The end of the year and start of the new is full of holiday celebrations and new years resolutions. Amongst the cheer, it also inevitably brings with it a generous serving of diet culture. There's "new" diets, supplements, detoxes, juices, you name it claiming to be cure all's. This can be difficult to manage when you are trying to become more of an intuitive eater and learn to love your body. It may seem like you are the only one out there among the overwhelming mass of diet culture. It's not a surprise it is difficult to pursue a healthy balance with food and exercise. 2019 data from Marketdata observes that the U.S. diet industry is worth more than $72 billion (wow!). Spoiler alert: it is not a cure all, will likely take your money and leave you in a worse position than you were prior to buying in (both physically and mentally).
Are you tired of the constant let-downs that diet-culture promises you? Are you looking for ways to find a healthy balance with food and exercise? Are you looking for ways to care for yourself during this time that doesn't require a serving of shame and guilt?
You've come to the right place. Here are some tips for how to practice self care, and handle difficult weight and diet conversations with friends and family the rest of 2020 and into the new year from some RDN's across Kansas.
Your author and creator Maddi Osburn RDN LD with Flexible Nutrition LLC
Self Care: "Eat when you are hungry, and have regularly planned meals and perhaps snacks every day."
Whether you are or aren't partaking in regular physical activity, this self-care tip still applies. For some athletes and active individuals, your training plan or practices have been winding down or on a break completely. You may be tempted to control and restrict your eating now that you are not competing or training the same as you were a couple weeks or even a month ago. I would not recommend this. Breaks are times to allow your body to rest and heal. If your body is not getting enough energy due to restriction, you may be setting yourself up for poor performance when your season begins again or your next training plan begins. Dial in to those hunger and fullness cues. Formal exercise is not the only factor that determines our bodies energy needs in a day. It is normal to be more hungry on some days than others. It is normal that your day of eating may look different than another's day of eating. We are all different and unique. Trust your body!
Caitlyn Neuendorf with Neuendorf Nutrition
Self Care: Have a few non-negotiable actions in place that can help handle the extra stress this time of year can bring.
Here are some ideas Caitlyn shares for non-negotiables;
Choose 1-2 holiday activities or events per week to attend and say no to the rest.
Stay off social media for the 1st part of the day.
Make sure to have some quick/simple meals on hand for when you may not have the time/energy to cook.
Difficult Conversations: Decide your approach depending on your relationship with the family member or friend.
If you aren't close: Consider changing the subject or leave the room.
If you are close, have the energy and feel comfortable: Consider engaging about the approach you are trying to have with food and your body.
Caitlyn says "it's perfectly acceptable to chime in about what you've been learning about intuitive eating, weight stigma, Health at every Size® (HAES®), etc. However, be prepared that it could be met with some resistance. On the other hand, it could also open up a door for others to explore a different way of thinking about health and for some good dialogue."
Paula Miller with Sunrise Nutrition Consulting
"I would encourage them to think through the family members this might come up with, then decide their comfort level in responding to each person or group. It's okay to respond differently to the person/group based on your level of comfort with them. For example, with one individual you might feel comfortable saying, "Hey, I'm not dieting this year because I'm learning...(what dieting actually does to weight, about intuitive eating, all foods provide nutrition, etc.). And with another family member it might be best to have a plan to excuse yourself to use the restroom, take a call, etc. as soon as the conversation arises."
I'd also ask them how they could re-center - so after the event what do they need to do to take care of themselves, journal, listen to a body positive podcast, or perhaps something else?
Michele Keethler with Mindfully InspiRD
"Take time to enjoy the food before you. Truly savor your favorite dishes, foods of all kind provide you nourishment AND enjoyment."
"When diet talk comes up: change the subject, excuse yourself from the conversation, or share what you have been learning why diets and weight loss doesn't work."
Bonus: You aren't alone. There are many ways to find community while navigating IE/HAES and anti-diet culture. We are here to support you in this journey.
Are you interested in working with Maddi? Click here to contact.
Anti-Diet: Reclaim your time, money and happiness through intuitive eating by Christy Harrison