12/10/15

Surviving the Pressure to Diet, Part II

The ideas of the individual diet and the pressures to constantly diet from the last two posts open the door to a new philosophy of not just eating disorder recovery but eating in our current environment. 

The concept that there is one correct way of approaching food, body and health contradicts everything we know about the human body. Although we all have the same organs and function similarly, our genetic differences underlie a vast range of traits from appearance to personality to our unique fingerprint to organ function. 

In other words, we are each our own person. The collective attempt to universalize food choice and metabolism as if we are all the same rails against these truths about humans. 

I have written extensively in this blog (post1, post2, post3) about the societal pressures which have encouraged these falsehoods to pervade our world. The media pressure for thinness, the diet industry, the pervasive food industry and weak regulatory system (influenced largely by industry lobbying) have all weakened the clear message from science: we are each an individual human. 

And so the philosophy that will counteract these pressures has two parts: learn about your own body and life is more important than food. 

Well-being and health have many components, and one is food and nutrition. Although there are some basic facts about nutrition that matter for us all, for example eat a variety of food and eat real food, what works best is the individual diet. Learn what types of foods work best for you, the way of eating that fits your digestive system and meal sizes that help you function at your best. For people with eating disorders, there will be a period of following someone else's plan to relearn how to eat first, but others can start to learn about their own bodies right away. 

Second, despite the pressure to prioritize food, spending an enormous amount of time on food and weight wastes time better spent on living. People with eating disorders or those with disordered eating know that obsessions about food can consume one's internal world.


It's so important to make sure life--family, relationships, work, hobbies, interests--matters more than simply thinking about body and food. Life leads to more satisfaction every single time.

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