the behind the scenes.  I also have a challenge for you to take on during summer. Do a social media clean up. Unfollow/ mute accounts that share unhealthy messages about body image. I promise it’s really helpful to do.

If you want to talk more about promoting healthy body image, size inclusivity, recovery resources or anything else, contact one of our great dietitians at admin@empoweredeatingrd.com  

The post Amazing Accounts to Follow this Summer appeared first on Empowered Eating.

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By Alex Raymond When your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, it’s very possible to experience a wide range of emotions, including sadness, confusion, guilt, fear, frustration and helplessness.

You might not know how to help them. You might be so confused  as to why your loved one might not want to seek professional help. It might be frustrating that it feels like they don’t want to  not “listen” to what the dietitian or therapist is saying. Or you might wonder why they just can’t eat or stop eating. You might even feel guilty and wondering if you played a role in the development of the eating disorder.

As eating disorder dietitians, part of our job is to not only support our clients through their journey, but to also support their parents and other loved ones in navigating their own struggles.

Sometimes that means we meet with our clients’ loved ones at the end of the session one on one.  Or it means we have a “family session,” involving loved ones and our clients. We truly believe that in most situations loved ones can be our clients’ greatest support. It does require a bit of learning and education for parents, friends, partners…etc. Just as their own loved ones are learning about the disease and how it plays a role in their own lives.

On May 11th, 2019, Bobbi and I will be presenting to families and loved ones of those who are struggling with eating disorders (EDs). More details at the bottom of this blog!

Again, we believe that caregivers can be the greatest allies in someone’s recovery journey. But, many loved ones might not know how to help. So, it’s important to equip them with the tools needed. We understand this can be a confusing journey for our clients and their families.

If you’re interested in attending our workshop… here is what you need to know.

The workshop will be held on Saturday May 11th. It will be from 9am-3pm at our office in Columbia (9881 Broken Land Parkway, Suite 105, Columbia, MD 21046). Lunch is included. Donations will be made to Rock Recovery. Please see the flier for more information.

The post Family Workshop: Supporting Your Loved One with an Eating Disorder appeared first on Empowered Eating.

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By Alex Raymond, RD, LD.

Did you know, March is National Nutrition Month or NNM for short. The theme this year is “Eat Right, Live Right, Feel Right.” I first saw that and 2 things went through my mind…

  1. OMG what bullshit….

  2. Well, sounds pretty on point for the culture we live in today.

As an anti-diet dietitian, I have a slightly (okay, very) different take on nutrition than what we hear in our everyday lives. The messages we get from the media, celebrities, instagram stars and even many health professionals can actually be harmful to our overall physical and emotional wellbeing.  

Let me start out by describing a bit of what I believe “nutrition” actually means.  Firstly, I follow a Health at Every Size © (HAES) and intuitive eating framework with my clients. I believe I should be supporting my clients in improving their relationship with food and body. Not shaming them about what they eat, how much they eat, and how their bodies look. HAES and intuitive eating are evidence based. So providers who practice this way, including myself, are not making these things up.

“Nutrition” actually has very little to do with WHAT we eat. Per the dictionary, nutrition is defined as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Interesting… I don’t see kale smoothies, quinoa black bean cookies or cauliflower pizza crust anywhere in there…

There’s a lot of layers to nutrition. But at its very core, it’s about nourishment AND enjoyment.

It’s about providing your body with the fuel it needs to survive. We all gotta eat to live. Equally as important, it’s remembering that food is so much more than just eating to survive. Eating food that you crave and food that tastes good is also an important and fun part of life. Nothing about nutrition has to do with deprivation and restriction*. Having a positive relationship with food and body is SO much more important than eating solely by what our culture deems “healthy.” (and since when did media and celebrities get a degree in nutrition or medicine? Why do they have the right to tell us what is “healthy”).

*Please note: I do recognize that having access to food is a privilege. So sometimes, people may be deprived and restricted unintentionally.

