5 Ways to Rebel Against Diet Culture

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I’m Sarah (she/her), a Toronto-based writer, anti-diet nutritionist, and Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor. I teach folks how to have a healthy relationship with food and accept their natural body size.

Hi, I'm Sarah

Hey everyone! Today I’d like to present a special guest to SB Nutrition. Jenny Eden is the founder and owner of Jenny Eden Coaching, a coaching practice devoted to helping men, women, and teens create a healthier and sustainable relationship with food and body image. She is an Eating Psychology Coach, a mindful eating instructor, and health and wellness blogger. She specializes in unique binge eating cessation techniques and mindful eating practices.

Jenny, take it away!

Body positive | body image | intuitive eating | emotional eating | mindfulness | feminist | anti-diet project | resolutions | eating psychology | binge eating. Tired of cleanses, detoxes, and diets? Check out these 5 tips to rebel against diet cultu…

It’s January 2nd.  You’re picking up the last of the confetti off of the floor and recycling the empty champagne bottles, all the while contemplating how you will plan to detox from Aunt Edna’s Christmas cookies.  You will ruminate about how, despite telling yourself this year would be different, you found yourself diving deep into chocolate advent houses, entire gingerbread houses, and 15 yule log cakes.

“It’s ok!”  you tell yourself. “I’ve got Google and an entire Sunday to figure out which diet I’ll pick this time to drop those 5 extra pounds,” pounds that crept on despite your special X-mas themed soulcycle class, and 2 parties that you avoided just in hopes of maintaining your weight this year.

Maybe a part of you hesitates….and wishes you could just focus your time and energy on all your other 2017 goals like finishing that novel, or finally planning that trip to Greece.  “Nah,” you reason, “those things won’t even be fulfilling if I’m not thin enough to thoroughly enjoy it.”

And the cycle begins again….

Does this sound familiar?  It should because countless millions of women (and men) experience a version of this every January.

Cycles are inherent to life:  The earth rotates around the sun, there is a full moon every month, leaves fall every autumn, and we will eat great cake every birthday (if we’re lucky).  But there are some cycles that leave much to be desired.  A vicious cycle perhaps?  A dieting cycle?  A cycle of binge, remorse, restrict, repeat?  Those kinds of cycles are detrimental to our health and our psyches and leave us primed to experience deja vu every January 2nd.

Wouldn’t it be freeing if we could do it differently this year?  To find an alternate (yet possibly rocky, circuitous and emotional) path that offers something more than weight loss – but a sense of deep freedom, acceptance and peace?   It is possible and the 6 techniques I will share below will help you rethink your aggressive weight loss goal in lieu of something a bit kinder, more respectful towards your body, and perhaps above all else compassionate and health promoting.  After all, isn’t that what it is all about?  Health, happiness, and feeling our absolute best in the bodies we actually have right now?

Let me know what you think of these strategies below!

1. Go on a magazine, reality show, and TV access hiatus. 

Much of our feelings of unworthiness and pressure to acquire the perfect body at all costs painfully come from our media consumption that promulgates the message that we need to somehow be fixed and are not worthy enough the way we are.  Try taking a 2 week break from all of these types of media outlets and tune in more with your own wisdom.

2. Find an exercise routine that truly speaks to you. 

Find exercise that you look forward to and makes you feel strong and capable in your skin.  Don’t opt-in for the latest gym trend just because your sister’s friend’s cousin lost 15 pounds that way.  Do it because it speaks to YOU and works with your lifestyle and own body mechanics.

3. Learn a little bit about mindful and intuitive eating.

Join the slow movement and find out how it can serve you emotionally, physically, and psychologically by having you tune inward and trust your own body versus trusting dietary experts to tell you what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.  You can start by joining my free 7-day mindful eating basics email course.

4. Embrace your femininity. 

Explore your sensuality and sexuality.  This is often hard for the chronic dieter to do this because they don’t accept or even allow themselves feel sensuality unless they are a certain size.  Try to be comfortable being uncomfortable with this one.  Get the end result at the beginning.  Do a gratefulness body scan, dance, put on a dress that makes your feel amazing right this minute – not in 3 months when you might lose the 10 pounds.  A seed can be planted from this place and blossom, eschewing the perceived notion that you need to lose weight in the first place.  How do I know this works?  Because this was one of the very ways I healed my own body image – by embodying my skin and embracing sensuality no matter what size I was.

5. Find projects, people, and hobbies that fuel your soul and provide meaning and purpose. 

When I was a chronic dieter, I was actually a really really boring person because weight loss was all I did or could think about.  When would I exercise? What would I eat?  How much?  When could I get to the scale again to weigh in?  When I finally let go of that obsessive, all-consuming dieting mentality, I finally had the time and confidence to start my own business, which is flourishing and giving me so much passion and meaning in my life.

The truth is, dieting took over my life to the detriment of everyone else in it, including my kids and my husband.  I now see how it was not worth it to jettison everything in my life for this one dream of being a particular weight to prove my worthiness to the world.  And to be honest, I actually found my relationship with food tremendously healed from finding my passion as well, because it gave me a clear focus other than food.

What 2017 goals and hobbies and passions can you explore this year?

If any of the above resonates with you, find like-minded people to explore the anti-diet culture with and immerse yourself around those people to help bring you more along that path.  It doesn’t have to be another deja vu dieting year.  Here are some resources to gently guide you there:


Food psych podcast

The Body Positive

The Center for Mindful Eating

Want out of the diet cycle for good? Here’s how we can work together:

  1. Work with me 1:1. Together we’ll review your current relationship with food and your body, discuss your goals for our time together, and help you to feel safe with food and your body without #dietmath.
  2. New to Intuitive Eating and a non-diet approach? My book, Enjoy It All: Improve Your Health and Happiness with Intuitive Eating offers a guide to finding peace with food for good.

Comments +

  1. Margarita Soberon says:

    thanks for writing this very concrete ideas to start the year in another frame of mind!!

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