Have you seen posts like this while scrolling social media?
“I don’t (donut) care about your diet”. As an anti-diet dietitian, I’ve made posts like this before, but I always want to add an asterisk. I don’t care about society’s newest diet for weight loss or to live longer. I don’t care about the fads and the gimmicks. I don’t care about the diets a person goes on for a couple of days and then gets sick of and eats all the foods they weren’t allowed. I don’t care about the latest trendy food products which adhere to certain diets. I simply don’t care. Since these diets aren’t sustainable, I know it’s not going to last, and I’m way more interested in what cool projects people are working on, what books they’re reading, what interesting conversations they’re having… basically I’m interested in everything other than what they’re not allowing themselves to eat that day.
However, even as an anti-diet dietitian who doesn’t care about these diets, I most certainly care about my clients’ diets. A diet, as defined as “the kinds of food that a person habitually eats” is a huge part of a person’s life. Everyone’s thinking about their diet and what they’re going to eat multiple times each day. They think about where they’re going out to eat with friends and what they’re going to cook for their families. Our diets are ways in which we define ourselves. We may be “meat and potato” loving, vegetarian, Kosher, or gluten-free. We have favorite foods and least favorite foods. We have a diet history that we share with members of our family and our community. Your diet helps make up who you are.
Even the diet for weight loss or “health” is still important to hear about. I want to know what drew you to a particular diet. With so many diets out there, including Keto, Paleo, Whole-30, and many more, there’s a reason why you’re drawn to one over the other. Is it because you actually prefer some of the foods offered? Or is it because you’re deathly afraid of allowing yourself certain foods and therefore it’s easier to limit those? Are you doing a certain diet because your best friend or co-workers are doing that one? Are you looking to lose large amounts of weight or a few pounds or are you looking to avoid disease? Has a certain diet worked for you in the past? Do you struggle with food insecurity and going on a diet is an easier way for you to food budget?
There are so, so many reasons why someone goes on a diet and to assume it’s because someone has simply bought into diet culture is missing the point. I want to sit with a person and find out why they personally feel the need to diet. And I know that that person really believes they need that diet to feel okay, to feel accomplished, to feel loved, to feel accepted, or to feel safe. I’m not there to take that away from them. What I am there to do is to help the person understand what dieting provides, educate on the reasons why most diets don’t work long term, and then help support alternative behavior changes that support what the person is looking for, without a restrictive diet that causes the person to ultimately feel worse.
So, ultimately, the asterisk I would put on an image like the one above would be: I don’t care about your diet*
*when we’re out to eat, at the gym, at the grocery store, hanging out at my house, or on social media, but when you’re my client, as a registered dietitian nutritionist, I care deeply about your diet and how it impacts and shapes your life and I want to know more about it.
Are you struggling with your relationship to food and your body? Are you Recovering from an eating disorder or chronic dieting and in search of an experienced eating disorder registered dietitian in the Long Island, New York area or virtually in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut? Send Christina an email to learn more about 1:1 nutrition therapy sessions!