The Fuck It Diet is all about reclaiming your personal power. It's about listening to yourself, being a body rebel, and not letting any body else dictate your life. The Fuck It Diet is for you if you've been dieting, bingeing, and now feel like a food addict.
So many of us try to stick to diets, only to find ourselves bingeing, then restricting even more, then bingeing again, then restricting more, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo. Our eating is all over the place, our weight is all over the place, our sanity is all over the place, and we feel totally out of control with food.
So why does that happen? Why do so many of us seem to have such terrible will-power when it comes to what we put in our mouths?
It comes down to a very fundamental biological mechanism: Your body does not want you to restrict food. At all. In fact, when you restrict even just a small amount, your body responds with more fixation on food, irritability, higher stress hormones, slower metabolism and digestion, less energy, holding onto more weight… and bingeing.
That binge is your body is purposely forcing you off your diet. But because we still assume that our diet is the best thing for us, we turn around and try to restrict even harder, and then we fail even harder.
That’s the Yo Yo.
Here is the thing people never really realize: chronic yo-yo dieting is disordered.
And since eating disorders are a spectrum, the yo-yo diet is on the that spectrum. No it’s not necessarily anorexia or bulimia. (Though since yo-yos often include bingeing, there are yo-yo dieters who think they have Binge Eating Disorder. But what the bingeing really is, is a biological response to physical restriction).
Instead of letting ourselves eat, re-feed, and heal, we keep dieting harder, and that continued mental fixation on food and weight loss is where we perpetuate the disordered eating.
This means that there are wayyyyyyyy more eating disorders and disordered eaters than we think there are. And they go undiagnosed because we’ve been taught how normal it is to obsess over food and “losing a few”. We think it is normal to live in a chronic binge/repent cycle for the rest of our lives, blaming ourselves endlessly for our lack of willpower, and having the topic dominate our conversations with other women.
“Well I gained weight”, “Oh me too”, “No you look tiny!”, “Oh! Well thanks.” “I would do anything to not be obsessed with crackers.” “Tomorrow I’m gonna be good”. And on and on.
What is important to remember is that this cultural obsession with a tiny body is relatively new, and our cultural relationship to food is also new. Never did we treat food with such judgment and obsession. Never before did we try to abstain from arbitrary foods based on ever changing fads. Never before did we pray to be able to walk away from the table hungry. Never before would this kind of feeding and eating have made any sense.
And even though this way of eating is now extremely common, it is still disordered.
And our bodies are not having it.
We also believe that the only way to have an eating disorder is to be emaciated. NOT SO. You can be thin, middle ground, or very fat, and be suffering from a restrictive eating disorder. The difference here, is that the disorder will be praised.
I really, really hope that in the coming years we can start to have a different dialogue about health and food that is not so black and white. I hope we can move into a place that’s a lot more supportive of different body types, understanding weight science even more, and that a nourishing and intuitive version of eating can replace this restrictive madness.
(If you are suffering from an eating disorder, please seek treatment. The Fuck It Diet is geared towards yo-yo and chronic dieters, not extremely restrictive eating disorders. TFID will never stand in place of treatment, this is simply a supplement and not specifically geared towards anorexia. Check out The Eating Disorder Institute which is more geared towards EDs.)
We’ve been told that calories in versus calories out is how-weight-works.
“Eat less than you expend and you’ll lose weight”.
But this is what really happens:
“Eat less that you expend and you’ll lose weight at first, but then you’ll gain it all back and think it’s your fault- but it is actually because your body will compensate your metabolism in order to keep your weight stably around the same place, because biologically that is how we have survived as a species during all those years when food wasn’t as easy to ensure or come by.”
I understand that it’s a mind trip after the simplicity of calories in vs calories out.
Because first few times you dieted, I bet you really did lose weight easily. Then, when you gained it back, you were sure it was your fault. But it wasn’t. Your body made sure that that happened. And it even wanted you to go a bit ABOVE where you started, just for good measure.
But now you’re convinced that if you can just do it like you did the first time, you’ll lose weight again, but THIS time you’ll keep it off. This time you’ll do it right. This time you’ll succeed and be beautiful and happy foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr.
But it’s harder to do now because your body isn’t having any of this shit. You’ve already pressed your luck, and now your body is fighting back harder.
