(155) F*ck off diet culture.

Diet culture is literally everywhere: in safe spaces, sacred spaces, and progressive spaces. How do you break up with diets when the world celebrates their worth and demands their adherence? Listen to the latest Love Food podcast episode to give you mojo as you radically reconnect with your body.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

I want to share the work going on within Decolonizing Fitness. The person behind it, Ilya Parker, is a trans person of color Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Exercise Coach with over 13 years of rehabilitative and functional training experience. He is a social justice advocate and educator whose work centers gender, racial and healing justice.

He decided to merge his love for restorative based movement practices and community advocacy to create Decolonizing Fitness, LLC; which is a social justice platform that provides affirming fitness services, community education and apparel in support of body diversity. Check out www.decolonizingfitness.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I am not sure if you and I can ever have a peaceful relationship. Lately, I am exhausted with recovery and the daily struggles of trying to eat intuitively, feeling like I am failing, and wanting to change my body. It feels like there is too much stress in my life that I do not have any energy left to try to go against the mainstream’s ideas on food and dieting that on bad days I wish that I had never heard of intuitive eating and embarked on this journey.
I realized that we had a complicated relationship after reading Intuitive Eating for the first time. I bought it on a whim, looking for an end to the food and exercise tracking madness, but still desperately wanting to change my body. I wanted to teach myself the “right” way to eat. I thought I was doing well, eating intuitively, and generally feeling at peace. This was until it was pointed out to me that I was following the “intuitive eating” diet, and this realization launched a pretty steep decline in my recovery. I know that the behaviors I had were not healthy and that at one time I realized that I needed help with them. But since I am not able to separate Intuitive Eating with the “intuitive eating” diet, I am so confused and apprehensive to try to re-learn it. Was everything I had learned the last 3 years completely wrong and how could I have missed the mark so much? Part of me wants recovery and the other part of me knows it will continue to be very challenging and I do not feel like I have it in me to stay on this path. I don’t think I can go back to how I was before, but I continue to be in what feels like a half-recovered space. Working through my disordered food behaviors illuminated that I have a lot of personal trauma and feelings that I was using disordered behaviors to cover up and deal with. As I work through those, I notice the disordered food behaviors creeping back in like an old friend, wanting to help me cope.
I realize diet culture is everywhere. And because it is everywhere, I feel exhausted by constantly defending my position to people and not giving in to the allure of what I know now to be another diet. My extended family gatherings that involve food consist of comments about amounts of food, “good/bad” food, needing to “work off” the food, or some special ingredient that will save us all from disease. Yoga has been a refuge but walking into the studio I might read a flyer for a weight loss cleanse, overhear conversations about diets, hear body negativity from other yogis and even some of the teachers. I attended a yoga teacher training informational session, thinking it would be a good challenge for myself to take my yoga practice to a new level and left feeling completely defeated after learning that one of the training modules was around “how to eat like a yogi”. Sharing my own baked treats with co-workers inevitably invites a litany of body and diet comments as well as their own personal justifications for eating or not eating the food I brought. I created an Instagram account for my dog because I thought it would be a fun way to share the funny things he does. Do you know how much diet culture permeates instagrams about dogs? A lot. I cannot shut off the continuous diet culture that is everywhere in my life. Something has to change.
Perhaps I am not fully on board with Intuitive Eating and HAES and that there are still pieces of diet culture I am hanging on to. All I know right now, food, is that I am mad. I am mad that I know that my food behaviors aren’t healthy for me but that I want to keep doing them because it felt like I was in control. I have so much shame for having this problem at all that I can hardly admit it to myself. I justify this by fully embracing that I hate my body and that, of course, then the disordered eating makes sense. I am so tired of starting over with different therapists, finding yet another book that I put my salvation into, hoping that, yes, maybe this one will click and I will magically love my body and I will become a true Intuitive Eater. Will I ever feel normal around you, food? Will I ever want to take care of my body instead of punishing myself for making a mistake at work, getting into an argument with a loved one, or accidentally reading a diet message on a magazine cover and feeling self-loathing? Can I enjoy you, food, without feeling an intense desire to want to exercise or restrict later? Can I trust you, food, knowing that my IBS may cause days or weeks of intense intestinal pain and fear of you, food? Will I be able to go to my doctor and not be completely obsessed for weeks after accidentally seeing my weight (and shame for feeling good that it was lower than what I thought)? It all feels too much, and I feel entirely un-grounded. I realize that this letter is even contradictory, stating that I wish I could have my old food behaviors back and also knowing that I have learned and made progress. I am just not sure, food, that I am on the right path, or even what the right path is.
Wanting to Check Out

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

(147) My sport demands I stay at a lower weight (with Kristie Amadio).

