Why I Kicked Out Diet and Welcomed All Shapes and Sizes

Dietitian. The first four letters spell a word that continues to hit the headlines. Every week there’s a new diet fad that seems to be the cure to all the world’s problems. And let me tell you, dietitians are very rarely the leaders of those movements.

I did a little Google search on some of the latest diet fads to see what the headlines had to say…

These are the Foods You Absolutely Must Cut Out While on the Keto Diet
10 Things You Must Do To Lose Weight on the Whole30
The 25 Worst Foods For Fat Loss

To keep it short, I’ll tell you one word that comes to mind when I read these headlines – restrictive. And restriction can very quickly lead to disordered eating, which can very quickly transform into an eating disorder. Words like "absolutely", "must" and "worst" should never be used in the realm of food and nutrition. Those words and those headlines make nutrition, body size and shape appear to be a "one size fits all" mechanism. And that is just not the case.

People are so much more than the numbers that pop up on their scale. They are intricately designed, some with bigger chests, wider hips and thicker legs. And that’s great! Let’s celebrate the fact that we aren’t all carbon copies of each other!

I am a firm believer in the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement. HAES is a movement that "supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control)." Here's a direct quote from HAES website on eating with an anti-diet approach that I suggest you read more than once --

Eating in a flexible and attuned manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite, while respecting the social conditions that frame eating options.

So compare the wording used here - "values", "flexible", "respect." How much more freeing are those words to follow than the ones previously shared? We should be welcoming in nutrition and health into our lives to take care of our bodies and personal health. Not because society tell us we should weigh less than we do or that our hips shouldn't take up as much space as they do.

The obesity epidemic only continues to worsen, leaving the diet industry launching (or re-launching) one size fixes all diets on the regular. What people have to be made more aware of are the many factors that can lead to poor eating or lifestyle habits (i.e. depression, stress, comparison, etc.). Those pieces of the puzzle are what we need to spend more time addressing, not your waist measurement and body mass index (BMI).

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Let the evidence do the talking. If you have a medical condition that warrants a certain diet or major lifestyle change, by all means follow it. But if you're just looking to get and stay healthy, don't try to stay with the fads. Meet with a registered dietitian, start learning what a balanced lifestyle and mindful eating looks like for you and by all means show the body you are in some love! You deserve it!

Dylan MurphyComment