Hi. This is my first post on this blog, and I’m kind of throwing it together because I want to get into the meat of what I want to share, but I’m supposed to write an intro post. So….
I’m Michelle and I know diets. I dieted for 40 years! If you add up all the weight I’ve lost over the course of these 4 decades, it comes to well over a hundred pounds. I’m good at dieting. When I gave up dieting a while ago, I was roughly the same weight as when I began.
I was on Weight Watchers when it was an exchange plan, then a few more times when it was a points program. I was on Richard Simmons’ Deal a Meal plan. I was a low-fatter in the eighties. I did trendy location based diets like South Beach and Sonoma, and a bunch of Doctor and celebrity endorsed diets. I did cabbage soup and grapefruit diets, high-fiber diets, and carb-limiting diets. In college I tried to puke myself thin, but wasn’t good at it. I tried appetite suppressants including the unfortunately named “Aids” diet caramel. There was a period of time when I lost a bunch of weight due to stress. That was great! I ate clean, “reset my metabolism”, carb-cycled, juiced, fasted and slim-fasted. I participated in office-based big loser contests. I exercised like a crazy person because “calories in/calories out”. I turned intuitive eating and mindful eating into diets. And of course, I counted calories – first old school on paper, and later with my fitness pal. More recently when Paleo, Keto, and macro programs became popular, I recognized them as refurbished versions of diets I had tried years ago, but I still considered giving them a shot. I did this because in our culture, it’s important to be slim – very slim. Seems like nothing is more important. And my history with dieting looks ridiculous when I put it to paper, but I’m not that unusual. I don’t have and never have had an eating disorder. I dieted because that’s what people do.
Also, I’m a Psychologist and a coach and counseled people to lose weight (most of them didn’t). And I wrote a diet book. For these things, I’m sorry.
But, now I’m done dieting, and I’m going to be honest in this blog. It hasn’t been a clean break. It’s hard to leave diet culture behind. But once I realized I had spent 4 decades putting more energy into trying to sculpt my body than live my life fully, I had no choice. I’m done with diet culture because life is short, and life can be a great adventure, and I have other things to do!
Once I stopped dieting, I became aware of our cultural obsession with weight and diets. Every day I hear people of all sizes, shapes, races and genders talking about how they’re measuring their bodies as a means of measuring their worth, and I see people using their time and energy to change the size of their bodies and then not having the time or energy to fully engage in their lives! Sometimes it seems like that’s all people ever talk about.
We need an alternative to living our lives on diets. We need to move beyond measuring our worth by the number on the scale, or by our clothing size.
I started this blog to document my journey, and to help you with yours if you want to travel beyond diet culture with me. I’ll be sharing my own thoughts here, along with inspirational and educational material from a growing community of trailblazers who are fiercely and non-apologetically leading the way for us to live beyond diets.
I developed my own approach to living well and healthfully beyond diet culture, which I’ll share with you. And I’ll encourage you to develop your own approach. Because when you leave diet culture behind, you get to set your own rules!
If you or someone you know struggles with food, weight or body image challenges (and let’s face it, who doesn’t. It’s practically a cultural imperative), this blog is designed to help. However, this blog does not substitute for medical or mental health treatment if you are dealing with an eating disorder, and some of my language may be triggering. I commit to keeping this blog weight neutral, non-judgmental, and inclusive, free from dogma and hate – and your participation is welcome!