Lose Weight, Stop Dieting
“Can a feminist diet?” wondered Kjerstin Gruys, a UCLA sociology grad student. “The question haunts me. I’m a feminist, a recovered anorexic and, yes, I’m on a diet.”
She knows the horrors of obsessing over “bad food.” Women become starving anorexics or binging/vomiting bulimics or fall into the most common food ailment: binge-eating disorder which is marked by overeating in secret, lying about eating, craving unhealthy foods, and putting food first.
Feminists pan diets that “drain women’s energy, happiness, and wallets – often while risking our health,” Gruys notes. And in the end, diets usually fail.
Still, slim women are rewarded and heavy women are punished. So what’s a girl to do?
Gruys has chosen to forgo both mirrors and dieting.
I don’t know if avoiding mirrors will help, but when I stopped dieting I lost weight because I also lost my food obsession.
So I don’t believe in diets. But I do believe in healthy eating – which brings satisfaction without feeling uncomfortably full.
Since I’ve found that poor food choices leave me hungry even if I overeat, I appreciate new food guidelines that recommend lots of delicious fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with yogurt, nuts, and peanut butter. Milk and cheese don’t seem to affect weight, so add them too.
Foods to enjoy more sparingly include French fries, red meat, processed meats, refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks, fruit juice (who knew?), fried foods, and butter. Potatoes make this list, but the butter and sour cream we put on them are the real problem.
I’ve found that labeling foods “bad” just leads to obsession – you want what you can’t have. So I have my burgers and fries (a couple times a week) and a little candy too. But I’ve also learned that whole foods are luscious.
And don’t forget to exercise and get plenty of sleep.
The starvation beauty ideal is ridiculous – and unattractive, if you ask me. But living healthfully will help us to lead fuller lives.