We are only on this earth for so long. Food should NOT take up more time and energy than spending time with friends and family, traveling, learning, reading, sleeping, working, watching Netflix, laughing….*insert any other thing you enjoy doing*

So, during NNM, I decided I wanted to rally up some anti-diet messaging and help my clients and other blog/social media followers unlearn diet culture. I was inspired to do this from conversations with clients, health care providers and my friends and family. Shout out to the amazing members of Christy Harrison’s Master Your Anti-Diet Facebook Group for helping me out with some of these ideas!! (If you want access to the group, take Christy’s “master your anti-diet message course :))

Clients are frustrated and confused from continuously hearing messages that reinforce their EDs. If you didn’t know, diet culture talk reinforces eating disordered and disordered eating beliefs.

To take it a step further, dieting is actually disordered eating. The diet talk is fuel to the fire. And the ED voice many times sounds eerily similar to messages we hear on TV, from celebs, from magazines, and again, sadly, from health professionals who are uninformed about HAES and anti-dieting. I feel that my social media accounts, as well as some of my favorite RD, HAES role models, are a safe space for my clients to go to reinforce the recovery thoughts.

Health care providers who align themselves with the anti-diet mentality work double time to undo harm from practitioners who collude with eating disordered and dieting behaviors. I do understand how this can happen though. Providers are not immune to messages we get from diet culture. Unfortunately, much of what we learn in school is extremely weight normative. HAES often isn’t even mentioned. And providers within the medical community need to do our own work to wake up and smell the weight stigma. What weight bias do we exhibit, both internal and external? The messages we put out about the importance of body changes and weight loss is not and never will be helpful.

So, as you have probably noticed, we are bombarded with dieting messages EVERYWHERE… again, even from trusted health professionals.

Some of it isn’t always outright “you should restrict your intake and cut out this food to lose weight.” Most of the messaging we get is actually hidden in messaging that ~sounds~ positive, but it’s actually laced with diet mentality. Some examples include.

  • Everything in moderation

  • It’s fine to eat _____…. if you control your portions

  • Are you sure you’re really hungry? Maybe you’re just bored?

  • It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.

Again, at first, it might sound like it’s just helpful “nutrition advice,” but really, these messages hint that we need to control our eating, our weight and our bodies. The secret to a long, healthy and happy life actually does not include micromanaging our bodies and our food intake, despite what diet culture wants us to believe.

So this NNM, let’s reclaim what “nutrition” actually means. Let’s start letting go of the shame and guilt that often surrounds eating. Let’s eat enough (or MORE than “enough”) to fuel our bodies and enjoy our eating. We can do this by calling out diet culture and reminding ourselves that we have the strength to tune out those messages. Yes, it’s hard. And yes, it can happen.

Follow along on my Instagram and Twitter this month.

I’ll be posting an anti-diet “tip” each day to help you either begin or continue your journey in unlearning diet culture and ED rules. These “tips” were inspired diet-y messages that I’ve heard throughout the last couple of months (and probably my whole life). So, when you hear the diet message, you can remember the anti-diet comeback to challenge the thinking. In the captions, I’ll explain why the phrase we typically hear might be diet-y.


Not only that! But I’m also giving away 3 sets of my Recovery Cards this month! If you engage by sharing, reposting or commenting (tag #unlearndietculture !!) on my posts you’ll get entered to win. Let’s tackle diet culture together.  

The post Unlearn diet culture this National “Nutrition” Month appeared first on Empowered Eating.

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By Alex Raymond, RD,LD and Rebecca Foss, Intern. 

It’s that time of year—a time for red and pink hearts and flowers, but did you also know that the month of sending love to others with Valentine wishes is also a month to celebrate and love your own body?

February is Love Your Body Month and it’s a great time to celebrate your body.

Like I always say, “you don’t have to love your body in order to respect it.” So, it’s okay if you take this month to learn how to appreciate your body, even if you don’t get to a place of “body love.” It’s okay to  redefine what “love your body month” means to you and your recovery. Maybe you spend this month starting to explore body image with your treatment team. You might read articles about the body positive movement. Maybe it means you learn how to “love your body” aside from physical attributes. Maybe love your body month isn’t for you. And you have to stay off of social media for a bit to reset.

