If you’ve chosen to go against diet culture, you know how much courage it takes to give up the food rules and listen to your body. And it can be frustrating when people assume you don’t care, when really, you care a lot.
For instance, when I first stopped dieting in 2016, I was talking to a friend about how choosing to give up dieting has radically changed my life for the better. In response he said:
“That’s awesome. I’m really proud of you. And look at me. I’m the perfect example. As soon as I stopped caring about what I ate, my body totally leaned out.
“I used to eat exclusively chicken breasts and steamed veggies and I barely lost weight. Now I eat hamburgers and fries and I’m in the best shape of my life.”
I’m proud of him for what he accomplished, but it irritated me because…
“Not Dieting” Does NOT Equal “Not Caring”
Yes I stopped dieting, but I still care a lot about my well-being. In fact, I stopped dieting so that I could improve my mental and physical well-being.
Furthermore, what I care about has shifted. Instead of obsessing about what I eat, I get curious about what sounds good and, if I’m not hungry, what feelings are driving my compulsion.
This curiosity — this courageous shift from dieter to intuitive eater — is how I stopped binge eating.
So yes, I care. A lot.
I care about the reasons why I eat and I care far less about the old rules and restrictions around what I should and shouldn’t eat (i.e. I don’t care for dieting).
There’s a huge difference between eating a cheeseburger because you stopped giving a crap and eating a cheeseburger because it’s your way of honoring your body’s truth.
I understand that cheeseburgers generally considered “unhealthy.” But I also understand that depriving my body of what it wants will cause me to overeat later, and overeating is unhealthy, too.
Not to mention, the constant inner battle would diminish my mental health, which would further diminish my physical health. I feel freaking great about my decision to stop dieting, because I care, a lot.
It takes a lot of courage not to diet
In order to have courage, you have to care. You have to care soooo much about something that you’re willing to risk people judging you poorly.
Bring it on.
I admire everyone that has made the brave decision to stop dieting, which is a decision we much keep making, as we live in a world that’s constantly screaming at us to count out calories and minimize our bodies.
You are so amazing for giving up the food rules, or for at least wanting to. Brav-freaking-o.
Choosing not to diet will free you from the obsession with food, and listening to your body will bring you closer to yourself.
You will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
Not because you stopped caring.
But because you care A LOT.
Originally published October 16, 2020 // Updated October 30, 2020.