Kale's great and all, but...
Dieting teaches us to ignore our body's wisdom and genuine cravings, and instead gives over power to the Diet Guru Du Jour.
How many diets are out there? How many of them are backed by doctors and gurus who claim they know “the most natural way to eat” or “the fastest way to burn fat and never gain it back!” or “the most definite way to never be hungry again, become beautiful, have everyone love you, and have all your dreams come true!”?
And how many of those diets completely clash in their beliefs about what foods we should be eating?
All of them.
Both veganism (no meat) and paleo (mostly meat) claim to cure chronic disease, including cancer, and claim they’re best for the sustainability of the planet. The war rages on between the extreme diet philosophies, just like religious wars (but so far, a little less violent). The casualties are the desperate health seekers and the weight obsessed (and their children, growing up seeing food and weight as morally important subjects).
These people follow diets just like a religion, believing the gospel and judging others for not being as pure, feeling superior by their strictness and blaming new health problems on detoxing. No one can talk them out of their lifestyle no matter how restrictive. It’s “healthy” after all.
Diet industries rule the day. We hear about weight and weight loss so often we barely notice it anymore. All the while, body dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. Even people who don’t diet wonder whether they should just “start being good and lose a few pounds.”
I’ve been vegan, paleo, and everything in between. And do you know the one thing those diets absolutely do not cure you from? Being NUTS and fixated on what you put in your mouth.
Call it orthorexia, call it "control issues", call it an eating disorder, call it the affliction of the privileged, call it being a farmer’s-market-obsessed-person who is really annoying to eat with at a restaurant, the obsession with dieting is a disorder...no matter how you slice the organic lemons you are squeezing into your annoying cleansing morning tea. And I say this as someone who was obsessed with dieting “because of health” for over 10 years. I say this as someone who understands how important it all feels while you are chasing that pure, skinny, healthy, dream.
Dieting teaches us to ignore our body's wisdom and genuine cravings, and instead gives over power to the Diet Guru Du Jour. Through time we forget that our bodies hold any wisdom at all. In fact, now we feel like our bodies are our enemies because they keep craving and eating foods that are not on our diet! Binge! Repent! Rinse! Repeat!
But our bodies are the ones that know what we need to eat. Mister Raw Kale does not. Our bodies are the ones that can lead us to pleasurable, healthy, balanced nourishment. Mister Raw Kale can not.
Mister Raw Kale probably has his own eating disorder, control issues, and a very lucrative job feeding into all of our fears with his expensive superfood supplements.
Culturally, we take it at face value that skinny is healthy. But that’s not always the case, especially once we start restricting and stop listening. Skinny can be healthy. So can other body types. So can any body with healthy habits and a zest for life. Healthy is much more than looks and weight.
Undereating is not physically or mentally superior. And if we step back and really think about that biologically, we can recognize how true that is.
Constant attempts to lose weight, constant undereating, yo-yo dieting, and bingeing then repenting with a juice cleanse isn’t healthy. The starvation response can get triggered with just a little restriction. Plus, the ‘success’ of a weight loss diet is always so fleeting before your start worrying about gaining weight again, falling off the wagon, rebelling, and realizing that life at skinny didn’t actually get all that much better...
We can’t genuinely nourish ourselves when we are obsessed with weight and relying on an outside source to tell us how to eat. But instead, if you learn to love where you are now and start listening, your body will ask for both dessert and vegetables and everything in between. Let’s start putting more trust in our bodies and start seeing our existence as more than a life-long weight loss project.