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  • 16 Terrible Things That Do Not Help Solve Weight or Eating Problems

    It's been too long since I published a manifesto! This one's a work in progress, but it starts with a list of everything that makes me shake my head throw things and scream in the world of weight and eating issues.

    I've probably forgotten some things. Please let me know what in this arena causes you to shake your head, too.


    (By the way, here is Manifesto #1, or Believe Nothing, Question Everything, Don't Take Anything Personally. And Manifesto #2: Success! or, The Worst Year of My Life.)

    Now then. 

    1. Above all, I am against the idea that it takes a long time to break the habit of bingeing and overeating. With the right information, you can do it today. If it’s taking a long time, it might not be you. It's probably the method.
       

    2. Paying a lot to solve your eating problems: Also not necessary. If you can afford it, it’s fantastic to have help with implementation. If you can’t afford it, you can do it yourself for nothing. (Here are some books you can get at the library. You can sign up for my weekly email. You can peruse the back catalog of my blog posts.)
       

    3. Dieting, where dieting means following someone else’s prescription for eating less than your body needs, for the primary purpose of rapid weight loss, however it’s dressed up (a “cleanse,” a “healthy start,”). A diet is by nature rigid, infantilizing and disconnected from the dieter’s body and its needs.
       

    4. Diet culture: The group of widely accepted practices of eating what some “authority” tells us to (even though we’re adults), eating less than our bodies need, discussing our weight constantly, counting calories and measuring food portions, talking aloud in public about how fat we are, above all believing we need to be thinner, etc., aka Situation: Normal for billions of women.
       

    5. “Obesity” hysteria. Does the West have an obesity epidemic? I’m not even interested in exposing all the bullshit in this narrative. Well, except to point out it’s a huge focus for class anxiety, which is to say, hating the poor. Anyway, you have no obesity epidemic to cure. Let’s just solve your problem.
       

    6. Fat-shaming and fat-hating and fat hysteria. It’s so bad I’ll say it twice. My work is vehemently not about hating any part of ourselves. It’s about the easiest, fastest way to change behavior that you have decided doesn’t serve you.
       

    7. Excessive medicalization of weight issues. Even physicians are guilty of treating weight and health as the same thing. A moderate weight is to health as health insurance is to health: It's got benefits, for sure. But it's not the same thing.
       

    8. Health at Any Size (HAES). While low weight doesn’t necessarily map to health, it’s wrong to claim we can be healthy at any size. If you can be too skinny, you can be too fat. If you stop menstruating because of your anorexia, you’re not healthy. If you stop walking because your weight puts too much pressure on your spine and knees, you’re not healthy.
       

    9. “Clean” eating: A meaningless term, but always more about what’s not eaten than what is. There’s something wrong with everything! A lot of vegetables are trying to kill us! And we’re all going to die. So could we please just relax about food?
       

    10. Intuitive Eating: A practice of eating by tuning into your hunger and satisfaction, which is way more conscious than bingeing or compulsive eating, but is often every bit as chaotic. Most people trying to break a powerful longstanding habit of eating too much of the wrong things need more structure than Intuitive Eating provides.
       

    11. Rigid beauty standards. This needs no explanation. Rigid beauty standards are stupid and vicious.
       

    12. Elaborate or exotic nutrition plans in lieu of the basics. If you’re not eating enough, sleeping enough, or moving enough, it won’t matter that you’re “eating the rainbow” or “eating right for your blood type” or anything else.
       

    13. “Getting to the bottom” of your problem by talking about it and uncovering its origin story. You can spend decades in therapy without getting to the root of a compulsion. The only way to break a habit is to stop doing it, and that doesn’t require any investigation of causes. It requires action.
       

    14. Self-neglect. Augh! Self-neglect never dug a woman out of an eating disorder. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money to break bad eating habits, but it will take attention and love. A lot of self-love.
       

    15. Shame: NO. Just NO. Shame will never solve more problems than it creates. We live in a world where it’s more shameful to be fat than to be a criminal. But 1. weight loss takes time and 2. you don’t even need to be fat to be fat-shamed, or fat-phobic. Self-pride and self-respect, on the other hand, can be restored the instant you get control of your eating << #GOALS
       

    16. Waiting until you weigh less to have the life you want. It doesn’t work that way. There is only so much that weight loss can offer a gal. Not gonna lie, it’s easier to buy and wear clothes when your weight is in a certain range. But you don’t have to weigh less to date, travel, get a massage, go to the beach, marry, attend a big event, get onstage, write your book, look for a better job, ask for a raise or leave a bad relationship. Doing those things while you change your habits = fastest life-change plan I know, and it’s not magic. It’s ordinaryYou can do it.


    What do you think? Agree, disagree? What have I overlooked? Let me know.

    And if like me you don't think it should take a long time to get control of your eating, and you want help with that, just contact me and we can get on the phone to see if I'm the right person to help.

    If you like this sort of thing, you would probably enjoy my weekly newsletter. I write about weight loss and ending compulsive eating from a shame-free, anti-diet, feminist perspective. 

Stop bingeing and overeating. Immediately.

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