The Anti-Diet Project

June 16, 2014   15 Comments

Snack Girl is always reading other websites looking for insights into the world of losing weight. I was seriously thrilled to find Kelsey.

The Anti-Diet Project

Kelsey writes the The Anti-Diet Project on a hip website called Refinery29. I don’t know if this means you have to be under 29 to understand it – but my 44 year old brain likes it.

Kelsey has tried a bunch of diets and finally decided to give something called “intuitive eating” a try. I like her because she is eating healthy to lose weight and I think this is a strategy that is going to work.

As I read of her struggles, I wonder if she knows how beautiful she is RIGHT NOW. You’re a babe, Kelsey!

Snack Girl: What is the Anti-Diet Project?

Kelsey: The Anti-Diet Project is a series that follows my journey through diet-deprogramming, learning to eat intuitively, and develop a healthy relationship with food, fitness, and my body.

Twice a month I write a column on different Anti-Diet challenges and triumphs — things like the social factor, diet myths, finding a workout you don't hate, last-supper eating, and emotional eating. Rather than a diet column, this is a no-bs series that aims to illuminate the real issues and thoughts we all face in this area, tackling it with humor and honesty.

Snack Girl: Are you attempting this for a health reason?

Kelsey: Mind and body health, certainly! I've been on a diet my entire life and it only led to loathe my own body, mistrust my own instincts, and hate exercise.

For the first time, I'm not focused on losing fifty pounds by Christmas or being a size 8 by my birthday. I just want to feel good and stop torturing myself with this unnecessary diet nonsense.

Diets lie — they make you think they're the path to better health, but in reality, they almost always fail. For me, the more I dieted the more weight I gained back when I inevitably went off it. For the first time in my whole life, I'm no longer yo-yoing.

Snack Girl: What has been your biggest realization since you began?

Kelsey: That I can trust myself around food. That, if given the option to eat pizza whenever I want, I won't actually eat pizza all day, every day. Once it's off the Forbidden Foods list, the allure is gone.

That's the magic of Intuitive Eating. Pizza isn't an evil temptress calling to me from every Dominoes — it's just pizza! Sometimes it sounds good and sometimes I'm not in the mood! It's absolutely amazing to discover that food isn't actually out to get me.

Snack Girl: What are you finding the most difficult?

Kelsey: Well, as much as I've embraced Intuitive Eating it is hard to really get those old diet thoughts and habits completely out of my brain. I still find myself looking at a food in terms of Weight Watchers points sometimes. I still have a voice in my head that says "You don't really want the chocolate covered raisins, right? You'd be fine with just raisins."

And, I have to address those thoughts with consciousness. Being conscious and in tune with my thoughts and desires is both crucial to the process and very challenging. When you're on a diet, you just eat when and what the diet says.

Now it's just up to me to really listen to my body and find out what it wants, when it's full, and which food makes it feel good and fueled. It's an ongoing process, but the more I do it, the more it becomes instinctive.

Snack Girl: What would you tell your old pre-Anti-Diet Project self to encourage her to have a new relationship with food and/or body image?

Kelsey: Oh man, it's so hard to think about that! I know that I only got here because I really hit a bottom with dieting and with my body. Of course I wish I'd done this earlier, had this realization earlier.

But, the fact is, I needed to try and fail and try and fail over and over again in order to get here. So, I can't very well look back at old me and say, "You're doing it wrong." I was, but it's all that doing-it-wrong that led me to this path. So, I'd just tell her, "You're doing just fine. You'll get there. Just you wait."

Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?

Kelsey: Dry-roasted, salted almonds are mandatory. I always have them in my desk. But, the funny thing with Intuitive Eating is you go through these food phases as you rediscover your own tastes and preferences.

I recently went through a major green-bean phase. I just wanted raw green beans every day. Then it was broccoli. Now, I'm really into pita with dips like guacamole, taramasalata, or roasted eggplant.

The aforementioned chocolate-covered raisins are also mandatory. When I want a sweet that's almost always the sweet I want.

