Rank #1: Episode 1 & 2: The Basics
This is for anyone not familiar with what this anti-diet entails, or for anyone who wants to hear the basics again.
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Rank #2: Q&A: Intermittent Fasting and More!
Rank #3: Episode 14: Isabel Foxen Duke
Check out her AMAZING and FREE video course Stop Fighting Food. You won't regret it.
Rank #4: How To Eat Like a Normal Person
This totally depends on your definition of ‘normal.’
Here’s the truth: most people are a little disordered with their eating these days. Obsessive or disordered eating is common, so you could call it normal.
But it’s not normal - it shouldn’t be normal. And it’s definitely not healthy.
So instead of calling it normal eating, I call it ease with food.
This is how a person who has ease with food eats:
-They can go through their day and pretty much only think about food when they are actually hungry.
-They have a strong, healthy appetite for lots of food, and yet their weight stays stable in their weight set range, because their metabolism isn’t compromised and stressed from dieting.
-They eat what they crave, and crave what they need. Sometimes salads, sometimes cookies, sometimes fruit, sometimes steak, etc.
-They can eat a meal and stop in the ballpark of satiation and fullness without overthinking it.
-They can eat distracted, or tired, or stressed, or sad and still stop once they get full, because when food is neutral, and the body is fed, food intuition is easy.
-They will have a strong sense of what food they want, when, and how much, but it won’t be that important that they follow it perfectly, because life is too short to obsess about food, hunger, and satiation levels.
How do we get there? How do we find ease with food? How to feel neutral and even joyful with all foods, not just your “safe” diet foods?
BELIEVE ME, back before the F*** It Diet, I was so far from normal and so fixated on food and weight, that I wasn’t even sure what the other alternative was. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like.
I would look at people who didn’t overthink food and think, “Well — I guess they are just lucky to not have a food addiction.” I didn’t realize that my “food addiction” was biologically driven, and constantly being made worse by every diet I went on.
I didn’t realize that, in a way, we are meant to be fixated on food. Because food is a fundamentally important part of staying alive, so when the body senses that food access is scarce, our food fixation increases. Thankfully the reverse is also true. Hallelujah. Once the body knows it will be fed, it can calm down.
(**Bleeped words are just for iTunes rules. Blerg. I know.)
Rank #5: What’s Going to Happen With My Weight?
I don’t show my full body often in my work with TFID - when I do, it raises lots of questions that I think are ultimately unhelpful distractions.
Like this comment from a follower:
First of all, think about what it means when you say, "you are thin and you look great." What are you implying? That if I wasn't I wouldn't look great? That people who don't look thin don't look great? Think about the implications of the way we choose to compliment people, women especially. This is why we are dysfunctional with food. This is why we are at odds with ourselves. I understand that this was a lead-in to her questions about what happens with weight on the fuck it diet, but still.
I am not trying to be aggressive or difficult... this just happens all the time and it's tiring.
I have a fat mirror
A year ago I moved into a house that had put up a flimsy full length mirror on the bedroom wall to cover the water damage to the exposed brick. This also means that the mirror puffs out and turns into a WIDENING or “fat mirror”. I know this and I accept it because I am currently too overwhelmed to deal with the brick water damage in the house I bought.
What this also means is that every morning I look wider in the mirror than I actually am. In my laziness I figured this maybe was also a sort of interesting TFID experiment. Because, no it’s not fully accurate, but like, ultimately so what?
This is not something that I would have ever been ok with say… 5 or 6 years ago? Back then all I did was check out how wide I looked in windows, mirrors, everything- just always so so so afraid of being wide.
Everyone who comes over to my house and looks in that mirror says, “CAROLINE THIS IS A HORRIBLE MIRROR!?!?!? WHY DO YOU HAVE THIS?! I LOOK HORRIBLE?!?!?”
What they mean is they look SLIGHTLY wider than they do IRL.
They say, “CAROLINE, YOU NEED TO GET A NEW MIRROR!” And I say, like ok, eventually. But it’s not like a fucking emergency. Calm down.
Anyway, what this means is that when I see a rare video of myself, even I am shocked that I look so thin. Woa, I have some extra padding in my warped bedroom mirror.
I am steeped in thin privilege. Because yes, I yo-yoed hardcore, 20-30 lbs, all the time, many times a year, for 10 years. And I’d gain weight in my face and boobs and I would vacillate so much that clothes, bras, dresses wouldn’t fit and acting teachers didn't know what kind of scenes to give me because like, was I mainstream pretty or not? Who knew. It changed month to month.
