Just Eat The Fries: A Dietitian’s Rant

We’re nearing the end of January, which means New Year’s Resolutions are either becoming lifestyle changes…or they’re not.  This time of year, the ridiculous diet plans and talk of the “best” and “worst” foods, meal plans, etc is pretty much inevitable, especially in my world. I’m not sure what it is, but this year the growing negativity surrounding food choices has fired me up and finally drove me to share more professional opinions/insight here on my little corner of the internet.  Let the ranting begin.

If you know me, you likely know that I’m Team Intuitive Eating and most definitely anti-dieting, especially if it requires restriction.  Forget the fact that diets simply don’t work in the long run.  The majority of diet plans just make people miserable.  One of the reasons I became a dietitian (and probably the thing that motivates me most in my work) is to help people develop a better relationship with food.  To help them understand that food is something that not only provides our bodies with nourishment, but also our minds and souls.  Food is about family, it’s about culture, it’s about passion and love and happiness.  Food is not something to be feared or dreaded or resented, but rather enjoyed and celebrated.  Yet there is still so much negativity surrounding our food choices.

“I shouldn’t have eaten that cookie.  It’s so fattening and goes right to my hips.”

I can’t have that cake…it must have a million calories!”

“I really wanted pizza, but I’m trying to be ‘good’ today, so I’m getting a salad instead.”

Understandably, in today’s society it may take a lot of work for some people to get to the point of embracing and loving both food and their relationships to it, but that is my mission.  And the mission of many other hardworking RD’s, coaches and therapists out there.  {After you finish reading my ramblings, click over and read this post by one such RD, Rachael Hartley, on the number one reason not to diet.}

What gets me especially fired up are the people out there irresponsibly promoting and encouraging diets and restrictive habits.  They’re often people with no education or credentials and nothing but personal experience to back them up.  People who likely don’t have an understanding of the mental and emotional impacts of our relationships with food.  People who may look great on the outside, but could be struggling with disordered eating themselves on the inside.  News flash: just because someone lost a bunch of weight on their own or has sculpted abs doesn’t mean they are qualified to dish out nutrition advice!  You wouldn’t trust your doctor, though he may be rich, for financial advice…right?  And you wouldn’t want your financial adviser writing you prescriptions.  Samesies when it comes to nutrition advice.  It should come from someone qualified to provide it.  On top of that, in my humble opinion, nutrition recommendations should not be keeping you away from foods you love, but rather finding ways to incorporate your favorite foods into an overall healthy lifestyle.  And just to be clear, I do not mean that in the sense of “IIFYM”, which is a rant for another day.  

As such, I was thrilled to see this post from WellAndGood about non-resolutions, in which Lena Dunham (one of my girl crushes) commits to not punish herself with her food choices, knowing that the negativity of restriction often leads to more negativity.  Lena is notorious for her feminist views and her DGAF attitude about her body.  Here’s the quote:

“In case you’re curious, I resolve not to order salad instead of fries if what I truly want is fries and not having fries will cause me to shove the salad around with my fork and feel sorry for myself and then eat three servings of Tasti-D, take Kratom to suppress my appetite and take a nap. The fries may, in the end, SAVE me trouble. So I will have my fries. Also, what about a new restaurant policy: fries unless I say otherwise.”

Homemade Fries

Though she’s no nutrition professional, I’m with Lena on this one.  Just eat the fries.  Not everyday, not because you already fell “off the wagon” today and it doesn’t matter…but because IF you sometimes want to eat fries, that is okay.  Let go of the idea that you “should” get the salad or that you “shouldn’t” have the fries.  This RD is telling you to eat the damn fries if that is what you truly want.  End rant.

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15 comments on “Just Eat The Fries: A Dietitian’s Rant

  1. What a great post. I think relationships with food are very complex. Speaking from personal experience. Severely overweight turned eating disorder turned distance runner…I still struggle with the negative self talk at times with food choices but I also try my hardest to eat those fries if I really want them. Luckily I have a bf who loves me enough to get the side of fries usually so I can swipe just enough to get my fix 😉

  2. Love this post. This is exactly the philosophy I follow and teach my clients. Great to see other RD’s on the same page and spreading the message of moderation:)

  3. can we somehow delete the word “cheat meal/cheat day’ from this universe? it pisses me when people say…oh this is my cheat meal, dont judge me. If you want a burger…eat a burger..no shame in that. thanks for this..and Rachel is pretty awesome, love her wellness wednesday series.

  4. Yes eat the fries, just don’t shove them in your face as you have guilt and shame. That my friend isn’t eating. Food should be enjoyed, I take that back, ALL food you love should be enjoyed! Love this post!

  5. I agree! I used to always find myself eating other things to distract myself from what I wanted…only to end up eating it anyway. I feel so much better when I’m kind to myself 🙂

  6. After spending portions of my life being overweight, I really appreciate your post and agree with your views on anti-dieting. I’ve been at a healthy weight for well over 10 years and enjoy my food very much. Portion size is important in maintaining and a 30-min walk 4-5x per week, plus a few regularly-attended sports activities. Thanks for the rant. 🙂

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