Please remember… “Loving your body” also means we remember and accept that our bodies do not define our worth. It means that no matter what shape or size, we are worthy of love and belonging.

We start to believe our bodies are “good” even if we don’t like how they look or our bodies don’t do the things we want them to do. All bodies are good bodies.

To celebrate Love Your Body Month right, we’ve compiled a list of some great resources for you to come back to throughout the month.

They include videos, articles, tweets, instagram posts and more! So mark your calendars for your daily dose of inspiration and reflection on what a truly marvelous gift your body is!

February 1

Kick off Love your Body month by checking out this quick list from the National Eating Disorders Association for 20 ways to Love Your Body.

February 2

For some inspiration in your Instagram feed, follow Megan Jayne Crabbe @bodyposipanda.

February 3

February brings snow and a great time to curl up with a good book. Check out our list of body positivity books and enjoy looking out your window at the snow!

February 4

Start the week off right by adding the Body Kindness podcast by Rebecca Scritchfield to your morning commute. Kick body shame to the curb and open the door to being kind to your body!

February 5

What exactly is the body positive movement? Fat acceptance activist, Marie Southard Ospina explains in this video.

February 6

Take a hump day break by listening to Julie Duffy Dillon’s Podcast, The Love Food Podcast, episode 18. Julie has special guest, Paige Smathers, and they discuss how you can still model positive body image even if you don’t love your body.

February 7

Malina, a youtube singer, tried an experiment where she didn’t look in the mirror for 5 days. A client showed this to me and I very much enjoyed watching it. Check out this different perspective on body appreciation.

February 8

For a #FollowFriday with some great body positivity, check out Jes Baker on Instagram @themilitantbaker.

February 9

Need a body positive playlist? Here’s a weekend playlist of songs from PopSugar that will empower you to love everything about yourself. Thanks Hedy Phillips!

February 10

Listen to the Fat Girls Club podcast for an honest—and hilarious—look at issues facing plus-sized people today.

February 11

Loving your body can sometimes be difficult with all the so-called “beauty standards” out there. Well, @effyourbeautystandards and follow this Instagram feed to create new ones!

February 12

I LOVE this instagram post by Lauren Newman aka gofooedyourself_. She talks about the difference between positive body image and body positivity. She totally should get a huge round of applause for this post and deserves a mic drop.

February 13

Check out this post by one of my favorite rockstar ED dietitians and “body image guru,” Marci Evans. Marci wrote this post a few years ago. She writes about how “body positivity” has been swallowed by the diet industry and others. Weight loss and “body positivity” cannot coexist.

February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day! I share this post all the time and wanted to re-share for Valentine’s Day. You deserve to be loved and appreciated above all else. And your body deserve respect, even if you don’t like the way it looks. Check out the blog I wrote about Why It’s Okay to Not Love Your Body.

Encouraging words to remember!

February 15

Need a good song to get this Friday started? P!nk just asks you to pretty pretty please… don’t you ever ever feel, like you’re less than Perfect. Also, check out the new blog that’s up on our website! It’s all about advocating for yourself at the doctor’s office.

February 16

For another fantastic Instagram feed, follow Milly Smith @selfloveclubb. This self-love advocate is the perfect addition for your daily dose of body love.

February 17

If you aren’t already following me, @empoweredeatingrd, on Instagram, add this to your daily feed. We’re all about recovery, anti-diet, and body positivity.

February 18

Need a little motivation to start off your Monday? Kenzie Brenna says, ““You don’t have to be in love with yourself everyday, but I PROMISE if you practice self-love you will have more loving moments with yourself than you could ever dream of.” For more, check her out @kenziebrenna on Instagram.

February 19

This slam poetry reading really got me thinking. It’s titled “The Fat Joke” and it’s by Rachel Wiley. Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

February 20

Need another podcast to listen to? The Recovery Warriors is a great way to get a little inspiration and hear stories from others who are rising up to defeat ED.