In college, a freaking creep of a headshot photographer told me at my creepy headshot photoshoot that when we had our consult he thought I was the chubby friend, but now I looked liked the hot, thin ingenue. (Screw him and his epic creepiness.) But yea, there was always a microscope on my weight, thanks to acting, and even though I was like “ingenue chubby”, I was probably always real-world thin, and that is also why media beauty standards are extra fucked up.
But all of this to say: Yes, I have yo-yoed. Also, yes I am sometimes a bra size G. Yes I also have always had a naturally lower weight set range and have lots of thin privilege. With this out of the way, let’s talk about the questions people ask me about my weight.
BUT CAROLINE WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN WITH MY WEIGHT THO?!
When I show my full body on TFID these are some of the questions I get:
Can I/Will I become thin by not dieting?
Can I NOT trust you because you are thin and I am not?
How much weight did you gain?
How much weight did you lose?
Are you thinner now than you were before?
And I’m positive that the answer to those questions isn’t necessarily helpful,
Rank #6: Episode 3: Q&A
Rank #7: Episode 24: Intuitive Eating Mistakes
Rank #8: Episode 4: Summer Innanen
Summer Innanen is a Body Image Coach who helps women to stop living behind the numbers on their scales. She helps women all over the world to ditch their diet demons and amp up their confidence through her private and group coaching.
She is the best-selling author of Body Image Remix: Embrace your body and unleash the fierce confident woman within and creator of the 21 Step Body Image Remix, a life-changing 21 day program that helps women to build unabashed body confidence. She is also the host of Fearless Rebelle Radio, a podcast dedicated to empowering women to live life on their own terms and has been featured in several publications including, The Huffington Post and Beutiful Magazine.
Check out our bonus for patrons on Patreon, we sing the Summer of 69!
Rank #9: Episode 32: Sugar Addiction?
Rank #10: Is This the Same as Intuitive Eating?
Lots of people have been asking me: “Is TFID the same as Intuitive Eating?”
It is and it isn’t. They have the same goal: body trust, appetite trust, and food trust, with different ways of teaching and explaining how to get there.
A lot of my writing over the years has talked about how I turned (what I thought was) “intuitive eating” and “listening to my body” into a diet. I turned it into a weird stressful attempt to eat the smallest amount possible. I interpreted good advice through a fat-phobic, food fearing, diet culture belief system.
Lots of people do the same thing I did: they take good advice and twist it into a diet that they convince themselves is not a diet, because they let themselves eat a few squares of dark chocolate 3 times a week! Moderation is intuition! Right?! (UGH!)
But… the more I’ve been asked to answer if TFID is the same as intuitive eating, the more I realize it’s important to reflect on how I’ve referred to IE over the past seven years of writing this site, as well as in my book that’s coming out in less than a month.
First of all, Intuitive Eating is a book written by two registered dietitian nutritionists, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, that came out in 1995. The book is revolutionary in its genre and field, completely evidence based, and I recommend you read it.
However, my experience with official Intuitive Eating and the official Intuitive Eating book is actually pretty limited, which means the way that I’ve referred to it (or not referred to it) should probably be examined. In fact, the book Intuitive Eating and Geneen Roth’s books are mixed up in my mind at this very moment as I write this. Maybe that’s because there is a hunger scale in both of them? (And I DEF turned that hunger scale into a diet.)
I only read Intuitive Eating book once, when I was 18. And I’m not positive if I even finished it because I became a raw vegan 2 weeks later.
I obsessively dieted as a teenager. I went on every fad diet that existed at the time. It was disordered, it was extreme, and I felt more and more and more out of control with food the more I dieted. When I read the book Intuitive Eating, it was the first time I realized that my dieting was dysfunctional. Before then, I thought that this was just the way it had to be. I remember the book really spoke to me.
But I still didn’t fully understand how deep it all went for me: culturally and metabolically and emotionally and on and on. And I didn’t see how messed up my relationship was with weight, and how that was actually the core of the whole thing.
I needed very, very explicit instructions to F*** IT: f*** all diet and weight loss noise, and be willing to gain weight and take up space and be angry and prioritize my mental health over my desire to be a pretty little thing. But I was also young, and clearly needed to suffer a little more before I really understood that dieting was always going to backfire.
(***I bleep curse words for iTunes)
Weeks after reading the book, and just a few weeks before I went off to college, my mom told me she had cancer, and we both became raw vegan to try and heal all of our earthly ills (it didn’t work) (my mom is fine, but not because of raw veganism, she ditched it soon after starting chemo) (also, I have complex feelings about pharmaceutical companies too, but raw veganism was still not the answer).(Yes I was a raw vegan in freshman year of college.)
