Why You Should Stop “Dieting”

11 thoughts on “Why You Should Stop “Dieting””

  1. Hi,
    My girlfriend has anorexia, and in times has found your website and this whole operation a source of comfort and support. However that being said, the article above seems to be sending a mixed message. I originally thought the purpose and message of operation beautiful was to let everyone out their know that they are beautiful irrespective of their shape/size or looks. It is what is on the inside that makes a person beautiful.
    I think that confidence inspires beauty and had believed that operation beautiful was about increasing confidence and beauty throughout the world. Which is I was confused and I have to say a little upset when I read your article about food and dieting. Does this mean that you believe to be beautiful you must control what and the amount that you eat? I only bring this to your attention because you may not be aware but some of the statements in your article could be termed ‘pro-anorexic’. Encouraging people to; eat smaller portions, use smaller plates and cutlery is a stepping stone for people to cut down eating and become obsessed with body image and weight.
    I know that the majority of your readers will not suffer from eating disorders and this is simply aimed at helping them lose weight sensibly. The main point I am trying to make is that by linking weight loss to your site you reinforce the stereo type that to be beautiful you must be/want to be thinner.



    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Andy! I really appreciate it. Of course, I do not believe that you must “control” what you eat to be beautiful, but many many people do not have any idea how to stop “dieting” and just start eating normal portions of REAL food. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I am so happy you are supportive of your girlfriend.

    2. Andy
      I know the battle your girlfriend is facing, it’s one that I’ve faced for five years. It’s obvious that you care for her very much, and I applaud you for taking this journey with her. Have you heard of God Loves Ugly by Christa Black? The title may sound like the opposite of helpful, but it’s a book that was incorporated during my recovery and it has helped me numerous ways. I would highly recommend it. I wish you both the very best and immense strength throughout this journey.

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for your comment Andy, I was think the same thing. If I may be so bold to offer a suggestion – I would recommend checking out Health At Every Size, specifically Linda Bacon along with intuitive eating experts, such as Ellyn Satter. Ellyn Satter has a great definition of normal eating. I believe the message above was on the right track, but unfortunately missed the boat with tips on using smaller plates and smaller utensils. With intuitive eating, it doesn’t really matter the size of the plate because you are listening to your body. Your body may need a larger “portion” one day and less the next. It truly varies. Enough ranting. I leave with Ellyn Satter’s definition of “normal eating.”

    Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it – not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint on your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is three meals a day, or it can be choosing to munch along. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful when they are fresh. Normal eating is overeating at times: feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

    In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger and your proximity to food.

    1. In response to your comment and Andy’s comment, I have removed the tips for intuitive eating from this section. Although I think intuitive eating has a great place in our world, especially in a world where most people struggling with overeating, not undereating, I understand it may be triggering to people with eating disorders. So, I removed it. Thank you both for your feedback.

  3. Dear Admin,

    Thanks for removing the intuitive eating article. I didn’t read it, but from the comments others made, it sounds like it was a very thoughtful thing for you to remove it out of sensitivity and respect for what others wrote. “Overeating” is always triggered by undereating. At times it may seem like “emotional” eating, but it’s really because when we’re stressed, our bodies won’t tolerate both the stressful situation, and the stress of not having eaten enough, so we wolf down food to make up for the undereating, so we can then focus on the stressful situation. It isn’t actually overeating, it’s just restoring the necessary calories we deprived ourselves of and perhaps didn’t know we needed.

    One thing is that when we undereat, the body tends to want to eat more in the makeup eating phase (and more calories from tablesugar and fats, to ensure rapid and sufficient calories to restore blood sugar promptly and fully.) This is a normal response to undereating: the body ensures we eat a bit more, for survival in the event of another undereating event. It is actually healthier to “err” on the side of overeating, because our bodies do actually stop us when we’ve had enough, if we consistently eat enough, often enough. People who are “naturally thin” tend to not restrict themselves the way plus-size people do, which is actually why they have an easier time remaining slim! Plus-size people have been taught to diet, to undereat, to restrict, typically to an extreme degree (eating only 1000 – 1200 kcals/day, or undereating by at least 500 kcals/day) which is extremely unhealthy, so the body fights back with lots of hunger and feeling like a “bottomless pit.”

    For those of us of any size with disordered eating or full-blown eating disorders, we really need encouragement to eat all we want, frequently, to prevent the undereating/overeating cycle that is usually the real culprit of weight gain.

    Contrary to what doctors and the CDC or NIH tell us, greater weight is actually caused by primary undereating (usually dieting!), not primary overeating. Jean Antonello, RN and dietitian, has many articles on her site, naturally-thin.com that explain this well. I don’t agree with her pushing a goal of thin, but her insights into dieting causing weight gain are incredible.

    So thanks again for withdrawing the article.

  4. Thanks, Caitlin. I hope my description of how *undereating* and food restriction cause “overeating” was helpful in understanding what causes weight gain (with the exception of those who are genetically of larger size or have a medical problem or prescription causing greater weight.) We are being so mis-educated by doctors and the public health establishment: they are actually *creating* the so-called “obesity epidemic” and rising weights with their advice on how to “cure” weight gain! Fortunately, many recovering dieters and a small but growing number of dietitians, and other health researchers and professionals are recognizing this and advocating against eating restriction/dieting. It’s actually often referred to as “intuitive eating,” but it sounds like they describe it differently than the article was pulled. Anyway, I hope all of this has been helpful for understanding weight gain better, and why it is actually so important to encourage plus-size people to eat! And to sit down with us and eat heartily with us, til all are full.

  5. Alice,
    Wow, that comment makes a lot of sense! But I do believe in portion control, and I don’t think we should eat WHENEVER we want. I believe we should eat when we are hungry, and if we are just bored, don’t eat. But yes, if you are hungry, you certainly should eat, because restricting yourself leads to over eating (as you said). I think the problem many people have (I know I have it!) is they may not get a chance to eat. Being in school, we only get the designated 30 minutes to eat our meal, so It’s difficult to eat when we are actually hungry… But that comment really made me think, and maybe I should eat (in moderation) more often, and eat healthy, unprocessed foods. Thanks!

  6. I really appreciate this, and i know that Operation Beautiful is trying to help you accept who you are but sometimes, you’re just unhealthy. Not nessisarally (?) overweight, but underweight, or something. You know? But this article helps alot with me 🙂

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