February 21

We love this song from Alessia Cara, Scars to Your Beautiful. What are some of your favorite songs about body appreciation or eating disorder recovery?

February 22

Diversify your feed! It’s important we see bodies of all kinds on our social media accounts. Here are some cool instagrams to follow! What are your faves that aren’t listed?

https://www.instagram.com/iamdaniadriana/

https://www.instagram.com/queerfatfemme/

https://www.instagram.com/iamivyfelicia/

https://www.instagram.com/meg.boggs/

https://www.instagram.com/rachel.cargle/

https://www.instagram.com/diversifydietetics/

February 23

Need a Twitter fix? Check out our latest tweets @empoweredeating.

February 24

Need a good book for your Sunday read? Landwhale by Jes Baker will have you in tears–laughing and crying.

February 25

Today kicks off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year’s theme is Come as You Are. Visit the NEDA website to join the conservation and come as you are.

National Eating Disorders Association

February 26

Shout out to all of my favorite anti-diet dietitians out there! The messages you all promote inspire me and are so incredibly valuable for my clients. Keep doing you!

Marci Evans

Christy Harrison

Anna Sweeney

Fiona Sutherland

Lauren Newman

Kristen Murray

Kirsten Ackerman

Julie Duffy Dillon

Evelyn Tribole

Taylor Chan

Kara Lydon

Laura Thomas

Emily Fonnesbeck

February 27

I love this video created by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). They explain the problem with “poodle-centric health policy.” Aka they use dogs to explain the flaws in our research about body size to support HAES.

February 28

To close out the month, I’d like to hear from you! What are some of your favorite body positive resources?  Okay, I’ll start… huge fan of Beauty Redefined.

That’s a wrap for February, but we know there’s more out there. So, leave a comment with a book, a blog, or even a mantra that inspires you to love your body. And remember, you don’t need a single month to appreciate and love your body—let the love continue!

The post Love Your Body Month: Our Favorite Resources for Body Love and Positivity appeared first on Empowered Eating.

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By Alex Raymond, RD,LD.

Happy New Year! When I think about the New Year, my brain automatically goes to “New Year’s Resolutions.” I think about all the messaging out there about “weight loss” and becoming a better YOU (usually by some form of losing weight). *cue eye roll*

And this messaging is just so damaging, well to all people, but particularly to those struggling with eating disorders and those who are working on improving their relationships with food and body.  The diet industry sells us a false sense of happiness. When our self worth is based on our appearance and the way our bodies look, we will never truly be content. And the diet industry makes a HUGE profit out of our discontent.

Encouraging words to remember!

When I help my clients make New Year’s Resolutions, if they decide to make them, we never talk about resolutions about food. We instead talk about self care and compassion and silly things like…. Putting your clothes back on the hanger after you try them on.

In this blog, I wanted to talk about diet culture terms to watch out for in 2019. The reason being…. I feel it is important to call out diet culture. This is because diet culture can often be difficult to see. It can often be difficult to understand the ways it can shapeshift and insert itself into a “non-dieting approach” (making it  non-non-dieting). Once you see it, and are able to point it out. It gets WAY easier to un-see.

Please keep in mind: some of these below terms may seem harmless, so you may be a bit confused. That’s okay! I encourage you to keep an open mind and reach out if you have questions.

  Beware of these diet culture terms!

“Healthy” weight loss

“Intuitive/mindful eating to lose weight”

“Weight Management”

Firstly, I can empathize and understand why someone would want to lose weight. We get this messages ALL THE TIME that being smaller is better. And that you will be happier and healthier living life in a smaller body. We all have internalized weight stigma. I’d recommend you read more about weight stigma and diet culture by listening to Christy Harrison’s podcast, Food Psych. We are often taught that if we are not working on our bodies and making them “better” there is something wrong with us.

The reality is… any kind of intentional weight loss is harmful to our bodies, both physically and emotionally.