And even if you happen to muster the willpower to override your body’s efforts to make you eat and keep on weight, and even if you actually do lose weight again, your body will immediately lower your metabolism and make you expend less in order to eventually bring your weight back up. It will also wire you to crave more food than you ever would have wanted under normal eating and metabolic conditions.
It should be noted that increasing exercise will have the same effect. The body will encourage rest to make up for your exertion. And if you force more exertion, it’ll just slow down your system altogether.
There’s a good reason why Michael Phelps ate 12,000 calories a day. That’s what extreme exercise requires. (And it’s also around the amount that men rehabilitating from semi-starvation ate after the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.)
So, for any of you who thinks that weight is just a matter of decreasing your consumption, and are confused and frustrated that it’s not working anymore… it’s just because your body wants you to chill the eff out and start eating normally again.
It also wants you to put on weight.
You know why? Weight is actually healthy. Letting yourself gain weight actually is the only way to heal your metabolism.
Paradoxically, once you stop trying to control your appetite, and finally eat whatever it wants (even if that’s a LOT), it’ll heal. It’ll speed up. It’ll trust that there is food. And that is the surest way to have a healthy stable weight for you.
Ever since I started this site, I have been writing posts defending sugar. Fear of sugar is one of the most deeply ingrained diet beliefs, from people saying it causes disease and inflammation, to saying it’s as addictive as cocaine or herion. Sugar fear mongering is everywhere, it’s bullshit, and with the aid of actual science, I am going to defend it.
We think that restricting carbs and sugarwill help us burn fat, become healthy, and maybe even become immortal.
What is actually happening when we restrict carbs, is a crisis mode run by stress hormones that creates inflammation and a slow metabolism, and essentially adds to the likelihood of developing or worsening metabolic disorder, and every other inflammation-caused disease (every disease).
When you restrict carbs, you will burn fat in the beginning, but not sustainably, and it won’t last.
Chronic stress leads to inflammation and lowered immunity which often leads to disease.
Dieting leads to chronic stress, which leads to inflammation and lowered immunity which often leads to disease.
This is just one of the reasons why dieting is bad for your health. Not to mention malnutrition, etc.
Yes this is the opposite of what you have been told. This is the opposite of what I believed about sugar and my health (pcos/insulin resistance for years).
If you want it broken down even more, this is the most specific I have ever gotten with the science of restriction…
This is why restricting calories or restricting carbs, will backfire, raise stress-hormones, and hurt your health in the long-run:
Whenever our output exceeds our input – meaning you aren’t eating enough, resting enough, or aren’t eating enough carbs, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol, the two major stress hormones that help the body to create fast fuel for your cells.
Without fuel for our cells, we die. It’s that simple.
Sugar (glucose) is the most efficient fuel source for our cells, because it uses the least oxygen, makes the most usable energy, and creates the most carbon dioxide. And carbon dioxide removes calcium and sodium from cells, keeping them stable (and not inflamed).
The first stress hormone, adrenaline, finds glycogen in the muscles and liver to burn for fuel. After that, adrenaline will burn fat – which is not good for your health or metabolism, because adrenaline uses three times as much oxygen to burn fat for fuel, creates less carbon dioxide and less energy – which creates inflammation.
Adrenaline burns fat fast (and temporarily) but uses up oxygen, and leads to inflammation.
The second stress hormone, cortisol, will pull amino acids from the skin, thymus, and muscle, which are taken to the liver to be used for energy. This lowers thyroid function, digestive juices, body temperature, and pulse…
Cortisol impairs metabolism, digestion, assimilation, and nutrition.
So again: Restriction of calories, or restriction of carbs, lowers your metabolism and creates inflammation, and has you running on stress hormones.
In addition, any time you are in fight-or-flight (read: STRESS), a similar dynamic is taking place in your body which is why stress creates inflammation and an impaired system and metabolism.
This means that the stress of hating your body leads to inflammation and lowered immunity which can lead to disease.
… Being scared of what you just ate, feeling guilty that you’re full, or having general overwhelm when you eat leads to inflammation and lowered immunity which can lead to disease.
Sugar is an unfairly demonized macronutrient.
Sugar is really just pure fuel that keeps us alive minute to minute, actually can lower stress hormones, and is required in the blood at all times (blood sugar).
