Thankfully, there seems to be an increase in anti-diet rhetoric within culture recently. With body positivity and anti-body shaming messaging on the rise among influencers and celebrities, it feels we are moving in the right direction. However, and unfortunately, much of this messaging has thin-idealizing undertones and are flawed by limitations, “Love yourself! Within reason of course”—as if self love is reserved for those that only “slightly” deviate from the ideal beauty standard. This could leave one in the position of “I can see how she can accept her flaws, but how flawed does that make me?” Considering much of the representation on social media is limited to the faint stretch marks and barely-there rolls of thin, white women, NOT to say these women do not have the “right” to struggle with body image—everyone and anyone can and does struggle with body image, but refusal to acknowledge their privilege causes damage to the self acceptance of their followers. This is not to shame the good intentions of these types of posts, but rather inform how they sometimes (and often do) further uphold the expectations set by diet culture, when privilege goes unacknowledged.
Being informed on the racist, sexist and fatphobic background of diet culture not only allows you to heal your own relationship with your body & food, it provides insight into the ways you can support others heal theirs. Here are some amazing resources for breaking away from diet culture and unlearning the toxic narrative around heath, beauty and food that exist today:
This is essentially the “bible” of much of the Anti-Diet, HAES and Eating Disorder Recovery community. Intuitive Eating is an incredible diet-rejecting book that outlines ten principles for reconnecting with your body and shifting your view of food, so that you can nurture a positive relationship with eating and your body.
#2 Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being & Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison
This book offers in-depth historical and cultural context to the diet and thin-obsessed world existent today. It outlines the many forms that diet culture takes on and ways to reclaim your freedom from the “The Life Thief” (aka diet culture). The book provides insight into how the “obesity epidemic” took form and the baseless claims it stems from.
This incredible publication convincingly challenges the rhetoric that thin idealization is a product of health concern, but rather, a product of sexism, classism and racism. The book offers a historical narrative that is both thoroughly researched and impactfully written—which exposes the horrific and discriminatory roots of fatphobia.
Author of Anti-Diet, Christy Harrison, hosts this weekly podcast that explores the topics of diet culture, fatphobia, HAES and eating disorder recovery. Through conversations with dieticians, psychologists, authors and more, listening can offer you a chance to relate, empathize and expand your knowledge of the ways in which diet culture infiltrates people’s lives.
This scientifically-rooted approach to health and well-being debunks the myth that being smaller equates to being healthier. This book notes the damaging effects of weight stigmatization within healthcare and other settings, and offers a path towards reconnecting with your body and finding pleasure in food.
This is a wonderful book that compliments the other resources on this list. It offers daily readings and inspirations for practicing intuitive eating, navigating respect for your body and setting intentions for your relationship with your body & food.
This is a list of social media accounts for building a sense of community and support while on the journey towards body acceptance. Defying dieting and accepting your body is a radical act in today’s world, and engaging with others that understand and encourage your journey is one of the most beautiful parts of the process.
There are thousands of resources out there, but these offer a simple foundation from which you can begin to heal. You deserve a life free from food-and-body-related obsession and shame. The sense of freedom, liberation, joy and peace that I have found from resources like these is an indescribable blessing. Furthermore, (and if you are able*), it can be even more empowering to seek out individualized care—I recommend seeking out HAES care providers (such as psychologists, dietitians and eating disorder therapists) and/or Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors. Body acceptance and intuitive eating is possible—no matter how hopeless the pursuit may sometimes feel—and these resources can help you move one step closer to well-being. Even for those that have a positive relationship with their body & food, these resources encourage the tolerance, acceptance and advocacy of diversity and representation.
*Project HEAL is a not-for-profit that helps those in need afford eating disorder recovery treatment.