Are you into a sport while trying to move away from diets? Does your sport demand you to keep your weight low?  push you into a weight class that is not consistent with your body wants to weigh? Have you been told you will be better at your sport while at a lower weight? Listen up because this episode of the Love Food Podcast explores this topic featuring Kristie Amadio from RecoveredLiving.com.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘lovefood’ at check out through the month of February 2019.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear food,

I have written and re-written this letter so many times, but we need to talk.

Our relationship has always been rocky, coming from an americanised easter-european family, and after flirting with several eating disorders I thought I had finally broken free from restricted eating.

But then I became a boxer. Not just a lunchtime class, fitness, instagram boxer, but a fighter.

I love boxing, I love fighting and the sense of ultimate conquering I get from coming out on top and training so hard; but my relationship with you has been abused and almost destroyed in my quest to become a champion.

Within the combat industry there is a prevailing, toxic undercurrent of weight loss and diet culture expectations; crystallised in the dangerous ritual that is the weight cut.

Cutting weight is often a combination of severe restriction, forced dehydration and over exercise; and in my fight history I have done all to the extreme. This has caused not only our trust to erode, but also extreme weight cycling by about 20lbs a cut.

I am now trying to engage with intuitive eating and the HAES community after a big scare where my last cut almost landed me in the hospital. I have just started to see a anti-diet dietician who was blown away by the sheer volume of HAES resources I have consumed in my quest for health and pleasurable eating.

I am slowly increasing the amount and variety of you that I consume, but I am still stuck on true eating permission due to my fear around my club and my coach.

I am heavy, food, and I always have been. I am stocky and short for my weight and to make matters worse my family has a history of having great bone density; which probably means that I can never lose as much weight as I need to for the “fight advantage.”

While working overseas I was able to train on the fight team of a female coach. It was a mind blowing experience as far as food freedom and body positivity goes; I felt so free and proud to be my size!

I was allowed to fight very close to my walk-around weight, and even though I was 4 inches shorter than my opponent I felt fit, and fuelled, and strong.

Now back in my home country I am back at my home gym, and although I love and respect my male coach and my almost all male teammates I am so scared and anxious about the thought of gaining weight!

I don’t know if he will let me fight close to my walk around weight, but even if he does I am scared that permission to eat sweets will skyrocket my weight upwards; forcing me to undertake another dangerous weight cut.

I’m scared, food. I wrestle with guilt every time we’re at the table and you are in a regular portion size or contain “bad” carbohydrates.

There are bountiful resources for your average Jane looking to undertake the intuitive eating journey, but there are precious few for serious athletes of size like myself.

I am sick and tired of compulsively moving all day, over training, and under fueling and undernourishing my body so everything hurts when I do the smallest things like climb the stairs or pat my dog.

I’m the fittest and strongest I’ve been in my life, but I’m scared about losing that again just to make a stupid weight I’m not supposed to be.

I want to fully engage with you again, food, and have a healthy relationship where I can fuel my training and have eating competence and satisfaction!

My fear of perceived judgement from my ringmates and coach is holding me back.

How can I feel better about my bigger body in a room of lean athletes? How can I stop comparing myself to my sole female training partner who is as skinny and shredded as they come? How can I stay off the scale and retain my food choice autonomy without feeling guilt towards my coach? And how can I be proud and confident of the amazing things I can do, and my size, despite falling outside the norm of today’s media “athletes?”


fighting diet culture.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

(138) I keep eating out of anger and spite. Will I ever eat intuitively?

Have you decided to ditch diets and rely on hunger yet stuck? Maybe you are like many other people and find yourself so angry, always rebeling, and eating in spite of the false truths you’ve been told: diets will fix you and your body is not acceptable. Oooooh the lies you’ve been told! Pull up a chair and let’s discuss what to do next on this latest Love Food Podcast episode. This episode covers the 6 keys to Food Peace.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food,

I’ve been through ED treatment, which allowed me to have MUCH less stress in my life about food and dieting.

But now, I have so much freedom, but I’m not one bit interested in eating intuitively.

I’m almost eating in spite of everything I used to believe: I’m bad, I’m too fat, I’m unhealthy, I’m rebellious, I’m holding myself back from so many opportunities by being so large, etc.

Eating intuitively is hard when you’re SO angry.

Is this “eating whatever I want when I want” ever going to become normal? I just wish i didn’t have to think about this.


