Recently I got the chance to be on Aron Bender’s show on KFI Los Angeles (a recording of the interview and pictures are below.) Aron, Brent, and the entire team were amazing and we had a blast (if only I had video of the dancing!) He asked me a question that I get asked a lot – is my choice to practice Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size about giving up?
Yes, in many ways it is. When I first read the research and found out that dieting almost never works long term, and that, in fact, by far the most common outcome of dieting is weight regain, I didn’t want to be a quitter. I wanted to believe that I could beat the odds if I just tried hard enough.
I believed the propaganda that people who didn’t succeed at diets were just weak-willed, I actually convinced myself that almost 100% of people were just doing it wrong. I convinced myself that I could lose weight through the sheer force of my will and by working hard enough.
I believed that weight was a simple matter of calories in/calories out. I believed that if I could create a calorie deficit with a combination of calorie restriction and activity then I would lose weight, so I didn’t understand why I kept creating a deficit but didn’t lose weight. I’ve since learned that it just doesn’t work that way. The body is much more complex than a calories in/calories out model.
That lead to another realization – this wasn’t just about hard work or force of will. This wasn’t just about my will, it was about my body. A body that I hated because it wouldn’t get smaller, instead of appreciating for doing everything for me.
I started to do more and more research and everything I found turned up the same results – intentional weight loss failed most of the time, there was no proof that it would lead to health even if it succeeded, and self-loathing is not good for our health. However, weight-cycling (yo-yo dieting) was very hard on the body and studies were suggesting that it could lead to long-term health problems. Dieting began to look more and more like playing Russian roulette with my health. Plus, for years I had been hating my body like I was getting paid for it, and it hadn’t made me thinner, healthier, or happier.
So I quit. I quit trying to do something nobody could prove was possible for a reason that nobody had proven was valid. I quit being part of a social construct that supported a $60 Billion industry with absolutely no proof that their product works. I quit fueling the machine that oppresses me with my time, money, and energy. As W.C. Fields said “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Then quit – there’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
I got off the diet roller coaster for good. Now I have a wonderful life and healthy relationships with my body, food, and movement. So when it comes to risking that on a minuscule chance of making my body smaller, I’m out. Call me a quitter, I’m totally fine with that.
Here’s the audio from the show (my interview starts around 40 minutes)
And here are some pictures from my visit to KFI!
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9 thoughts on “Proud (Diet) Quitter”
Great interview! He asked good questions and was very respectful. FYI Ragen starts about 40 minutes in.
If I quit being fooled by a scam, yes, by the pedantic definition I am a quitter. I’m also far better off for quitting than I would have been if I’d “stuck with” the scam. It is all too possible to find yourself in a situation where the best advice comes from Joshua in Wargames: “The only winning move is not to play.” And I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, dieting was unambiguously one such situation.
The bit about young girls made me tear up.
Dear Ragen, you didn’t quit. You took up the fight! You put on your armor and belted on your sword, and began fighting for your happiness, and ours.
No quitting involved. The haters call it quitting, because you stopped hating them, just like they hate you, and started saying, “No, I’m NOT going to hate myself. I don’t DESERVE to be hated! I refuse to give in to bullying!” and so since you “changed sides,” they think of you as a traitor. However, since their cause is hatred, and calling someone a “traitor to hatred” sounds really ridiculous, they call you a “quitter,” instead. It makes them sound better, in their own eyes, at least, because they stayed the course, maintaining their hatred.
Quitting generally means giving up and giving in. If anything, you’ve become even more active, now that you love yourself and others, because now you have more positive energy, and you’re gaining momentum all the time. It’s totally the opposite of quitting.
Way to go!
Hello, you posted recently in an old thread about a cruise you took, and I posted a reply, but then I didn’t come back or check the box for notifications, so I’m wondering if you remember what the title of the post was so I can find it again.
No idea. Sorry.
Ragen’s failure in dieting to lose weight ended with her accepting herself as she is naturally meant to be. Most bloggers on Dances With Fat are in the process of learning to accept themselves and love themselves as is..It is unfortunate that they are forced into this bigoted pathway by the mass media and vicious subliminal advertising by the Diet industry.The ideal is to reach children, adolescents and their parents before they run thru the diet merry-go-round which clearly is not the solution.
What an awesome interview!
I happen to be eating the meal that helped spark my diet “failure.” I painstakingly calculated my Weight Watchers allowance, stayed within it, exercised, etc., and the next day my weight had gone up anyway. “Oh,” the group leader said, “did you eat Chinese food?”
Because you can pack a stir-fry with all the foods WW loves to praise, then add a little bit of soy sauce and retain enough water to tip the scales.
Eventually I understood that obsessing over every tiny loss or gain was pointless, and quit.