Denying the body easily accessible sugar requires the body to create glucose in a complicated process that raises stress hormones, creates inflammation, and impairs the metabolism.
The less you eat carbs, the more likely you will become chronically hypoglycemic. Your body perceives low blood sugar as a stressor which kicks adrenal glands into overdrive and pumps out stress hormones.
It also assumes you’re in starvation mode which will make it counteract with ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which keeps you hungry and slows down your metabolism.
Meaning, the less you eat carbs, the slower your body will burn fuel and the slower your metabolism becomes. And the worse your health will become – in the long run. And I promise you, that’s not what you’re looking for.
In this state, you are more likely to then binge and yo-yo, and stay perpetually in a whacked out glycemic roller coaster for all of your days.
You can also think about it this way: Sugar is meant to feel addictive when we aren’t eating enough of it — because we need it. And unlike other substances, when you actually let yourself eat it, it has a restorative and calming effect on the body and metabolism, and your body won’t feel addicted to it anymore.
Like oxygen and sleep. Eating carbs allows the appetite and body to calm down, and is the only way to experience easy, normal eating.
Or: What to Expect When You Are Expecting to Heal Your Eating Real Fast And Become Skinny
(For podcast listeners: You can join in on podcast Q&As and other fun rewards over on patreon. Also… if you’re curious why I am editing the F word, it’s because of itunes’ new rules. SMGDH)
Your personal journey will be different from mine, or your friend’s, or the people you connect with on the internet. That being said, there will mostly likely be overlap and similar experiences as well, so I am going to list some things many people experience, just so you’re prepared.
Hunger is the body’s way of repairing the body and metabolism. Lots of hunger is the natural healing response to the famine survival state. You will need to honor this hunger by eating.
Expect to be afraid of this hunger
You will be scared that you are never going to stop eating. You are going to be afraid that you will be this hungry forever. You are going to be afraid that without tight control, your eating will just keep going and going and going until you pop.
These fears are understandable but untrue, and ultimately, unhelpful. The more you can trust that eating is the only path to food normalcy, and a normalized appetite and metabolism, the quicker and easier it’ll be.
Whenever you’re panicking and doubting this whole process, just remember the famine. What would happen after a famine (or even a decade long semi-famine)? You’d be starving, you’d need to eat a lot more for a little bit, and then, naturally, things would go back to normal. And even if you have never experienced what normal appetite is, you will get there naturally, and eating is the only way. And fighting it is futile.
Expect to gain weight.
Trying to control your weight is the reason why you are now so messed up with food, and the reason weight becomes erratic and harder and harder to “control”. To heal the damaging starvation mode, you must gain weight. It is the only way to stop the cycle. This applies to you whether you are on the lower or higher end of the weight spectrum.
I know you want me to tell you that you are going to be ‘fighting the man’ and ‘rebelling against beauty ideals’ and eating a shit-ton and repairing your metabolism all while looking like an adorable, hairless, lithe fairy, but that’s not how this goes.
You are almost certainly going to gain weight. And it is actually an essential rite of passage on this journey.
It is also pretty much the only way to heal your metabolism. Remember the famine. What would happen after a famine? You’d gain weight. And then, only then, would the body be able to calm down and stabilize again and not hold onto every pound for dear life. No matter where you are, you can count on gaining some weight, and the more you resist it, the longer this whole process will take.
Expect to resist gaining weight
Your fear of gaining weight is one of the big root causes of your messed-up-eating, and always will be. So you need to face that fear — gaining some weight and learning to like yourself anyway is arguably the big rite of passage here, and will be a huge shift in your quality of life. If you attempt to skip this part, there is a part of this journey that will remain incomplete. You will remain petrified of what your life would be, and who you would be, at a higher weight.
Facing the fear of gaining weight will make all the difference ongoing, and make you able to continue eating normally as you go forward, understanding that your “worst fear has happened” and your life is still continuing to get better than before.
Expect to slowly stop fixating on food
This will take months, but the more you eat, and the more you allow the things that you used to be petrified of, the less you will find yourself fixating on food. This is both biological – as the body becomes more and more fed, but also just mental, you take away the power a food when you truly let yourself eat it.