I was raw vegan for almost a year – and then after I realized it wasn’t “working” (read: I was less healthy, starving all the time, horrible skin, horrible digestion, and crazier than ever around food), I started trying to “eat intuitively” again… for 6 years. My general idea was that if I could listen to my body, and “not eat too much,” that that was intuitive. But I didn’t revisit the book, instead, for six years I did some version of “listening to my body sooooo closely and constantly trying to eat the smallest amount possible”. My goal was always to be thin. I also stuck my application of French Women Don’t Get Fat into the mix, thinking: ‘this is awesome… I can eat intuitively and frenchly. And be skinny and perfect.’
I turned “listening to my body” into a diet so quickly.
I used to interpret any advice on how to heal my eating through a diet culture lens. I interpreted it all through my belief that the goal of any eating style, was weight loss at all costs. I figured that the point was to listen to my body in order to eat really, really welllll – and that if I was being intuitive, I should crave “balanced” things always and forever.
Disordered eaters can quickly turn the principles of Intuitive Eating (or any version of “listen to your body”) into another diet. You can turn anything into the diet. I turned The f***ing Secret into a diet.
There were big stretches of time when I thought this method was ‘working’. I thought I was eating intuitively… because I ‘ate what I wanted’ (weirdly slowly and in tiny amounts)… and I was skinny (thanks to genetics + semi-starvation).
But I was f***ing starving all the time. I cried a lot. I had weird food rituals to try and make sure I didn’t eat “more than my body needed”. I drank a lot of wine and coffee. And still thought about food nonstop.
Guys. That’s allllll diet. And it’s not intuitive, or intuitive eating, or Intuitive Eating. It’s assuming that being intuitive requires micromanaging. It’s assuming that listening to your body is about curtailing your hunger. It’s still trying to tightly control the size of your body. That’s the antithesis of intuitive.
When I finally started writing TFID seven years ago, I was radically applying a non-diet, pro-calorie, pro-being-full, “f*** all diet and weight noise” approach, pro-gaining weight, plus a Health at Every Size (R) and feminist lens too.
I wrote the way I needed to hear it explained. I needed to hear more about our relationship to weight. And I needed to be less afraid of eating lots and lots of food. (And clearly I needed someone screaming at me with curse words.)
So TFID was developed as a separate way to become a normal, instinctive eater, while also examining why my first attempts at “intuitive eating” had so epically failed. And in my book, beyond talking about the way we eat, there’s a lot of focus on diet culture, on our emotions, and on our beliefs too.
But I also now understand that the goals of Intuitive Eating and of The F*** It Diet, are the same. The goal of both is to get to a place where you trust your appetite and experience instinctive, natural, easy, normal eating.
But, I never revisited the Intuitive Eating book. So what that also means is that for a very long time, I assumed that Intuitive Eating didn’t “work”. And that also means that I really have only ever been referring to the bastardized lower case version of IE, and the wellness coaches who twist it and use weight loss in their marketing, instead of realizing earlier on that the book, authors, and certified practitioners have always been out there being awesome and doing it right.
Years ago, I started noticing that search terms for my site were “why doesn’t intuitive eating work?”. So I wrote more about that: It’s because we’re all turning it into a diet! It’s because we are all still afraid to gain weight! It’s because of all these bullshit beliefs we have about beauty and worth! It’s because we are trying to eat the smallest amount possible! It’s because we are underfed and afraid that eating a lot isn’t intuitive!
But I still never re-read the book to see where my own application and interpretation had gone wrong. I kept thinking I’d figured out something that the book didn’t understand or only half explained. And because I kept seeing so many people market a bastardized version of intuitive eating as a way to lose weight, it just further confirmed that assumption.
I’ve called it “obsessive intuitive eating” or “pseudo intuitive eating.” And sometimes refer to true intuitive eating (good) and obsessive intuitive eating (bad).
And while clearly, many people misinterpret or twist the point of Intuitive Eating, just like I did, what that still means is that I haven’t had the awareness to give the co-authors, and the people trained by the co-authors, the credit they deserve.
The Intuitive Eating book knows what it’s talking about. It’s all there. It’s evidence based. It warns you not to turn it into a diet. And the thing that clicked this all into place recently has been following one of the co-authors, Evelyn Tribole on instagram. Oh… this lady is the real deal.
But to go back and answer the question of whether I teach intuitive eating? No, I don’t teach official Intuitive Eating or their 10 principles. I developed my own tools and lessons and ways of teaching.
But the goal of both is the same: easy, instinctive, intuitive eating.
