Making Every Day “No Diet Day”

Success and DietsAs we wrap up another International No Diet Day, I’m reminded of a time when every day in my life was “Totally Diet Day.” I used to hate my body like it was a job – like I was getting paid to do it. It didn’t make me happier, healthier, or thinner – just miserable and tired.  I can tell you for sure that I don’t miss those days at all!

One of the most common questions I get is how I made the transition from diet culture to Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size (which are two different things.)

I recently wrote about it for the Better Humans platform in a piece called How To Leave Toxic Diet Culture Behind And Pursue Actual Health. 

So that was my path, but I thought it would be fun for y’all to talk about the great things that have happened in your lives since you quit dieting. If you are so inclined, please leave all that awesomeness in the comments!



9 thoughts on “Making Every Day “No Diet Day”

  1. When I got off the weight loss merry go round, I felt an incredible sense of freedom. And gratitude, to you Ragen, for helping to show me the way. And a little bit of sorrow for all the wasted years of dieting and body hatred. Overall, it’s been a very good thing.

  2. Well this may seem shallow but I decided to stop waiting to buy clothes I really liked until I “earned” them by losing weight. I just started buying the clothes I like and wearing them. Also I dropped the idea of exercising in order to lose weight and I now enjoy movement for the way I feel. After 40 years of dieting I realized….it doesnt work. So now Im done with diets and Im FREE.

    1. It’s not shallow, at all. Now that you realize you CAN look good, you know that you have the RIGHT to look good.

      And exercising – yeah, I miss it, now that I can’t do it, anymore. But not cardio, and weigh-ins, and tracking how many calories I burned. I miss being able to lift more weights (being stronger), and I miss being able to go further and faster (stamina! Yay!). I liked using a treadmill, rather than walking outside, because I liked being able to see just how far I could go, and also STOP when I wanted to, without having to come all the way back from my point of exhaustion, which meant I could find my true limits. And I liked being able to see exactly how fast I was going, and saying, “Hey! I used to go 2 miles per hour, and now I’m up to 2.8. HEY! Look at that! I feel comfortable at 3! WOOT!” I even got to enjoy the elliptical machine, once I got the hang of it. I had my tunes, and my rhythm, and it was like a kind of dance.

      Dancing! I always, Always, ALWAYS felt beautiful and wonderful when I was dancing.

      Golly, but I miss it!

      But the old days of exercising for weight loss? Man, that was always just pure punishment.

  3. I stopped being suicidal. What do you know? When you stop hating yourself, suddenly, you stop wanting to kill yourself! Who knew?

    Yep, hating fat people, telling them that they are less than, unworthy, subhuman, and just not good enough to be treated humanely, no matter what they accomplish, or what virtues they have, just because of their size, and constantly telling them that their failure to look “right” is all their fault, no matter what science says can have a few un-positive effects, like making the hated people hate themselves into oblivion.

    Of course, the haters will SAY that they don’t want the fat people to die, but their behavior proves them wrong. The people who would have missed me loved me regardless (not “in spite of,” there’s a difference) of my weight, and the ones who wanted to wage a war against obesity just saw me as an enemy, anyway, and would have chalked my death up as a victory.

    Well, I took that victory away from them.

    Now, I will admit to having another dark episode, but that was due to circumstances, and not my weight. It went away, as soon as I realized I was not a burden, but a useful person, because I was able to save a person’s life. 1 rescue = NOT a burden, and definitely NOT “they’ll be better off without me,” and so, NOPE. Not gonna do it. I feel much better.

    The thing is, having faced that darkness twice, I can tell you that there was a huge difference. 1 – I realized I could get help, and things would be OK, and the darkness lifted very quickly, and happiness and joy descend, despite the chronic pain. But 2? 30 years of dieting, and the last ten years of that was me fighting suicidal ideation the whole time? That was not so easy.

    As soon as I gave up dieting, honest and for true, finally gave up dieting, not because “this is the last diet, and this time I will succeed,” but because “This doesn’t work, and it’s not necessary, and I’m good enough the way I am,” as soon as I actually did accept myself, the suicidal thoughts went away. However getting to that point was a major battle, and took time. I had to fight, tooth and nail, to accept myself, in the face of overwhelming hatred.