Training yet Confused

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

6 Keys to Food Peace™

“With every diet ending, I failed three times: the diet didn’t work, I’m a quitter, and I’m still fat.” ~A quote from a woman at diet rock bottom

Have you been dieting for as long as you can remember and hate your body?

Do you feel addicted to food?

Do you binge or emotionally eat and tried everything to just eat normally?

This is diet rock bottom and there is hope. While most nutrition books teach you quick fix diets, Food Peace™ takes you on a journey.

This post serves to give you the basic framework to heal your relationship with food and eat normally without binging and without dieting. I write this post after 20 years working with people at diet rock bottom looking for another way to relate to food. They didn’t want to hate their body anymore and they knew diets weren’t working. After witnessing what it took for them to take these brave steps, I have gathered 6 key strategies to make the Food Peace journey.

This post is designed to read from beginning to end because the 6 keys build upon each other. The keys are also designed to be revisited when your Food Peace journey becomes bumpy and challenging. It can help you gather more healing tools by reading the parts you need in the moment.


If diets work why do you go on them every year? Dieting is a 61 billion dollar industry and an estimated 45 million Americans diet each year. The public is taught to need diets. Health professionals are taught dieting is a sign of self-care. You trust the diet industry with your life, but are you actually healthier? No.

Food Peace shows you how dieting is behind the weight changes, bingeing, and negative body image. Instead of improving your health, diets fuel your unhealthy relationship with food and promote body hate.

But if you have dieted your whole life, how do you eat? Every time you try to stop dieting, the binges begin. Eating without a diet plan feels scary and out of control.

Food Peace begins your journey by teaching you the first key, how to Respect your body. The teaching is more like unlearning the oppressive rules that dictate how you eat and move. You may not accept your body the way it looks today, and learning how to respect it by unlearning can help you step away from diets with less chaos.

Acknowledge your diet history. How many times have you tried to lose weight? You have pushed, tortured, cut out, abstained, and hungered long enough. Respect as it relates to Food Peace acknowledges that diets have only harmed and failed to produce long term results. You weren’t weak or lacking character. Diets didn’t work because you are a successful human that through evolution have been wired to survive famine.

You don’t have to love this part. Or love your body. You don’t even have to accept your eating or body.

Rather, let’s gently acknowledge that the tools you were given were flawed. They weren’t the right tools. They will never work.

Diets didn’t work for you because they don’t work.

Try with compassion to opt out of diet culture and the pursuit of weight loss. Keep in mind you don’t need to be fixed and it is ok if you don’t believe me yet on this.

Explore more within this first key, Respect:

It’s not body love or acceptance first, it’s respect.

Weight loss is a seductive fantasy, here’s why.

You’ve been lied to and here’s the proof.

Am I letting myself go?

There’s a reason why you feel chaotic around food.

Can you relate: “I don’t want to diet yet I don’t like my body.”

Sometimes Food Peace feels sad.


I appreciate the shame you are holding onto because diets didn’t work for you. It’s not your fault since diets are a shitty tool. You’ve been manipulated by big oppressive systems and massive rich corporations to believe you are to blame.

Because you’ve been successfully manipulated, you are wearing a very heavy shame cloak. I want you to identify shame’s role in your complicated relationship with food. Bingeing and food addiction experiences connect to diet culture’s manufactured shame and lack of permission for pleasure.

You haven’t fallen off the wagon all these years. It is time to burn that wagon down.

Connecting with who is to blame usually brings on a flood of anger. Ouch it can hurt and be uncomfortable especially if you don’t have permission to feel anger. I encourage you to experiment with permission for anger.

This pissed off rage makes up the second key Release. It is a vital part of fueling the Food Peace journey. It gives you the direction and places the blame where it belongs: off you and onto cultural systems like white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. And wow, is that heavy.

Food Peace in this place may feel scary and exhilarating. It won’t feel like you are connecting with hunger or fullness because this Release takes up so much space. You may literally feel as though you are full of anger that hunger and fullness cues will be miles away.

Many wonder how long they will be in the space of their Food Peace journey. Many long to connect with their body in a more neutral way and the anger is draining. There is no way to answer this because it is so individual. It depends on your lived experiences, your support systems, and the systems you must navigate to live your life. I hope you give yourself compassion while navigating this part of the journey.


Diet culture has been unkind and violated your human rights. I encourage you to experiment with giving yourself permission to be where you are in your relationship with food. This permission is a major part of repairing your relationship with food.

There is healing to be found in permission.

Altering your view of eating behaviors happens within the third Food Peace key, Repair. Harvest compassion, mindfulness, and nonjudgmental curiosity to your thoughts about food.

