Emily Van Eck
What is going on with anti-diet trends? Is intuitive eating the new diet?
Updated: May 12
Excitingly, there are more and more headlines about Health At Every Size, how diets don't work, Intuitive Eating, that weight stigma is an actual real problem created by our thin-obsessed, oppressive culture, and how body positivity is making waves. How wonderful! Sometimes it feels like it's not just me and my clients screaming on a rooftop.
The truth is, there are so so many incredible writers, activists, and practitioners doing this important work and more every day. So the stories are coming out and making headlines. I wanted to write a blog post that I keep editing in order to share the latest articles I come across.
Just this week, I noticed this article in Self magazine about how emotional eating is actually quite normal, which it is! Eating for emotional reasons exists on a spectrum, as does everything else. Numbing or distracting yourself daily from your emotions with food doesn't feel great, primarily because you aren't actually dealing with the underlying emotion. But there is also a very normal side of emotional eating that we all do and that doesn't need to be "fixed". Diet culture has deemed emotional eating the enemy, constantly trying to convince you that if you had more willpower, you would be fine with just some iced tea or a few blueberries instead of that ice cream. The truth is, food IS emotional. We celebrate with food, show love with food, and that ok. In fact, it's actually really healthy to be excited about your meals and get lots of pleasure from them. Satisfaction and pleasure are surely emotional. This article does a great job of explaining the nuance here and why some emotional eating is just perfectly normal, and why we want to keep it around.
Here's another article in the Huffington Post with input from Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, an eating disorder specialist based in Colorado about why you don't need to be weighed at the doctor's office - a very common discussion in my client sessions. It can be so incredibly hard and shaming for people are who go to the doctor for a broken toe or sinus infection and end up with the doctor telling them to lose weight. This is actually a really damaging practice, causing many people to avoid going to the doctor all together and causing others to try fad diet after fad diet so they don't have to be told to lose weight anymore. And as we know, that never works. It's a vicious cycle.
Here's a NY Times article about Intuitive Eating. This article explains why dieters have such messed up relationships to food, why dieting causes rebound eating, binging, anxiety around food and so many other problems. They explain the "what the hell effect" quite well, with the help of Evelyn Tribole, one of the creators of the IE method. This common side effect of dieting is what causes you to treat each day like it's "good" or "bad" and why you don't feel like you can stop after just 1 or 2 cookies.... hint, you're not addicted to cookies.
Alright, that's it for now. Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to reach out via email or my website if you have any questions at all.
If you're ready to have some individual help on your food peace journey or need a weight-inclusive dietitian to help you manage chronic disease, send me a message and we can talk about how we could work together.
Emily Van Eck, MS, RDN specializes in intuitive eating, mindfulness-based eating practices, embodiment with food and movement, and healing from years of weight-bias and chronic dieting. She helps people find balance, consistency, and peace with their eating habits so they can feel confident to get outta their heads and into their bodies. Emily is a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor with a master's degree in nutrition science. Read more about her here.