A World Without Dieting

If dieting never existed, what would your relationship with food be like?

Just think about it for a minute.

How would you eat if you’d never learnt to diet?

Would you wake up feeling confused and stressed about food?
Would you feel guilty and ashamed about eating something you “shouldn’t”?
Would you still binge? Label food as “good” or “bad”? Hate your body?

Diets promise simple and easy weight loss. Pictures of happy, thin people accompany diet propaganda. “Lose weight and life will be perfect – just eat how we tell you” is the message.

But that’s not the reality.

The reality is that dieting is a risk factor for both obesity and eating disorders.

In a large-scale study of 9 to 14 year-olds, dieting was associated with an increase in binge eating and weight gain in both girls and boys.

Data from another study revealed that teenage girls aged 14-15 with no previous weight issue who dieted were more likely to be overweight by the age of 18 than girls who didn’t.

In another significant study of 14 and 15 year-olds, those who dieted moderately were 5 times more likely to develop an eating disorder. For those who dieted severely, the risk increased to 18 times more likely. The study concluded that dieting is the most important predictor of developing an eating disorder.

How many of us started dieting when we were teenagers?

And where are you now with food and weight?

Rather than helping us to reduce in size, dieting is making us bigger and getting rich off the profits.

It’s a sobering fact that the global weight loss industry this year will be worth $422.8 billion.

“Yeah, but…”, you might say.

“Yeah, but diets work while you’re on them”. The truth is, if you regain the weight you’ve lost, the diet hasn’t worked.

“Yeah, but we need to do something about obesity rates”. The truth is, dieting is contributing to the rates of obesity, not helping them.

“Yeah, but if we don’t diet, what else do we do?” The truth is, what we need to do is heal our relationship with food.

It’s time to cultivate a natural, normal relationship with food. The relationship we would be having, had diet culture not interfered. A relationship founded on a caring attitude towards our bodies, where we respect our natural instincts of hunger, preference and satiety.

Where we eat without guilt. Where we inhabit our bodies without shame. Where we live our lives free from obsession and distress about food. Where we work with our metabolism to be the weight our bodies determine.

This isn’t just some flight of fancy. It’s serious.

It needs to happen for the sake of generations to come.

Kids need healthy self-esteem, a positive body image and a normal relationship with food.

We all do.

There is no ‘yeah, but...’

A world without dieting begins with individuals. Those of us prepared to reject dieting because it doesn’t work and is a danger to health.

Those of us willing to say “I value and appreciate my body even though it doesn’t fit the diet culture ideal”.

Those of us who commit to having a peaceful relationship with food and ourselves.

Diets fail at least 95% of the time.

If you had a friend who lied to you, took your money and let you down 95% of the time, would you still be friends with them?

I hope not.

You deserve better.

Happy International No Diet Day, everyone.

32 thoughts on “A World Without Dieting

  1. I love “International No Diet Day”! There’s so much misinformation out there about body size and metabolism and diets. There’s no way to know what my body would be like if I hadn’t had such disordered eating – and disordered thinking about it – for decades, but I do know that my teenage kids are hearing me counter the diet nonsense with real information and a simple joy in food and movement. Helps that I have a big ol’ belly of menopause that I’m kinda celebrating – no body shame here, lol! Thanks for the post, Julie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, the big ol’ menopause belly – I know it well! No shame in that at all – our bodies change at menopause as they do at puberty. I think countering diet culture misinformation and modelling a positive relationship with food and movement are the best things you can do for kids, and it’s so important. Happy International No Diet Day, Karen. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Since I’ve a had a life long battle with my weight, diet and dieting were foremost in my mind all the time. It’s only now I have that built a healthy relationship with food.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think lasting change has to come from a place of self-awareness and self-compassion – that’s how we know what’s right for us. Too often we attempt to impose regimes on ourselves, and that just doesn’t work. Thanks, Jeanne, good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad there is a no diet day. As a mom of a recovering anorexic , I feel strongly about the amount of wrong information that is available on the internet. I
    A good lifelong relationship with food and exercise is what I want to aim for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deepa, I’m sorry to hear about your child’s struggle with anorexia – I hope they’re doing OK. I can understand your feelings about the misinformation that contributes to developing eating disorders. It’s so dangerous. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I hope you and your family are all well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a mom of a kid who fell prey to this misinformation, I really hope we can do something to prevent this from happening to any other child. If there is some way by which we can put up enough information about the misinformation on every platform, I will be happy to be involved in it. Can you believe there are videos that talk about the calories in water and how one should reduce the intake of water if one wants to reduce weight… We can also argue that people who buy into these kind of misinformation are also to be blamed equally.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree that pro-anorexia sites are shocking and I don’t think social media providers do nearly enough to eradicate such harmful misinformation. It must be heart-breaking for any parent whose child falls victim to it. Many thanks for your comment, Deepa.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. No Diet Day, should be a Diet-Free World in my opinion. These are some pretty scary statistics. I was a child that faced dieting in my early years and was told things like ‘you’d look so pretty, IF you just lost a couple of pounds, not much, just a couple…’ You’re right, we all have a role to play in healing relationships with food because it’s also in the way we speak to others, the content of our conversations, the way we treat our friends, children, and so on. A future without dieting and where instead we focus on self-care, balanced eating and loving ourselves… how amazing would that be?!
    Fab post as always xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s sounds wonderful, Caz – where do I sign up?! “You’d look so pretty if…” is code for “you’re unacceptable to me”, that’s how we process those comments when we’re kids. And always the emphasis on how girls look – not on their character and innate worth. Thanks for giving us your thoughts, how are you doing these days?

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      1. It’s sad, isn’t it, to think how many must get that same message of “you’re unacceptable to me”.
        My health has been rather rocky but it’s been a perkier day today so I’m attempted a little desperate catching up on writing work & the blogging world. Aside from my health, I’ve just been heartsick with the current events.. much like most of us I imagine, it’s hard to stomach how the governments are handling things. How’re you managing, are you doing okay, Julie?xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t complain, Caz – my family and friends are all OK, and I’m still working. Also enjoying days off in the garden when the weather’s good. Glad to hear you’ve had a better day today, look after yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing!!… there are some things about us we cannot change so I believe what is important is eat healthy and be happy and accept who you are… as Popeye the sailor said “I yam what i yam and that is all that I yam”… “Confidence is knowing who you are and not changing it a bit because of someone’s version of reality is not your reality.” (Shannon L. Alder)… 🙂

    Hope all is well with you and yours, all your tomorrows are filled with happiness and life is all that you wish for it to be!.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel as though, more than ever, diet culture is fabricating so much fear into everyday life for people. We live in a society where we instill this idea that instead of eating for pleasure or comfort, drink water two cups of water because it will satisfy you cravings…

    We teach kids food which food are right to eat, and which ones will make them fat. Thus creating “fatphobia” in young naive children.

    I wrote a post on my blog, writing about diet culture and the “Quarantine 15,” and I would love if you could check it out and tell me what you think!

    https://therosebud.blog/the-quarantine-15/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right that diet culture is extremely pervasive, and that we need to be careful how we speak to kids about food and their bodies. I’m happy to check out your post when I get a minute. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. As long as that “lifestyle change” comes from within us and is aligned with what we truly want, otherwise it can be just another regime we attempt to impose on ourselves, like dieting. Many thanks for your comment.

      Like

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