What does this look like?

When feeling rebellion while connecting to diet culture’s trauma, notice the craving to rebel and give permission (even if the permission feels experimental or awkward) to eat. If or when that permission twists into shame, notice this. Call it out. Remind yourself that shame is from conditioning and doesn’t belong to you.

Does this all sound too tough? Too much? That’s ok too. Permission belongs in that space too.

Repair work tends to allow for slowing down so you can connect with what your body is saying and needing and practicing a nonjudgemental response. This key is NOT about eating only when hungry and stopping only when full. That is not part of permission rather a perverse twist making Food Peace into a diet.

Healing is the most important part of Food Peace and vital for the Repairing.


As you start to heal while repairing, you will gather the diet culture artifacts: food and body rules. The Rewire key helps you unlearn those rules and decide what you would like to believe instead. Going rule by rule, you build an arsenal, rooted in permission, of compassionate nonjudgemental responses to ingrained diet culture rules. Over time, this takes you from thinking about food nonstop to mostly when you need to eat normally, when you want to, and to promote health. I mention the word “mostly” here because no one is a robot and only eats when hungry and stops when full. Further, depending on your access to food and/or levels of marginalization this can change.

Do you have certain foods you always binge on? Do you have certain foods you can never keep in the home because they are too tempting? This Rewire space will help you have comfort and ease around these foods again.

For many people I work with individually, this is the place where studying Intuitive Eating often begins.


How do you know your body is hungry? How do you know when your body is satisfied? Are you meal hungry or snack hungry? Or panic hungry?

These are questions that can only be answered once respect, release, repair and rewire work have been done. Reconnection begins the process of relearning you how to rely on your body’s own ability to know how much to eat and what to eat. This step is simple yet not easy (a quote I first heard from Evelyn Tribole). Looping back to the other keys allows Reconnection to take place using hunger, fullness, and satisfaction guides.


Advocating for others not home in their own skin allows you to add power to your Food Peace journey. After learning these keys, you will want to spread the Food Peace message. This helps others not go down the path of diet rock bottom and helps you with your eating recovery. Picture a community circle allowing connections to the keys and permission. Let’s join together to allow more people to take this journey toward healing and make the world a better place for more bodies.

I have hope there are possibilities for you to heal your relationship with food and your body. You can learn to eat without dieting and hating yourself.

You can experience Food Peace.

It’s not body love or acceptance that’s first, it’s respect.

“If diets work for you, why do you keep going on them?”

If you are considering making 2019 diet free, let’s gather important intel to help you get through January aka The National Dieting Holiday.

When was your first diet?

Do you remember how you got the idea to start eating less, focus on weight loss, and exercise more?

Did someone say your thighs were getting too big?

Were you teased on the playground as the fat classmate?

Did the pediatrician tell your parents to stop giving you seconds?

When were you taught how to hate your body?

How long have you considered your body unacceptable?

Appreciating how body hate and rigid dieting started will help you begin your journey toward Food Peace. This first part of your healing will feel emotional and challenging yet I encourage you to stick with it. I see how the diet industry and health care providers have pushed you to lose weight and with each diet ending you felt (and feel) like a failure. This cycle is not your fault because you were given faulty tools. And these tools hurt your body and the way you relate to it.

In order to heal, take a step back and acknowledge these faulty tools. Consider how they were not respecting your body. Instead of dieting in 2019, I encourage you turn your focus to body respect.

What is body respect?

Popular social media memes tell you to love and accept your body. Most people I work with say they cannot love their body because it is unacceptable. Caring health care providers, parents, and friends have ingrained the idea that fat is unhealthy. Schoolyard bullies taught you your body deserves to be mocked and ugly. Insurance companies and employers blame you for increasing health care costs.

Every aspect of your existence has taught you your body needs to be fixed. The message has been clear: the only way to be acceptable is to eat less and exercise more. And you have spent your whole life trying and failing and trying and failing.

Body respect challenges these messages.

Your body is not unacceptable, ugly, or unworthy. Your body does not need to be fixed.

The messages are wrong not your body. It is time for you to know the truth about how you’ve learned to take care of your body and how cultural messages have harmed your relationship with food. Learning this key tool of Respect sets the foundation for your journey toward Food Peace. It provides the reasons why diets don’t work, how they contribute to your diet rock bottom, and how to start healing.

The Food Peace journey begins with its first steps: deciding to stop pursuing weight loss.

Because weight loss is a seductive fantasy.

I will share more on this seduction next week.