Expect your weight will stop yo-yo-ing
Once you become normal and neutral with food, and once your body knows there is food, your weight will stabilize, easily, right around where it is supposed to be.
You will always fluctuate, that is human, but the dramatic weight gain and loss will stabilize. Weight stabilization looks different on everyone, but it will be healthy for you. And if you can surrender to that, the rest of this will be a breeze.
Expect to start having energy and brain space to focus on other things
The whole point of The F It Diet is to have food lose its power over you so you can focus on more soul fulfilling, life-enhancing things. The goal is to free up the energy that you’ve been spending on how perfect your protein bar collection is, and start focusing on doing things that actually enhance your life, things that make you feel good and alive and creatively fulfilled. And maybe even enjoying yourself while you do it. Wouldn’t that be amAZing?
I was taught, just like most people, that thin was healthy, and not-thin was not-healthy.
I was also taught that thin was beautiful and that not-thin was not beautiful.
And that if for some reason you were living your life at a not-thin and “not-optimal” weight, then you should do everything you could to make sure your clothes are as “flattering” as possible to give the illusion of as much thinness as your current condition will allow.
It turns out that not only is that fucking messed up and infantilizing and glamorizing the bodies of women who look like they can’t digest food, but it’s all relatively new. We learned that ‘skinniness is beauty’ only in the last century, and we’ve subscribed to it.
What that means is that we can unlearn it. Just like you learned to like, and then unlike, bell bottoms… you can learn and unlearn to see different body types as beautiful. What I would encourage you to do, is to expand your definition of what beauty is, instead of just trying to change it.
The single biggest thing that made The F It Diet work for me, was my shift in my relationship to weight.
My newfound willingness to accept wherever my weight fell was the thing that made this work.
Accepting your weight and totally relearning the way you see yourself will, without a doubt, be the hardest part of this journey.
You have already tried to fight your weight, maybe even for decades, and now here you are, probably still secretly hoping that The F It Diet will give you the key to unlocking your tiny body…
No. It’s not. What this whole thing will unlock for you, however, is the body and weight you are supposed to have, plus your best chance at a normal appetite, a normal relationship with food, and weight stabilization.
If you think that letting your weight fall where it may is unacceptable, you’re still in denial about what trying to control your weight has done to you and will continue to do to you and your weight and heart and mind for the rest of your life.
If your weight still keeps ending up higher than it was when you started your diet, that’s all thanks to your survival mechanism and starvation response, and it is purposely upping your weight in preparation for the next famine. That will keep happening.
When I tell you your best bet is to drop the fight, I really mean it. More dieting and more attempts to lower your weight is just going to do the opposite of what you want it to do.
The best option is to accept where your body wants to be, treat your body well, feed it, love it, and let it calm down. You will probably end up somewhere in the middle of where you’ve yo-yoed. You may spend some time at the top of where you’ve yo-yoed. You really can’t do anything about it. You’ve tried.
Your body is gonna keep fighting back until you are an old woman, complaining about her pant size. And we deserve better passions than our pant size. So you may as well learn to befriend it.
I know this is all easier said than done. I know there is way more fear, and social stigma, personal judgment, and health fear, and more that goes into doing this. I know it’s not simple, but there is no other option except continuing the mania and misery you are experiencing right now. Your choice.
This is not a full episode, instead it’s an announcement about the podcast schedule to come in the new year, and do one Q&A, and also talk about hurting my back. Etc. Fun times. Ttalk to you in the new year!
(I’m doing an experiment where I publish new articles and podcast episodes at the same time, on the same content, and see how that goes. If you want to ask questions for the podcast, you can become a podcast insider over at Patreon by clicking here.)
When you start a meal thinking, “I shouldn’t eat too much of this,” that’s a diet.
Meaning: it’s diet mentality, it’s fear of food, fear of amounts, an attempt at controlling from the outside in, it’s fear of weight, and fear and mistrust of your appetite.
Instead, thinking, “I don’t know that I want all of this” is a totally different story. That’s legit, you don’t have to be hungry for everything on your plate. You don’t have to want the food that is in front of you. But thinking ‘I shouldn’t eat too much of this.’ ????
Why? Because a diet book once told you how much you should be hungry for? Because getting full scares you? WHY?
