Hello and happy October! October may be filled with cooler weather, sweaters, warm beverages, and Halloween decorations, but before you get too caught up in October things, it’s time to talk about the book of the month here at The Diabolical Dietitian.
I know you’re on the edge of your seat in anticipation, and I don’t blame you one bit. What book could we possibly be discussing for October? Last month, we talked about Why We Sleep (affiliate) by Matthew Walker, a wonderful work on the importance of sleep and the roles it may play in our lives. This month, we are shifting back to a more relevant title to the theme of this site: Anti-Diet (affiliate) by Christy Harrison.
Who is Christy Harrison?
If you aren’t yet familiar with Christy Harrison‘s work, she may be the most well known dietitian that speaks out against diet culture. She has a podcast, FoodPsych, and it covers a wide range of topics within the intuitive eating, anti-diet spheres.
She also regularly hosts intuitive eating workshops for both regular people learning to let go of diets and professionals that work with clients for the same reason. Christy Harrison appears to be a busy lady, and she has dedicated the past several years to fighting the good fight of taking down diet culture.
Her book, Anti-Diet, is an excellent read, and I believe it has potential to help many people with their food anxiety struggles.
Why Read Anti-Diet?
There are several reasons to give this one a go. The first is that this book is incredibly well-written. Christy Harrison’s journalism background is evident in this work, and it is a thoughtful, thoroughly-researched book that combines scientific theory with real-life application.
Additionally, Anti-Diet goes on a deep dive into the history of dieting and how our culture came to be so obsessed with diets in the first place. It’s not only fascinating, but it gives proper context to the fat-phobic, diet friendly culture plaguing America and much of the world.
It’s not as if one day a single person declared everyone must go on diets, and that’s how we have lived our lives ever since. Of course, there are major players who first pioneered these ideals, but diet culture emerged from a complicated, hateful place, and it sadly continues to thrive. Knowing these stores makes me understand why many of us believe and feel the things we do about nutrition, diets, and body size.
Harrison describes diet culture as a life thief, stealing your time, money, freedom, and happiness. I agree whole-heartedly with this assessment, and I think it’s an impactful dissection of the issue of diet culture. It overtakes everything- your mind, your body, your money, your schedule. Everything. For those who may be dipping their toes into the intuitive eating/anti-diet world, this book is a friendly, accessible work that provide a bridge away from chronic dieting and toward more freedom.
She forges this bridge with one the best parts of this book: her vulnerability. She discusses the diet culture kool-aid she drank in her younger days as a journalist. She was obsessed with food and “health”, and she sought to write about all things nutrition for her work assignments. Her preoccupation of of these topics ultimately led her to go deep in debt to pursue a career change and become a registered dietitian.
Christy Harrison doesn’t allude to any regrets about her ultimate career choice, especially since she can combine journalism and dietetics; however, she fully acknowledges that diet culture pushed her in that direction because she couldn’t escape her compulsive food thoughts and choices.
I believe many dietetics students and professionals could relate to this story, as can people who obsess over their food almost like a “hobby” that overtakes their life. It’s difficult to talk about our messed up relationship with food, even in the past tense, but Christy Harrison’s story is powerful, and it’s well worth a read or a listen!
I chose the audiobook version, which you can get for free using my link for a free trial of audible. I loved hearing Harrison’s story from the woman herself, as you could hear the passion behind the words, and emotion in her inflections. It made it that much more impactful. Either way, read this book!
Thanks for checking out this month’s book of the month- see you soon!
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