    The haters are still hating, but now, I can rise above it, because I love myself!

    So, to anyone out there who thinks that shaming fat people is “for our own good,” and “the only thing that will make us thin,” well, all I can say is, “death is not for our own good,” but I will concede that corpses do become pretty bone-thin, eventually.

  4. For me, it was very much the process of: This is not making me lighter, happier, or healthier.
    I had hit rock bottom mentally and physically, something had to give. This was in the early days of the internet, for me there was not BoPo or Fat Acceptance movement. The people around me (and my doctors) are still fighting me all of the way.
    I had to choose between ending it then and there or starting to properly live. I chose the last, and not only to live but to truly be alive.
    Doing all the things (within reason) that I always saved for ‘when I’m thin’. Go to concerts, fly on my own, wear the pretty clothes, eat the food my body is asking for.

    I’m not saying it’s always easy, it’s not. But it’s a lot easier with that fire within that tells me I am doing the right thing for my body and mind.

  5. With your standard disclaimer that health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or in your control…

    My health has improved by leaps and bounds since I stopped dieting. I have more endurance. I have more energy. I’m better at all those activities I love- jogging and biking and hiking- because I’m not trying to do them on 250 calories’ worth of juice, and I no longer feel obligated to participate in trendy, boring activities I *don’t* love just to “prove” I’m not “too lazy” for them. I’ve stopped choosing foods based on whether I’m afraid JD Roth would publicly humiliate me for eating them and started paying attention to empirical markers of nutritional value. The result? I eat better, I sleep better, and I exercise more effectively – all those empirically healthy things dieting *actively prevented me from doing.*

    And it’s not just those kinds of choices I’m in a better position to make. When I was dieting, I walked on eggshells 24/7, and EVERY decision I made was tainted with the fear of whether or not I’d suffer abuse or public shame for making it. This is not an unfounded fear – when you are fat, it can certainly happen, and to me it has. What I have now, though, is a better grasp of why it happens, that it’s not my fault, and that there are places I can turn to for help and support (REAL help and support, not “oh, you poor baby, let me help you lose weight so you never force anyone to treat you like shit again!”). That fear is gone now.

  6. How great to read your article on Better Humans. You wrote, “Food can also be an area fraught with triggers and difficult to break patterns that don’t help or push you back towards diet mentality.” I recently decided to make a drastic change with food at the urging of a doctor who, although she didn’t care to admit it, was doing it, I know, because I’m fat. This was about a month ago, and deprivation and frustration have taken their toll to the point that I’m about ready to bounce backwards just like the old diet days. I needed to read this today, and am glad I hadn’t gotten around to it until now, because now is just the right time. I can’t go back to those old ways. Triggers abound. No way, no how. Screw fat-phobia and fat-phobic doctors. Screw them all. If only I could get up not only the courage to say what I want to say to them, but also walk out of their offices not risking brainwashing back into that diet and weight loss, body hatred thinking.

  7. Everything changed for the better when I stopped dieting. Just like for you, dieting did not make me happier, healthier or thinner in the long run. It was exhausting, I hated my body, and was so empowered to let go. Before, when I was younger, I’ve never been into diets, it seemed so crazy to me. When I started to diet, I very quickly stepped over the line between ,,just dieting” and ”disordered eating or eating disorder”. I did not even know it. So I think that I am quite a living example that there is not much recognisable difference between these two. It’s very easy to fall prey into it. Actually, I think that ,,simple dieting” more than often leads to eating disorders or disordered eating. I would never go back. There are sometimes suggestions from people around me that I maybe should just try to lose weight without attaching any value to it, but that is not possible. In our society, weight loss is always expected, always seen as good and most certainly is not morally neutral (eventhough it, in fact, is). Plus, I can’t imagine being hungry ,,when it’s not, in fact, needed at all”! The only reason I ever did want to be thin was to be deemed attractive and acceptable. No other needs required. I am so happy for you all that you stopped fighting your bodies, it’s simply great. You’re so much valuable and beautiful just the way you are, no matter what the freaks tell you…

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