“…One of the ways that shifted for me to be more compassionate is, I kind of struggle with feeling perpetually disappointed in people a lot. Like, why aren’t they living up to their expectations, why aren’t they living up to my expectations, why are they making these self-destructive choices?” -Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
It can be hard to live in this diet- and weight-obsessed world on a daily basis when you are no longer participating in the BS. Hearing diet-talk or food-fear driven conversation can be infuriating at best, triggering at worst. When we’ve tasted the freedom of a restriction-free life, we want to grab the world by the lapels and shake it and yell, “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CREAM-AND-SUGAR INFUSED COFFEE! THIS IS EFFING GREAT! STOP DIETING FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!” After giving up dieting and a life of chasing fleeting goal weights, we no longer see the world the same way – and so we no longer understand why so many others still seem stuck in the current weight-loss-diet paradigm.
This was me immediately after having given up dieting (and up to pretty recently). Suddenly I was mystified that everyone was not aiming for non-diet nirvana like I now was, as though I had not spent the prior 16 years in ever-worsening diet-restriction oblivion. It’s easy to want to project our experience as the universal experience; after all, many of us came from the “if I can do it, everyone can do it” diet-mentality world. And it’s also easy to take the diet talk of others personally, and maybe even feel as though we are being judged for our non-diet choices.
Brené Brown explains how she dealt with these kinds of feelings in her book, Daring Greatly:
“One of the things that shifted for me, was this idea that maybe everyone – myself included – maybe everyone’s doing the best they can. But sometimes, that means that I don’t have to engage. …What I’ve learned for me, around boundaries and compassion, is that I don’t know whether people are doing the best they can or not, but my life is better when I work from the assumption that they are. … at the same time, that means that I need to have really clear boundaries. So instead of judging you, and feeling resentful, and feeling like you’re sucking me dry, or you’re taking advantage of me, I need to assume that you’re doing the best you can. And I need to set my boundaries, and not get involved to the degree where I lose control over how I feel about myself and what’s going on in that relationship.”
That’s where I’m trying to get with diet talk right now. I don’t always have to walk away or plug my ears and yell “LALALALALALALA,” but I don’t have to get emotionally involved, either. I can assume the dieter is trying the best she can. I don’t need to be angry or feel personally judged, especially because I feel good about the choices I’ve made around giving up dieting and embracing my body (aka, my boundaries) – and I can talk about that too, if that’s where the conversation is going. I don’t mind planting some non-diet seeds when appropriate, I just don’t need to get my knickers in a knot like I used to about “WHY DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND?”
This has actually come as a big relief. I spend plenty of time being angry at a society and diet industry that tells us we are not good enough as we are; I don’t need to be angry at the victims. I used to be one of them, after all.
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Welcome to food freedom! Dare to Not Diet LLC is owned by Glenys Oyston, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Therapist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. It's time to feel good about eating, your body, and your health.