Where Are My People?
In the recovery from eating disorders or diet culture world, there is an exercise where you write your timeline of experiences going on a diet and what you were hoping would occur when you achieved the goal of the diet. As clinicians, we need to be doing the work as well.
One of the connections I made when I did this exercise a while back was that I had vivid memories of WHO was accompanying me on the XYZ diet. Twenty years ago, I borrowed a book from a friend, and we were going to do a specific diet together. Just reading the book and seeing where she marked in the book felt like a connection. This was a short-lived diet buddy team because the diet was too restrictive and crazy-making, as they are.
Somewhere in there around twenty years ago, I joined another weight loss group that got together on Monday nights. I would drive a reasonable distance to meet with this group of women. We did whatever we were supposed to do in the weight loss meeting. Then we would go out afterward to eat at one of the local restaurants. I remember loving the time together with this group of women. I remember ZERO about the dieting and whether it was even "successful."
Again, almost in the twenty years ago timeframe, I joined yet another weekly weight loss group. This time, more than for the weight loss, I was driven to join this particular group because I saw a chance to bond more with a friend. It worked! We would often stay outside in the parking lot talking after the meetings, sometimes in the freezing cold.
Do you see the trend? Connecting with others was, for me, a driving force to try my dances with dieting. Dieting that would not work most of the time, and if it did, not for long. Dieting would take on a life of its own inside my head, creating so much distrust of my body and my mind, sabotaging a relationship with food and cooking. I drank that diet culture Kool-aid.
Brené Brown says we are wired for connection. Even introverted little ole me. Diet culture did offer a community. One that, if I am honest, is hard to resist at times. But that community does not embrace the authenticity and self-compassion! The price for admission is to distrust your body and be disgusted with yourself, as a motivation for change that ultimately does not change anything.
Recovery from diet culture is almost impossible to do alone. Find your people. There are online anti-diet communities. And in the days of COVD, online is sometimes our only option. But I am looking for my people! People who know there is so much more to life than diets and dieting. People that know the lies that diet culture spreads. People who want to reconnect with the trust in their body—the trust that they came into the world with. Where are my people? We need each other!