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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Why the anti-diet might be the health trend we all


Anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, and have you heard of orthorexia? These eating disorders are signs of a deep, societal issue that mainly affect young women, but can affect anyone from any background. Since 35 percent of occasional dieters become disordered eaters, and a survey of college-age women found that 91 percent had participated in a diet, our societal relationship to food, eating, and diets can only be described as toxic.

In recent years, however, as social media and other media outlets become more focused on body-positivity, self-acceptance, and other similar messaging, “dieting” has fallen out of fashion and has been replaced by euphemisms like “clean eating” or “healthy lifestyle.” Yet, these more kindly-worded terms with the same aspects of deprivation and a moralistic view of food—“I was bad for eating brownies” or “I was good today and had a salad”—have created little improvement in our cultural obsession with the diet cycle of “being good,” feeling deprived, binging, and repeating.

Recently, I stumbled upon a blog called the Anti-Diet Project, probably when I should have been paying attention in class. What I thought was clickbait turned out to be an array of down-to-earth and practical articles on practicing intuitive eating that I voraciously consumed in a few days.

The author, Kelsey Miller, presents concepts, completely foreign to the usual “healthy” media I follow on Instagram or YouTube, discuss rejecting the “diet mentality” of restriction in conjunction with mindful eating.

As I read some of the articles, all these concepts seemed so obvious: eat until you’re full, eat what makes you feel good but also tastes good, take time to savor and enjoy your food, and leave no food in the “off-limits” category or you’ll find yourself ordering and consuming all of it at 2 a.m. after a night out.

The main idea is to reject the cultural moralism around food, to allow yourself to eat what you want, when you want without the inherent shame and guilt—or as the Anti-Diet Project states, eat like a 2-year old.

At a glance, this seems like a green light to eat Ben and Jerry’s all day, which may in fact be an initial reaction, but the concepts of mindful eating and respecting the body’s hunger and fullness can lead to balanced eating.

The author of the project describes her journey from calorie-counting to the progress she has made finding peace with food, but while always discovering different downfalls to overcome. After all, it is difficult to escape the constant talk of the newest diet or health trends.

As she stopped eating mindlessly while watching “Stranger Things,” and allowed herself to buy food choices that she truly enjoys, Kelsey describes how she no longer tries to fight off cravings or beats herself up for “failing” by getting Ben and Jerry’s, and is surprised to find just how much she can enjoy food when she slowed down to really savor it.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the anti-diet may serve people wanting to be healthy better than any diet, which often have counterproductive results. Intuitive eating may just be the saving grace people with disordered eating may need, and can create a healthier relationship with food for those who find themselves in a moralistic diet mindset.

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  • AnonymousJun 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm


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Why the anti-diet might be the health trend we all