Do you have the song in your head? “Diet Industry Dropout, there is no size 4 day for you…” sung to the tune of Beauty School Dropout by Frankie Avalon in the movie GREASE. I love that movie.
ANYWAY…by 2019, the dieting as an industry is expected to reach $206.4 billion in revenue. That is a hell of a lot of money. I never knew my big butt was worth that much. But it does help explain the hard-core selling tactics that are explicitly and implicitly seen on tv, in magazines, online, and out in the world. There is money in reminding us that we don’t match up to the current tastes of our society.
I am a survivor of the diet industry. With the best of intentions, my mom deposited me in Weight Watchers when I was in seventh grade. In college, I tried the Diet Center. These were followed by Atkins, Miami Beach, vegetarianism, VB6 by Mark Bittman, and a kagillion more. They all had a few things in common. They worked for a little bit, made me feel horrible about myself, and then ultimately proved unsustainable for me. Oh, and with each one of them, I gained back the weight I lost, plus usually some bonus weight. I am sure you can imagine how shitty I felt about myself then.
However, I am now a proud dropout! I eat as I want and know that even if I lost weight, it would not magically make everything in my life better. So, how did I disengage for this mess? It was gradual, that much I can tell you, but I had no guide. So here are some suggestions for you if you are looking to drop out too.
- Follow our Body Love Cheat Sheet
Kara and I have five steps for you to move towards loving your body more. Seeing the beauty in yourself as you are today is key to disengaging from the diet world. Click here to get it!
- Learn about Health at Every Size (HAES)
HAES is a movement that promotes the belief that people with different body types can all be healthy. The principles include Respect, including respect for body diversity; Compassionate Self-care; and Critical Awareness. It is detailed in the wonderful book “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight” by Linda Bacon, PhD. Learn more here.
- Surround yourself with other body positive people
It may be hard to believe, but there are other folks out there who are not interested in the latest fad food plan or how many steps your FitBit says you did today. Look for communities in you area and online. Two FaceBook groups that I like include Fat Babes! Forever! and RadFatties.
- Be loving and patient with yourself
Becoming a Diet Industry Dropout is not easy. You have to unlearn years worth of self-hatred and keep yourself protected from the harmful messaging that our culture crams into our faces at every chance. Use compassion with yourself as you work on adopting this new mindset. The more love you give yourself, the easier it will be.