“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ~ Audre Lorde

When you decide that you are done with dieting and cannot image going to another WW meeting or counting your calories in Noom or whatever, that is when you will entertain the idea of Intuitive Eating. You know there has to be another way even though you may still want to lose weight (super normal!) And you still flirt with the idea of an occasional juice cleanse. Also, super normal. Letting go of dieting is a process. Two steps forward, one step back. It’s okay to take your time.

So, let’s start talking about the hard stuff. Because, we can do hard things! Letting go of dieting is an act of divesting from the dominant system we live in.. diet culture where dieting is normalized and discriminating against fat bodies is normalized. We are divesting from a system that is rooted in fat phobia, healthism, shame and perfectionism. Divestment from white supremacy. Divestment from beauty.

When we are divesting, we are “digging up the roots, considering how those early seeds were planted, how we came to believe something, what makes it true (if anything), and whether it is ours to keep.” (Hilary and Dana of Be Nourished)

Divesting is not an easy thing to do when it seems everyone around you is counting calories and weighing themselves. So, how do we do this?

Desiree Adaway (Diversity, Inclusion and Equity educator) https://adawaygroup.com/desiree-adaway/ has six steps that she uses in her life to break free from systems of oppression (eg. Capitalism, White Supremacy).

  1. Defy the lies. What lies should you be defying?
  2. Defend the truth. What are you willing to defend?
  3. Demand transformation.
  4. Declare your non-negotiables for freedom.
  5. Divest from chains. What systems do you need to divest from?
  6. Dream. What does victory look like? Who do you need shouldering you in this work?

When you begin your Intuitive Eating journey, you are divesting from THE system that is rooted in white supremacy and toxic capitalism. Reclaiming your body is a radial act and it involves acknowledging  where your ideas about your value and worth originated.

What lies have you been told about your value, your productivity, your life potential, your body, your beauty, and your health?

Social constructs such as gender, race, beauty, health and weight disrupt our ability to trust our body and let go of dieting. We may not even realize the extent of how much we have internalized these constructs and how much they impact and shape our behaviors- especially with regard to food and body.

Are there some social constructs you would like to be less invested in financially, emotionally, and spiritually?

What are some possible ways to begin divesting from systems, institutions, constructs or ideas that are using you and/or draining you?

Perfectionism and dieting go hand in hand. We strive to achieve the “perfect body” and eat “perfect superfoods” etc… this is a function of white supremacy culture. This dominating force keeps us pushing and striving and obedient. We are lead to believe if we do the “right” morally virtuous thing (eat clean, green and get lean!), then we will be safe from shame and criticism.

When does perfectionism most often show up in your life? This may be about your body, or food, or work or…?

When perfectionism is in charge, whose values and ideals is your perfect/idealized self upholding?

Perfectionism has a way of objectifying and dehumanizing us, as do our inner critics.

What is one sentence or mantra you would like to say to that critical voice to encourage it to give you more space?

Example: “You don’t have to be perfect to be loved.”

How can you begin today to let yourself off the hook more? How can you soften the grip of perfectionism and invite in forgiveness and compassion?

What is one thing you can do to divest from diet culture today?

Tell me below!



References: Hilary Kinavey, MS, LPC and Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD of Be Nourished in Portland; this information is from The School of Unlearning Training 2022

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Karen Louise Scheuner, MA, RDN

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