If eating a meal, or eating certain food has the power to make you gain weight, you probably need to gain weight. Hear that again:
If satiating your hunger makes you gain weight, you probably need to gain weight.
Meaning, metabolically, if eating a big meal is going to change your weight? You should probably let it, because the main reason our weight yo-yos is because we are chronically underfed and metabolically compromised.
Eat your fucking food. Food shoulds are bullshit. External, food-fearing, amount-fearing portion control is a diet.
Last night I was extremely tired, and hadn’t eaten as much as a I normally do, but nothing in my fridge sounded good. So I decided to just go to bed. (Something up until recently was impossible. I am a BIG supporter of the midnight snack.)
“Huh, I’m not really hungry.”
And then the thought, maybe I’ll lose weight passed by. It was like a ghost.
“Woa, I remember that…”
I remember feeling that way – every day.
It flashed by, and I remembered all of the ways I used to feel. Every day, I hoped that my actions would result in weight loss. That was the ultimate goal. And of course, if I did anything that I thought was going to jeopardize that, I would panic. The attempt to control my weight was my #1 most important activity.
And that meant that when I did lose weight, I felt like I had won. Complete elation. I felt like I could conquer the world. But the downside of course, is that as soon as I felt like had won, I had to figure out how to make it last. All my happiness and confidence rested on the fact that I was a little bit smaller than I was the day or week before. And I immediately became extremely stressed that it wouldn’t last. That I would fail AGAIN.
Believing that there was a way to lose weight and keep it off forever, I was so frustrated with myself that I hadn’t figured it out yet. Why did my food obsession keep getting in the way?
And if losing weight was elation, gaining weight was misery. Complete horror, panic, guilt, and discomfort. I immediately felt uncomfortable in my body and wanted to crawl out of my skin.
Not because I was actually physically uncomfortable, but more because the association I made to being in my skin, which was a CLEAR SIGN that I had FAILED MY MISSION, was mentally and emotionally painful.
So having that thought yesterday was truly like a ghost, I had a flash of all the past feelings that used to go along with that thought “maybe I’ll lose weight because of this”.
And my good news is, I do not feel that way anymore – at all. The ghost made my remember and pity all the wasted time, and all the people in this world still stuck wasting time chasing something that doesn’t work – and would never make you happy even if it did.
Today I cover politics, how being paleo led me to the f it diet, and podcast insider questions about vegetarianism, and my take on “trying to prevent binges”. Become a podcast insider at patreon.com/carolinedooner
6 years ago I was in living at home with my parents for the Holidays doing a show at a local professional theater, trying to eat like a paleolithic cave woman, cheating and bingeing on bananas and paleo ginger snaps I made out of almond flour, then lying in bed, filled with bananas and cashews, promising that I would actually ‘do what I was supposed to do’ and eat only lamb and kimchi the next day.
Every single night I was furious with myself because of bananas and cashews and almonds and honey.
I told everyone I was sensitive to gluten and all grains. Beans had too much phytic acid, duh. And fruit was like a dangerous treat only for christmas when you could eat like a half a clementine.
And chocolate was ok but only if it was 99% and tasted like charcoal.
This was the last ditch effort after 10 years of extreme dieting trying to cure myself.
I was trying to heal my hormones and it didn’t fucking work because hormones aren’t healed by eating like a starving cave man or like a fruitarian. But who knew! Nobody told me that. Doctors told me to keep my weight down. So like a good little girl, 16 years ago, I fucking trusted them, and I trusted every other magazine and message board that told me to fear body fat. I was a good patient. I was determined to be responsible. Healthy. Beautiful. Successful.
I was fucking insane around food, but I was determined. It wasn’t working. But I kept getting on that diet horse, again and again, even though it was literally killing me and bucking me off and trying to trample me year after year after year.
And 10 years of diets later I was walking by mirrors, totally dysmorphic, wondering how I could cure my weak, weak human hunger and finally become healthy.
Then almost 6 years ago, The Fuck It Diet, like an angel, descended upon me on my 24th birthday and whispered in my ear “fuck this shit and all of this skinny, beauty-obsessed BS. Also, food, and weight, and eating aren’t bad for you. Go buy some bigger pants and eat some potatoes.”
I went on The Fuck It Diet, started this site and movement, have been teaching it ever since, and lived Happily Ever After.
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