What Do You Mean You Don’t Eat No Meat?

How alternative diets fit into intuitive eating and the anti-diet movement

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Photo by Dana DeVolk on Unsplash

So, if all foods are allowed, how do you eat intuitively while also following a diet that is, by its very nature, restrictive?

We’ve yet to have a holiday, or dinner of any kind really, in my family with a spread that leaves even an inch of extra room on the table, or without at least one full dessert per person. Missing out on turkey wasn’t exactly going to make me feel deprived in this house.

I was empowered by what I’d learned about intuitive eating to make those decisions with an open mind and without the judgment that is inevitable when you link your identity to your diet

When there’s a special meaning for fasting or restricting certain foods, you don’t feel deprived of those foods because you’re receiving nourishment and fulfillment in another form. Without that sense of deprivation, you’re less likely to fall into a binge spiral once foods are available to you again. You’re also not very likely to lose weight from these restrictions because they’re just a normal part of your lifestyle, not a strategy you’re using to drop a few pounds. The problem arises when you use traditions around food as a guise for restricting to achieve weight loss.

When there’s a special meaning for fasting or restricting certain foods, you don’t feel deprived of those foods because you’re receiving nourishment and fulfillment in another form.

The first and most fundamental principle of intuitive eating is to reject the diet mentality — to remove restrictions and rigidity from the way you eat and exercise, and to allow all foods at all times. So, if all foods are allowed, how do you eat intuitively while following a diet that is, by its very nature, restrictive? How could I follow a diet that was intellectually and ethically important to me without feeling deprived and ending up at a diner one night binge eating cheeseburgers?

If your choices make you feel good, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, you’re far more likely to sustain that lifestyle.

It was clear to me both then and now that I needed to reevaluate my diet with both my physical health and my ethical concerns in mind. I was empowered by what I’d learned about intuitive eating to make those decisions with an open mind and without the judgment that is inevitable when you link your identity to your diet, as I had many times before. In the last two years, I’ve felt better than I ever have, and that feeling is quantifiable: my weight has stabilized, my total cholesterol and lipid ratios have improved, and my blood pressure has settled on the low end of normal.

Follow along on my quest to make diet culture another millennial casualty. Find me on Insta @life_after_diets

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