Get To Know: The Activists Dismantling Diet Culture

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Dieting is ingrained within our culture. We are constantly recommended to cut calories and increase our fitness in order to lose weight and be “healthier”. Post-pregnant women are pressured to lose their ‘baby weight’ as quick as possible, brides are made to feel they must so they can look their “best” and young women in school enter the intangible grading system ranked by peers based on weight.

As a society we’re striving to lose weight because we’re told that way we will feel better and be better that way – that our weight and size measures our worth. There are, thankfully, women challenging this culture:

 

Grace Victory

Grace Victory is an award-winning vlogger and presenter having a positive YouTube channel with over 225,000 subscribers and 12 million views. Helmed as the “Internet’s Big Sister,” Victory speaks about a variety of topics from to self-love. In the summer of 2016, Grace released her debut documentary “Clean Eating’s Dirty Secrets”. It saw her challenging the claims that many popular health gurus swear by, testing out some of the extreme diets such as the raw vegan diet and the potato cleanse. She also talked to professionals for an insightful view of the current trends and fads and how they are affecting people mentally and physically.

 

Jess Baker

WELCOME NEW FRIENDS! ✨ I’m thrilled you’re here and I’d love to introduce myself… and then I have three questions for YOU! – I’m Jes Baker. I’m the author of two books, the blogger at TheMilitantBaker.com, an international speaker, baker, liberation enthusiast, and former mental health professional. 💖 I personally believe that Showtime is a godsend, that Jim Dale would make a great therapist (he could read me a grocery list and I’d feel better), and that the combination of vulnerability and empathy is the key to healing. I have the honor of being here after falling into the spotlight after creating satirical versions of Abercrombie & Fitch ads in 2013 and am happy to finally connect with you today! – I love to travel solo, always have an unrealistically tall stack of non-fiction books to read, am addicted to snorkeling, and live for the perfect jalapeno and cream cheese scone—and yes, I totally have the recipe. 🌵I live in Tucson, Arizona where the summer temperatures often reach 116° and even though I’ve spent most of my life here I’m still REALLY bitter about it. – I am on a mission to turn our society’s concept of “beauty” on its oppressive head because every person is worthy of respect and feeling valued regardless of their size, shape, race, sex, ability, gender, age or health records. 🙌 My ultimate goal is to help every person (including YOU) to release shame, reclaim joy and live your best life. – I offer one-on-one Guidance Sessions and you can find out more about this, my blog, my monthly emails, and more through the links in my bio. – Now it’s YOUR TURN! 👉Tell me at least these three things: 1️⃣ What brings you the most happiness in life? 2️⃣ What is something that you’re proud of? 3️⃣ What is the BEST breakfast that you’ve ever had? (That last one is pretty important) – Photo credit: the amazing @modachrome

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Author, international speaker and blogger with a background in mental health and an “unabashed fat chick”, Jess Baker works to change the cultural relationship between beauty and worthiness. With the passion that ‘every person is deserving of respect and feeling valued no matter their size, shape, race, sex, ability, gender, age or health records’ Baker produces work in written, visual and spoken form to give women a new understanding of beauty. Baker’s two books: Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, a handbook created for those who are beginning their body acceptance journey and Landwhale, a memoir-esque exploration of the complex conversations that arise while navigating the world as a fat woman. And, on her blog, The Militant Baker, she shares the importance of ‘body autonomy, self-love, mental health, strong coffee, and even stronger language’. 

 

Simran Randhawa

Simran Randhawa is an Instagram influencer, journalist and model. As a leading voice in the contemporary British-Asian dialogue, Simran has been featured in the likes of Vogue and i-D as well as having worked with brands such as Nike and Estée Lauder. Using her extensive social media following, Simran is helping to change and the way food is perceived through her Instagram account, @simsnackin. She shares the food that she eats while giving a brief synopsis/story about them – what it is, where she ate it and how it tasted. From pizza to pancakes, she is helping to show her followers that strict diets are not essential to stay healthy and have the body they want to have. You can be healthy and fit while still eating your favourite foods, try new things and dining out with friends.

 

Virgie Tavor 

A few days ago I had the misfortune of sitting next to two people who went on for about 20 minutes about who is allowed to wear tight, body hugging clothing. They talked hatefully about women they knew. I felt shocked and sad that they thought this was appropriate cappuccino talk (cappuccino time is sacred time!!). I felt sad for their wound – for their inability to see the magic all around them, the bodies that are so wondrous they defy rules, the people who inhabit those bodies, the people who are so powerful they show us what the world could look like. I was sad that their view of the world was so, so tiny that it could fit between two of my chubby fingers. I was sad that their hearts were atrophied from living in this culture and for their choice to allow their humanity to flow out of them one acerbic, judgmental word at a time. And I was also angry, annoyed and deeply horrified by their entitlement. They were victims of fatphobia, but they were also agents of fatphobia. I love tight clothes. I love them on me and on others. I don’t think some people get to wear certain things and others don’t. I don’t think rolls disqualify ANYONE of ANY size from wearing something tight and I think rolls look guuuuuuuuud in tight clothes. The tighter (and brighter) the better, I say.

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Author, Forbes contributor, Babecamp founder and creator of #LoseHateNotWeight Virgie Tavor is one of the most powerful voices challenging diet culture and fat phobia today. She holds a Master’s degree in Sexuality Studies with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender and shares her knowledge with women. To take her passion for dismantling diet culture further, Tavor also  provides tools for women to be truly healthier through Babecamp. The 4-week online course designed to help women who are ready to break up with diet culture. Hence, the understanding Tavor has of the complexities and nuances of diet culture make her an educational source on the relationship between female identity, body image and dieting.

 

Chrissy Harrison

Our bodies are incredible at keeping us going through times of famine—whether that takes the form of dieting and disordered eating, food insecurity, or both. Our bodies do everything in their power to keep our brains functioning and our hearts beating when we’re not feeding them enough, including driving us to binge when we do have access to food, slowing down our metabolisms so that we can run on less fuel, and even shutting down “nonessential” body systems to conserve energy for our survival. Our bodies go through a lot for us. – If you’re here reading this, it’s because your body has kept you alive throughout all the scarcity you’ve experienced in your life. So let’s all pause for a moment and be grateful for the fact that our bodies have refused to let us go, and see if we can offer them some care in return. – Quote by @kimberly.dark, caption by @chr1styharrison 😄If you want to hear more about HAES, intuitive eating, and body liberation, click the link in my bio to subscribe to Food Psych today! – And if you’re ready for a deeper dive into all things anti-diet, come check out my intuitive eating online course at http://christyharrison.com/course ❤️ – #haes #intuitiveeating #edrecovery #antidietproject #antidiet #riotsnotdiets #effyourbeautystandards #losehatenotweight #lifebeyonddieting #thelifethief #balancednotclean #foodisfuel #prorecovery #bodyposi #bodypositive #bopo #foodpsychpod #foodpsych #feminism #healthateverysize #nourishnotpunish

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The anti-diet registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counsellor, and the host of Food Psych Podcast, Chrissy Harrison,  unpacks the term diet culture. She specialises in helping people make peace with food and reclaim the time and energy they lost to The Life Thief that is diet culture. By making people aware of diet culture and how it may be affecting their lives Harrison works to tune people back into their body’s ‘inner wisdom about truly nourish yourself’. Intuitive eating is now a recognised term undoing the negative effects of diet culture; thanks to Harrison a lot more women have a positive understanding of themselves, food and health.