This post is actually an email letter about all types of diets, cleanses, and food restrtiction I sent to my community on January 16, 2021
I am embracing a big shift right now. I’m combing through my social media, website, and blogs, and deleting all content that refers to women and:
- Food restriction
- Diets and cleanses
- Weight loss
- Sugar addiction
- Health hacks that involve extreme food behavior
Why am I doing this?
I’ve been devouring the plethora of research on how these things, even in the name of health and wellness, perpetuate disordered eating and UNwellness for most women. I’m relearning the history of our culture’s obsession with external standards for how women’s bodies are supposed to be (thin, toned, young, etc)., and how oppressive these standards are for women – especially women of color and women with diverse bodies. As a women’s studies graduate from 1987 and a lifelong feminist, none of this is new to me. However, what IS new for me is the realization that as a health provider I do not want my content to perpetuate this messaging – and it did. Exactly a year ago my content focus was “weight loss resistance.” NO more!
I would have done this sooner if I had a daughter. Fortunately, my son hasn’t had to enter puberty with the message that his body isn’t right. I have many women to thank for kicking my butt in this area, including the women age 16-21 that I have been honored to work with in 2020. I’ve had a lot of them, and I LOVE working with this age group of women who are our future. I am committed to young girls and women not growing up with the same baggage that girls of my generation received.
I am also committed to helping women of all ages unwind the food messages that research shows are destructive, including:
- The BMI myth – that you must have a certain BMI to be healthy, which is not true. In fact it’s entirely possible to be healthy (or unhealthy) at any size.
- Labeling food as inherently good and bad – in truth, the only “bad” food is food that is spoiled or rotten.
- Everyone needs to fast – enough already! I can’t count the women I saw in 2020 who said “but I fast 16 hours a day, how come I can’t lose weight?”
- Restricting food for no valid reason – from AIP to keto to vegan to what their last practitioner told them to do…. I saw a record number of women in 2020 who were severely restricting food based on health theories rather than what their bodies told them.
All of these run a high risk of creating disordered eating, including feeling bad about food desires, thinking too much about food, and feast or famine behavior (this is when food restriction causes binge eating or overeating before and after the restriction).
In 2021 I am 100% committed to changing my approach with women and food. I am taking classes and workshops in Food Freedom, Intuitive Eating, and anti-racism for health practitioners. I will not hesitate to bring race and societal issues up in regard to women, health, and food – because these ARE interconnected.
Am I talking about just ditching the notion of eating healthy for women?
Absolutely not. I am passionate about nutrition. However moving forward, my nutrition work will take a radical turn. It will include rooting out the messages that women have (all women) to strive for a certain body type while feeling bad about themselves in the process. I will no longer be complicit in perpetuating this.
What I WILL do is help women develop radical love and acceptance for their bodies by tuning in – not out. This means dimming the external messages and amplifying the internal ones. I will use GENTLE nutrition to help women get stronger and healthier and more expansive with food choices.
Will I help women lose weight? No, I won’t. Weight loss can happen as a result (or side effect) of tuning in, but any offerings of weight loss or weight regulation are now off my menu. We have far more important things to accomplish, like healing our relationship with food, learning to be strong women, and showing up in the world.
If this doesn’t jive with you, you can decide to unsubscribe now, or stick around and see what’s to come. If you are thinking “HELL YEAH!!” then please share this email with like-minded (or open to being like-minded) women in your lives.
To all the women I am currently working with, or whom I’ve worked with in the past:
- I am truly sorry if I ever caused you to feel mixed-up about food. It was never my intention, but it could have happened, and for that, I am so sorry.
- If you are currently getting healthier and losing weight from my advice and you’re happy about it, don’t worry, I am NOT abandoning you! I am changing my words and my messaging though.
- If you’re restricting food because of gut or mold or other serious health issues, I know this is a different story and it’s ok if you need to do this! This falls under “Gentle Nutrition” and my goal is for you to heal so you can expand your Food Freedom.
- My programs that involve food restriction (Fasting With Food and Functional Whole30) will stay live for the time being. These two programs help a ton of people. However, I am thinking about if and how I can offer these in the future in a way that aligns with my values.