 Not to mention, that 95% of weight loss is not sustainable. This means weight loss, not matter if it’s “healthy” or not, has a 5% success rate. That’s pretty darn low. Our bodies, evolutionarily, do not like to be smaller than they were genetically programmed to be. Weight loss almost always involves some form of restriction.  Whether that’s “portion control,” cutting out foods or food groups or using behaviors as a way to compensate for eating. This then demonizes certain foods and put others on a pedestal, which in turn, makes eating way too confusing and brings us further away from the ability to listen to our bodies signals.

This intentional weight loss also then tells us that our bodies were “wrong” or “unworthy” in the first place.

Any human being, no matter their shape, size, gender, race…etc, is worthy of love and belonging. And it’s SO important for us to believe that for ourselves as well as other people.

Additionally, to comment on the intuitive eating piece, the majority of people who begin an intuitive eating journey, do not lose weight. Intuitive eating is a method to learn how to trust your body’s signals, nourish yourself properly and a journey in healing your relationship with food and body. Regardless of whether or not you lose weight. Working with an intuitive eating dietitian is so important along this journey.  They can guide you along each of the steps.

I wrote a blog about clean eating and it will have more information about my opinions of “eating clean” on there!

“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change”

Okay, so the diet industry is about a 70 billion dollar industry. Diet manufacturers, picked up on the fact that people don’t want “traditional diets” anymore. (Think: Weight Watchers changed its name to WW). So what did the diet industry do? It shapeshifted into something that seemed more like a “wellness” and “overall health” program.

But, if a “lifestyle change” involves some type of restriction, the pursuit of weight loss or changing your body, or feels like a “magic fix” it’s a diet. I’ve been there myself and have used these words with clients.

There is nothing wrong with making positive changes in your life, however we really have to take a look at what is going to benefit us in the long term. Because many times these “lifestyle changes” actually don’t last. And they can result in weight cycling (yo-yo dieting), frustration and disappointment as well as disordered eating and eating disorders. But, like any diet, it’s not your fault if it doesn’t “work” or you go back to “old habits.” Diets are set up to fail from the beginning, and then we go back and spend money on different diets.

“Lifestyle Changes” that cut out whole food groups or “ban” favorite foods aren’t sustainable, and can often be damaging to health in the long run!
So what to do instead?

1.Learn to appreciate your body

You don’t have to fall in love with your body and the way it looks to learn how to appreciate and respect it. This can be extremely difficult in a culture that has a narrow view of what bodies should look like. But what would it be like to take a radical move and start enjoying what your body can do? I’d recommend reading the books Body Respect by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor. As well as Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield.

2.Read Intuitive Eating

Have you heard of the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse  Resch? This book is all about learning how to listen to your body.

3.Listen to Non-Diet Podcasts.

Non-diet podcasts let you know that you’re not alone in this and there is a whole community out there who are against diet culture. Here are some recommendations: Food Psych with Christy Harrison, Body Kindness with Rebecca Scritchfield and The Love Food Podcast with Julie Duffy Dillon.

4.Work with a HAES © and anti-diet dietitian and therapist

Doing this work is not easy and you don’t have to do it alone. I so very much admire other non- and anti-diet dietitians who support their clients in finding that positive food and body relationship. Instead of taking advice from people who are trying to tell you what to eat, I recommend finding someone who is going to guide you in getting more in touch with your body’s signals.

To Wrap It All Up……

Unfortunately, we are going to see plenty of New Years resolution centered Diet Culture. I want you to remember that its the culture that’s the problem, NOT you or your body. Diet culture profits off of encouraging people to strive to reach unattainable standards. Diets are damaging to us, both physically and mentally. Instead, use this post and other resources to develop other types of goals for the new year. A few suggestions I have are 1) Take 10 minutes for yourself at the end of everyday to journal or draw ( or anything) to unwind. 2) Give a compliment everyday 3) Start a new hobby.

Talk to one of our amazing dietitians about ways to combat diet culture! To set up a phone call or an  appointment email us at admin@empoweredeatingrd.com. 

The post Diet Culture Terms to Look Out for in the New Year appeared first on Empowered Eating.

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