Calling out food regimen tradition: a strategy of unlearning


SANE Peer Ambassador Jeanette is marking this Physique Picture and Consuming Problems Consciousness Week by reflecting on food regimen tradition and its large impression. She discusses how unlearning it’s arduous, and shares her ongoing course of that brings a way of freedom.  

My mind was melting. That’s what occurred once I lastly realised how a lot food regimen tradition colored my worldview, earlier this yr.  

I believed I knew what food regimen tradition was. I understood how a lot worth was positioned on thinness and sure physique shapes. However on reflection, I feel the bit I missed was the equation of thinness and sure physique shapes to well being and ethical advantage. And specifically, it’s that piece round ethical advantage that basically did my head in.  

It began with an harmless podcast advice from somebody at help group. And some brief months on, it’s now my favorite restoration podcast. It was the primary time I’d put a social justice lens over my expertise of restoration, and the primary time I used to be uncovered to a weight-inclusive strategy to well being, which I now know as Well being at Each Dimension – or HAES. 

It appears fairly straight ahead. However my worldview rapidly broke down as I started to use an anti-diet mentality to my life.

Ice cream would not be thought of indulgent. No meals can be inherently ‘good’ or ‘dangerous’. And so simple as that, my rationale for punishing myself or feeling responsible evaporated.

I’ve come to be taught a irritating fact as fats activist Ragen Chastain places it, “Operating a marathon and having a Netflix marathon are morally equal actions.” 

Someplace alongside the way in which, I’ve conflated the values of food regimen tradition with my very own. I can’t recall for the lifetime of me, a acutely aware determination to worth thinness the infuriating manner I do.

It makes me offended. For some time I carried a lot disgrace across the discovery of my internalised fatphobia.  

As I continued to watch the world round me with this newfound readability, food regimen tradition emerged all over the place I appeared. It was within the movies I watched, the information I learn, and the phrases that my pals, household and colleagues spoke. 

To be sincere, I couldn’t fairly imagine it. It’s like when somebody mentions the color blue and all of the sudden all you see are the blue issues round you.  

In basic perfectionist vogue, typically it feels outrageous to not have seen it earlier than. As a result of I believed I understood what was occurring. However in an sudden coincidence, realising the pervasiveness of food regimen tradition has really introduced me a bit of freedom.  

For a very long time, I believed that I used to be standing in the way in which of my very own restoration, believing if I solely tried tougher and had extra willpower, then I’d be capable to recuperate quicker. Effectively because it seems, swimming towards the overwhelming tide that’s food regimen tradition is objectively tough.  

Eating regimen tradition has disconnected me from my physique. It has bombarded me with meals guidelines and tied me in knots with its rigidity. Refusing to outsource my determination making to the values of food regimen tradition has been a gradual strategy of unlearning. And admittedly, fostering an anti-diet way of living is ridiculously arduous when every little thing round you is the exact opposite.  

And so, as I recuperate from my mind soften, I believed I’d share a couple of issues which have helped me unlearn food regimen tradition and help me on my restoration journey.  

Assist teams 

Oh my goodness, what a life saver these have been. A help group was the primary time my experiences of an consuming dysfunction and physique dysmorphia had been actually heard. Of all my psychological well being challenges, it was these two that I had the toughest time speaking about. But in a zoom room filled with strangers, I’d by no means felt extra seen and understood.  

Observing these additional alongside of their restoration gave me hope. And the validating nods to what I felt had been my most obscure experiences gave me consolation. Connection has been such a strong instrument for overcoming my disgrace and stigma. And I’m proud to say that it was right here I gained the arrogance to be interested in restoration and eventually pursue it. I encourage you to search out an internet or native help group that works for you: 


It’s change into a little bit of a working joke in my help group that we revisit this matter each few periods. These have been my gasoline in direction of a life past an consuming dysfunction. Books have helped me perceive and course of my experiences, whereas giving me the instruments which have underpinned my restoration journey. They’ve supplied me a chance to take cost and spearhead my personal therapeutic. If I needed to slim it down to some which have helped me probably the most it will be: 

  • 8 Keys to Restoration from an Consuming Dysfunction by the legendary Carolyn Costin and Gwen Grabb (there’s additionally a beautiful workbook model) 
  • Anti-Eating regimen by Christy Harrison 
  • Intuitive Consuming, 4th Version by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (it’s essential you get the 4th version and never earlier variations) 
  • Well being at Each Dimension by Lindo Bacon 


Podcasts however have helped introduce me to the tales of numerous others. And most significantly, they’ve additionally amplified anti-diet messaging when my consuming dysfunction self has been actually loud. With out fail, I’ll put these on once I’m struggling and really rapidly, I really feel my wholesome self develop. It offers me an added oomph to get by means of a tough second or day, particularly between therapeutic periods. A few of my favourites are: 

  • Meals Psych Podcast by Christy Harrison (the podcast referenced above!) 
  • The Consuming Dysfunction Restoration Podcast by Tabitha Farrar 

  • Finish Consuming Problems hosted by Millie Thomas and produced by Castco Media 
  • Candid Conversations by Consuming Problems Victoria 
  • Butterfly: Let’s Speak by the Butterfly Basis  

Calling out food regimen tradition 

A brilliant achievable manner of calling out food regimen tradition is if you’re consuming any type of media. For instance, once I’m watching a movie or tv collection and listen to a personality say one thing that perpetuates food regimen tradition, typically one thing fatphobic, I prefer to say out loud to myself, “Nope I don’t imagine that, that’s food regimen tradition speaking”. There’s one thing about saying it out loud that provides the assertion extra weight. And with time, I’m slowly build up the arrogance to do that round my household and pals.  


Cultivating an anti-diet strategy and doing restoration is extremely arduous. So, it’s much more essential to be additional mild on your self. The method of rewiring your neural pathways established over your what number of years of existence is a gradual and affected person course of. I at all times remind myself that I do know I’m doing one thing proper when it feels arduous. That’s what I hope will make it all of the extra rewarding and price it ultimately.  

In search of assist 

For those who’re fighting an consuming dysfunction or physique picture situation, I encourage you to succeed in out for assist. It sadly took me a few years after I first encountered these challenges to lastly search help. There may be hope, and I promise that issues genuinely do get higher even when it doesn’t really feel prefer it within the second.  

Please contact the Butterfly Basis, our nationwide consuming problems charity, or your native state-based neighborhood consuming dysfunction service, resembling Consuming Problems Victoria.  

Butterfly Basis: 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) 

The place to from right here? 

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