On my path towards healing, I also needed to read books that talk about our confusion about weight and health (like Body Respect), and a feminist take on our cultural obsession with thinness and beauty (The Beauty Myth) and Fat Positive/Body Positive messages (one example: Lessons From the Fat-o-sphere that I read near the beginning of TFID… more recently Jes Baker‘s books). Maybe that would’ve knocked enough sense into me, more quickly. Or maybe I just needed to struggle and fail for as long as I did in order to write about eating the way I do now.
I only started following lots of certified intuitive eating non-diet dietitians (the people who don’t turn it into a diet, and understand the weight piece) on instagram in the last YEAR, once my book was already written. And OF COURSE, it was only once my book was finished that I realized… oh no…
I don’t even refer to the Intuitive Eating book at all, because my subconscious intention was to not say anything bad about it, but now I don’t feel great about saying nothing about the book either.
I wish I had had this clarity earlier so I could have said all of this way more explicitly in my book. In addition to warning people not to trust random “intuitive eating gurus” who teach what I refer to as “obsessive intuitive eating” and promise weight loss, I should have also mentioned the people who created official (true) Intuitive Eating, and who continue to do amazing and revolutionary work in the nutrition, non-diet, and eating disorder recovery world.
(I will update this in a second edition, with a little line about how the Intuitive Eating book, creators, and practitioners certified in it, understand how important it is not to turn it into a diet. But for now, I link to lots of certified Intuitive Eating dietitians and therapists and coaches on the (soon-to-be-shared) resource list and on the current reference link page, as well as the Intuitive Eating book. I will also will be sending extra resources and some of the content I had to cut from the book for length to people who sign up for the book resources, so it will be easy to clarify this about official/real Intuitive Eating vs. co-opted intuitive eating there as well.
The F*ck It Diet book is the culmination of many, many, many things I learned over the years of dieting, thinking I wasn’t dieting, and actually not dieting.
But I wish my clarity on intuitive eating had come earlier, and I had been way more direct in giving a shout-out to the wonderful people who wrote it and don’t turn it into a diet.
Rank #11: Episode 11: LINDA BACON!
She is currently a Health Professor at City College of San Francisco and an Associate Nutritionist at the University of California, Davis. An internationally recognized authority on weight and health, Dr. Bacon has published her work in top scientific journals as well as the highly acclaimed bestseller, Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight. Her recently released book, Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, or Just Fail to Understand about Weight, is a crash course in what you need to know about bodies and health.
Rank #12: Episode 28: Isabel Foxen Duke (Again!)
Rank #13: Episode 21: Minnesota Starvation Experiment
Rank #14: Calories In vs Calories Out is BS
"Eat less than you expend and you'll lose weight".
But this is what really happens:
"Eat less that you expend and you'll lose weight at first, but then you'll gain it all back and think it's your fault- but it is actually because your body will compensate your metabolism in order to keep your weight stably around the same place, because biologically that is how we have survived as a species during all those years when food wasn't as easy to ensure or come by."
I understand that it's a mind trip after the simplicity of calories in vs calories out.
Because first few times you dieted, I bet you really did lose weight easily. Then, when you gained it back, you were sure it was your fault. But it wasn't. Your body made sure that that happened. And it even wanted you to go a bit ABOVE where you started, just for good measure.
But now you're convinced that if you can just do it like you did the first time, you'll lose weight again, but THIS time you'll keep it off. This time you'll do it right. This time you'll succeed and be beautiful and happy foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr.
But it's harder to do now because your body isn't having any of this shit. You've already pressed your luck, and now your body is fighting back harder.
And even if you happen to muster the willpower to override your body's efforts to make you eat and keep on weight, and even if you actually do lose weight again, your body will immediately lower your metabolism and make you expend less in order to eventually bring your weight back up. It will also wire you to crave more food than you ever would have wanted under normal eating and metabolic conditions.
It should be noted that increasing exercise will have the same effect. The body will encourage rest to make up for your exertion. And if you force more exertion, it'll just slow down your system altogether.
There's a good reason why Michael Phelps ate 12,000 calories a day. That's what extreme exercise requires. (And it's also around the amount that men rehabilitating from semi-starvation ate after the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.)
So, for any of you who thinks that weight is just a matter of decreasing your consumption, and are confused and frustrated that it's not working anymore... it's just because your body wants you to chill the eff out and start eating normally again.
It also wants you to put on weight.
You know why? Weight is actually healthy. Letting yourself gain weight actually is the only way to heal your metabolism.
Paradoxically, once you stop trying to control your appetite, and finally eat whatever it wants (even if that's a LOT), it'll heal. It'll speed up. It'll trust that there is food. And that is the surest way to have a healthy stable weight for you.
Bring on the calories.