I’m not going to lie. Breaking up with diet culture will challenge some long held beliefs and can bring up a lot of feelings. At first you may feel confused, lost, lonely or even a little fearful of your decision. But like any good breakup, those feelings will lessen over time and be replaced with feelings of empowerment, courage and freedom. I’ve been there and I know how good it feels to start living life on your own terms.
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Joni has been instrumental in my own eating disorder recovery. Her ability to reframe thoughts and perspectives is a super power. Her willingness to help others and share her insights is so helpful. I’m grateful to her for so much.
I’m happy to share my “Seven Steps to Breaking Up With Diet Culture” with you. These are some of the very steps I took during my own healing and recovery and I still practice to this day, as do many of my clients! I hope it’s helpful and sparks a desire in you to continue on your own healing journey.
Maybe you can’t even answer that question right now because it feels so out of reach. I promise, it’s not. You can do this!
Like so many others, I was indoctrinated into the world of dieting at an early age. I went on my first formal diet at the age of 10, attending weekly meetings and being told what I could and could not eat. At 11 years old, I participated in a clinical trial to test out a new weight loss drug for children. Yes, you read that right.
While I did lose a few pounds, I didn’t achieve the desired result of losing “enough” weight and keeping it off. I did however learn how to distrust and hate my body. I also learned how to restrict my food intake in front of others and binge eat when I was alone. Those behaviors, as well as others, became more severe over the years, developing into an eating disorder. Whenever I felt out of control in my life, my eating disorder voice would get louder and send me right back to dieting and the restrict-binge cycle. You name the diet, I’ve been on it.
I spent nearly 40 years living with the secret and shame of my eating disorder. When I finally decided I wanted to be free from the constant battle with food and my body, I sought help. Through my own recovery process I slowly began to acknowledge and speak about my eating disorder out loud and learn how to challenge my beliefs. It was hard work, but in doing that heavy lifting my life started to feel lighter.
I want the same thing for you!