Skepchick learning curve

When Skepchick on occasion tackles size acceptance and health at every size (HAES), they usually do a good job. However, the latest of this sort of post doesn’t quite make it, in my opinion. The writer, guest blogger Shaunta Grimes, after praising Health at Every Size (HAES), talks about her self-created “anti-diet”. Alarm bells are ringing in my head at this point; it sounds like Richard Simmons’ “live-it”. And sure enough, it involves calorie counting, although in this case she is making sure she is getting enough intake. In the post, she brags about how she has so much energy. And I think that’s fantastic for her, and I understand that she’s dealing with a history of disordered eating, and I know that everyone is on his/her own journey toward self acceptance and self love, and this is a step on her journey. And I suppose it’s a HAES approach in that she’s not weighing herself, and I’m sure I missed some other good things about it, but calorie counting just doesn’t seem HAES-y to me.


6 thoughts on “Skepchick learning curve

  1. I agree with you on the calorie counting. I am generally against any regulatory regime when it comes to eating, even those at the periphery of HAES, e.g., mindful eating or intuitive eating. With that said, I have come to believe that habitual dieters and other assorted disordered eaters often need an intermediate place between their former habits and eating “ad libitum.” However, I still worry about the message that the calorie counters, intuitive eaters, mindful eaters, and especially healthy eaters bring to bear, because all of them take us away from our natural proclivities to eat and not worry about what we are eating or how much we eat.

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree with both your points; that (a) this is just a point on the her path toward full self acceptance, and (b) it could take energy away from true (in my opinion) HAES. As of now I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt. (Edited to add missing “HAES”.)

  2. I don’t think there’s anything inherently non-HAES about calorie counting to make sure you get enough to eat. It seems like a pretty reasonable post-dieting survival mechanism. I actually do a very little bit of it myself—if I’m buying frozen entrees for lunch at work, I look to make sure there’s at least 500 calories to make sure it’s actually enough food.

    On the other hand, it’s only useful if paying attention to calories doesn’t stress you out and promote diety, “too many calories, BAD BAD BAD!” kinds of thoughts.

    • Thanks for the comment. I think you’re right, but the terminology and process mirror dieting in a way that . . . well, bothers me. But it could be just fine for others, and is in this case.

  3. Hi 🙂 I just wanted to say that I totally get it. Calorie counting is the biggest non-HAES, diety thing ever. I needed to do something to make myself stop counting calories as a form of restriction. I tried for three years to just eat intuitively and I couldn’t. Subverting calorie counting so that it was something I did to make sure I got at least a certain amount–2500 in my case–everyday, with no cap, has allowed me to make giant stride toward not tracking anymore and just eating intuitively. It’s like it took the pressure off, if that makes sense. It reduced my anxiety, so that I could let myself let go of deeply ingrained diet behaviors. I’ll be stopping the tracking soon. I won’t need it anymore. I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns, by the way.

    • Shaunta, I thank you so much for responding. It sounds like the tracking was a necessary step on your journey, and I’m glad both that you won’t need it anymore, and that it helped. And I’m glad you blogged about it, too; the method might help others. And I’m glad you understand my fears, which are based on how corporations (and individuals) subvert self acceptance to sell all sorts of things. You’re not one of those.

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