The Food Peace Challenge Manifesto

Why Diet?
Why Diet?

Before you pick out another New Year’s resolution diet, I beg you to reconsider. If diets work, why do you end up on one every year?

Diets come from a 60 billion dollar a year industry. Billion. These rich folks tell us we can’t trust ourselves around food, and we need them. Their lists, supplements, gimmicks, books, potions, rules, lies. We have trusted the diet industry with our lives, but are we actually healthier?

Instead of bringing us closer to health, chronic diseases are increasing. So are eating disorders, the most life threatening of all mental illnesses. Diets promise weight loss yet I challenge you to find one weight loss study with a low drop out rate showing weight maintenance for more than two years. This research stops by one year because after that weight starts to be regained. Instead of the weight loss industry, we need to rename it the weight cycling industry. My frustration: we give this industry our hard-earned money and it doesn’t even work.

I am calling out the diet industry as money hungry frauds. Instead of bringing us health, peace, and weight loss they are robbing us of joy.

There is an alternative way to eat and promote health. I challenge you to live one year without dieting. Less Scale PowerInstead of categorizing foods into eat this not that, resolve to live your life. What will one year without dieting look like?

Reconnect with Your Eating Wisdom

Life without rigid food lists may bring to mind bingeing, food chaos, or unhealthy living. At least that is what diet
companies sell us to believe. Instead of a list of safe foods, let your body decide how much to eat and what to choose from. You may have seen a baby cry when hungry and show contentment when satisfied. This system is well-known and trusted. You were the same at birth and designed to let hunger, satiety, and fullness direct you toward healthy eating. What changed? You were told to diet and this distracts and leads to distrusting signals. The more you’ve dieted, the farther you may be from this internal regulation system.

Exercise does not give permission to eat. Being alive does that.
Exercise does not give permission to eat. Being alive does that.

I want to help you reconnect to your innate wisdom. Attuned eating, also called Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, has been shown to support and improve health while healing one’s relationship with food. You can find more confidence building discussions on attuned eating within future blog posts and among those using #FoodPeaceChallenge on Twitter.

Reconnect with Exercise

While healing your relationship with food, be mindful of how exercise complicates things. Do you have to go to the gym after eating too much? Do you only eat fun food after working out? Although common, these are eating disorder behaviors. When we view exercise as purely calories in, calories out we are missing the point. The human body is designed to move and using exercise as a penance makes it a short-lived experience. I encourage you to find movement your body enjoys. This can become life long. A perk: joyful balanced movement further enhances your body’s eating wisdom.

Reconnect with You

Dieting places food in the forefront of our perception and dictates whom we eat with and where we socialize. It keeps us out of the present. Food does not deserve this power. It is time to reclaim the driving position in your own life. The Food Peace Challenge will help you reclaim your power.

Yes, this will be tough and I believe you can do it! If you desire this reconnection to food, movement, and your body please join me. I will be blogging, chatting, and posting using #FoodPeaceChallenge throughout 2015. If you need more support, consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist trained in eating disorders and Health at Every Size approaches. Together, you can find the space to heal.

And reconnect with joy.

Body love promotes health.

Jess Weiner, body image activist, wrote a recent Glamour Magazine article: Jess Weiner’s Weight Struggle: “Loving My Body Almost Killed Me. Earthquake-like experiences flow through the eating disorder and Health at Every Size (HAES) communities with this courageous article. I am an active member within both communities and reading this article has been like learning Dr. Dean Ornish is now following the Atkins Diet. A body image warrior is on a diet.
Part of the debate focuses on whether Ms. Weiner is focusing on health or weight loss or both. This matters significantly because mindful eating experts value health and health promotion without calorie restriction. Mindful eating, a core principle within HAES, also focuses on behaviors that help a body feel healthier. Weight loss can be a side effect of this yet weight loss is not a behavior. It can’t be predicted and it’s not as important as the behavior change.
Ms. Weiner is honestly talking about both health and weight loss. And, although her experiences are her own, I respectfully (I do own her books!) disagree with some of her assumptions based on her own body loving experiences.
Ms. Weiner describes her body acceptance leading to unhealthy eating and exercise choices with proud permission to do so. Further, I am led to believe that in her description, loving one’s body is mutually exclusive with not choosing health promoting food and movement. 
As a strong proponent of HAES, I’m saddened this article equates self acceptance with promoting unhealthy eating, exercising, and living. That sounds more like a teenager rebelling against an over-controlling parental voice. If you’ve met with me in individually, you may have discussed this exact experience. Many people who’ve experienced disordered eating and/or years of diets will notice this teenage-like rebellion message. It is part of the process of healing. And, when acknowledged and sorted through, it is temporary. It is not HAES or loving one’s body. The rebellious teen voice contributes to another external motivator to eat or exercise. Just like a diet.
Loving one’s body is living in the present with it. Mindfulness allows the body to talk to the mind and vice versa. It is being aware of the conversations between the two and how they influence each other. Loving one’s body using a HAES approach seeks to unite mind and body while calmly, in one’s adult voice, letting the teenager and parent in your brain know they aren’t needed right now. 
I hope Ms. Weiner experiences health while she loves her body. At the same time. Listening for her adult voice, she can experience both.