Thanks, Kelsey! I am sure this project will be a great success.

Photo credit: Harry Tanielyan

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Great post and introduction to the blog author. Thank you!

Great questions! question on pita chips: are there any whole grain pita chips sold in stores?

Can not find them anywhere...

What a interesting blog! To C. I just buy wholewheat pita spray then with nonstick spray, sprinkle with salt pepper herbs and garlic. Bake about ten mins at 325 till golden and crunchy!

I wish I felt safe around all foods. But, for me, I need to have off limits foods or I would regain the weight I lost. It took me about a year to lose 40 pounds, and I now must remain constantly vigilant, and not have certain "compulsive eating" foods in the house at all.

The biggest problem is that I have to think about food a lot, since I am the one that grocery shops and cooks for the family.

What an inspirational woman, I have started reading her posts going back to the first one! Thank you for sharing!

This post was Extremely helpful, as I am really over dieting, but want to keep weight I have lost off, and also feel good. I tried an on-line site, TRIM DOWN CLUB, but warn vigorously against it. It is all advertisement, and a waste of money. It does not help me or anyone get control of eating urges.

Again, this post does offer hope!!!!!!! Thanks

I've been following her blog for awhile. It's wonderful! I'm on a similar journey myself.

All my life I have been able to eat whatever I wanted and remain thin. I never had a weight problem until I had diabetes. It has been found that weight gain is a symptom and not necessarily the cause of diabetes. Insulin needed by many diabetics also causes weight gain. Yo-yo dieting and weight gain may add to stress on the pancreas and other organs so Kelsey is making better decisions.

I did not really start eating healthy until I was diagnosed with diabetes. It is a complete lifestyle change. When I found out that studies have concluded that overeating leads to beta cell die off or disfunction in genetically susceptible individuals I was determined to limit my diet and lose weight forever. Beta cell dysfunction and die off can equal insulin resistence. When we take the load off of the beta cells by not overeating and eating healthy we preserve their function. Getting carbs from healthy foods like veggies and fruits is more likely to help to prevent metabolic toxicity rather than overeating or overeating processed carbs, fatty foods and excess alcohol consumption.

So, although Kelsey is following "intuitive" eating, it may or may not be the best example of healthy eating. Some of those "intuitive" choices may not be metabolic friendly or may do damage by overworking the beta cells.

Anytime we eat glucose laden foods (sweets and processed carbs) we are overworking the beta cells that help us with insulin production. They wear out with age so why eat foods that abuse them?

I am starting my own journey with nutritional therapy and the intuitive eating concept was brought up in my assessment. A scientist by nature, I immediately did a bit of research and found Kelsey's articles on R29 and was blown away by how similar our struggles are and how badly dieting has ruined my sense of self, my physical and mental well being, and just how awful it was. Now I am trying to rebuild myself, one day at a time, and am so thankful I stumbled upon Kelsey's journey at the start of my own.

A great way for those who are not afraid of loosening the riegns. and those who do fear, maybe it is time to learn to do that, slowly until flexibility and balance are reached.

This reminds me of Geneen Roth's books---no diet---have faith in yourself. I love your book---bought it a few months ago.

Thanks for the article! Very inspiring. I have met with nutritionists and my most recent one shared with me this similar eating approach. She also suggested that I read the book "Intuitive Eating" which really opened my eyes. It is a great read.

I agree with your describing how dieting can make you feel about yourself and your body. Your mindset change definitely has to be different to change your habits. I like the name you have come up with. Having lost 200 pounds I can relate well to many of your comments.

Thank you for sharing this interview and more about intuitive eating. I am a therapist, specializing in body image and eating disorders. I am also on my own journey. I've been a fan of Snack Girl for a while and try to try recipes and ideas without letting the the disordered eater/thinker get to talking to loud in my head... It is balance for sure! Thank you. It is inspiring to hear Snack Girl approach this!

Wouldn't it be great if we could have been programmed to trust our food instincts as young girls? We wouldn't have to un-learn the unhealthy habits about eating in the first place.... great blog post!

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