The "dietary industry is a dangerous con" proposal

Why do so many smart women fall for its harmful, pseudoscientific claims?

EXCERPT: . . . I called this poisonous relationship between a body I was indoctrinated to hate and food I had been taught to fear “wellness.” This was before I could recognize wellness culture for what it was — a dangerous con that seduces smart women with pseudoscientific claims of increasing energy, reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of cancer and healing skin, gut and fertility problems. But at its core, “wellness” is about weight loss. It demonizes calorically dense and delicious foods, preserving a vicious fallacy: Thin is healthy and healthy is thin.

Almost three years ago, I moved to Los Angeles from New York. After death and divorce, moving is supposed to be the most stressful thing you can go through, and eating became my salve. I had a second book and a screenplay due, a new city to explore and friends to make, but I could hardly focus on any of that for how crazy I felt around food. So I did a desperate thing. I searched “intuitive eating” online.

Thanks to a stint at a health magazine, I had a glancing understanding of the philosophy, which encourages a return to the innate wisdom we had as babies — about when to stop eating, what tastes good and how it makes our bodies feel. I might have sought it out sooner if not for the part where you learn to accept how your body looks once you stop restricting food, even if that version of your body is larger than you would like.

The search led me to a nearby dietitian who is considered by some to be one of the founding mothers of intuitive eating. I picked up the phone. Intuitive eating has been around for decades, but it’s suddenly receiving a lot of attention. Perhaps it’s because women are finally starting to interrogate the systems that hurt and exploit us. Perhaps it’s because we’re driven and ambitious and we need energy — not lightheaded, leafy-greens energy but real energy, the kind that comes from eating the hearty foods men eat.

I had paid a lot of money to see a dietitian once before, in New York. When I told her that I loved food, that I’d always had a big appetite, she had nodded sympathetically, as if I had a tough road ahead of me. “The thing is,” she said with a grimace, “you’re a small person and you don’t need a lot of food.”

The new dietitian had a different take. “What a gift,” she said, appreciatively, “to love food. It’s one of the greatest pleasures in life. Can you think of your appetite as a gift?” It took me a moment to wrap my head around such a radical suggestion. Then I began to cry.

Two years into my work with her, I feel lighter than I ever have. Food is a part of my life — a fun part — but it no longer tastes irresistible, the way it did when I told myself I couldn’t have it. My body looks as it always has when I’m not restricting or bingeing. I’m not “good” one day so that I can be “bad” another, which I once foolishly celebrated as balance.

Occasionally, when I’m stressed, I comfort myself with food, and my dietitian assures me that’s an acceptable kind of hunger too. Emotional eating is a coping mechanism. We’re told it is an unhealthy habit, one we must break, but that’s another wellness lie. It is not vodka in our morning coffee. My binges stopped once I stopped judging myself for wanting to eat the foods “wellness” vilified, sometimes for reasons other than physical hunger.

I no longer define food as whole or clean or sinful or a cheat. It has no moral value. Neither should my weight, though I’m still trying to separate my worth from my appearance. They are two necklaces that have gotten tangled over the course of my 35 years, their thin metal chains tied up in thin metal knots. Eventually, I will pry them apart.

Most days, I feel good in my skin. That said, I am probably never going to love my body, and that’s O.K. I think loving our bodies is not only an unrealistic goal in our appearance-obsessed society but also a limiting one. No one is telling men that they need to love their bodies to live full and meaningful lives. We don’t need to love our bodies to respect them.

The diet industry is a virus, and viruses are smart. It has survived all these decades by adapting, but it’s as dangerous as ever.... (MORE - details)
If you were asked if you'd like to carry 25 two pound bags of sugar around with you - all the time - would you say - "Yay, load me up with the sugar."? Or - "I think we may have a bit of a problem here.". Inside every fat person (they say) is a thin person trying to get out. Sometimes two or more thin people trying to get out.
(Jun 15, 2019 12:52 AM)confused2 Wrote: If you were asked if you'd like to carry 25 two pound bags of sugar around with you - all the time - would you say - "Yay, load me up with the sugar."? Or - "I think we may have a bit of a problem here.". Inside every fat person (they say) is a thin person trying to get out. Sometimes two or more thin people trying to get out.

People on farms don't even get enough exercise anymore. Machines haven't replaced all the manual labor, but they've greatly lessened the kind that once burned calories like a gazelle. No doubt riding or sitting down and operating controls all day is tiresome and uncomfortable in its own way. And it hasn't reached the point where every agrarian landowner invariably hires others to do fencing, repair equipment, perform carpentry work, etc.

But one look at the numerous rotund bodies at local gatherings, their various ailments, diabetes and heart surgeries indicates that whatever remains isn't the kind of work that is sufficient. Occasionally you can even sight a familiar one in his mid-forties to early fifties using a mobility shopping scooter at Walmart. As if he's as half-incapacitated as the town folk that long vanished, rustic old-timers might have been silently chuckling at for the former's expected rate of being more out of shape back then.

There is a "normal" BMI farm couple I'm "sort of" acquainted with (maybe they're even starting to straddle too far into underweight body status). But they regularly go on long walks without hunting or "checking on the property" being an infrequent excuse. As if they just tumbled out of the land of yuppie urban rituals, kind of outwardly admitting they wouldn't be getting enough exercise minus that.
I'd like a therapist to say "Yes, drink as much as you like - you'll get fed up with alcohol and choose to stay sober.". Almost 50 years and rising and I still ain't choosing to stay sober yet. Maybe next year. Likewise smoking - what harm could it possibly do? A man without a cough is like a dog that doesn't bark.

The whole 'recipe' thing is about making people eat more than they actually need to eat. If we all had to eat half-cooked ferrets there wouldn't be anything like so many fat people around.

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