You’ve probably heard of “hitting rock bottom.” This is a common phrase used in 12-step programs to signify the crisis-moment when someone is finally ready to admit and deal with their addiction. In the Body Liberation community, we refer to “hitting Diet bottom” in a similar way. Hitting Diet Bottom is when you finally get to the point where you can’t force yourself to go on one more Diet, when you realize it is pointless and actually harmful for you to engage in the bullshit of Diet Culture anymore but you have no idea where else to turn.
Registered dieticians and the author’s of Intuitive Eating – and really, the creators of the entire concept of Intuitive Eating – Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch dedicate the first chapter of their groundbreaking book to this concept: “Hitting Diet Bottom.” This is the first chapter in the book because until you’ve reached this place, you won’t quite be ready to truly engage in learning how to eat intuitively or to move joyfully; you won’t yet be ready to accept that Diet Culture has failed you and harmed you.
So, how do you know if you’ve hit Diet Bottom? Here are some questions, written from the information provided in Tribole & Resch’s “Hitting Diet Bottom” chapter, that might help you figure it out?
Do you distrust yourself around food?
Do you feel out of control around food?
Do you feel panicky or hungry at the mere consideration of going on another restrictive diet?
Do you feel you don’t deserve to eat or feel guilty about eating?
Do you stay away from social situations because of complicated feelings regarding food and/or your body?
Do you seem to have a harder time losing weight with each new diet that you try?
Do you seem to be able to stick to diets for shorter and shorter periods?
Do you feel guilty about binging after being on a restrictive diet?
Do you suffer from an eating disorder or disordered eating?
Do you use exercise as punishment?
Do you exercise solely for weight loss?
Do you find yourself preoccupied with thoughts about food, weight loss, and your body?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, you MIGHT be at Diet Bottom.
Usually, when someone has hit Diet Bottom, they are tormented with constant thoughts about food, weight loss and how problematic their body is. They feel there is no hope for their body. They feel they will never lose weight again and they feel DESPERATE to lose weight. But simultaneously they also feel fed up with Dieting. They have lost and regained the same number of pounds over and over throughout their lives and they know Dieting is, ultimately a losing battle. They can’t Diet again. But they are terrified of what will happen to their body if they stop Dieting.
Hitting Diet Bottom – just like Hitting Rock Bottom – is a blessing in the disguise of misery. Here’s why: Once you’ve hit Diet Bottom, you have the chance to free yourself forever from Dieting and Diet Culture. You FINALLY have a chance to take the blinders off and see that your body was actually NEVER the problem. You FINALLY have the chance to be FREE from restriction and deprivation and punishing exercise and the completely ridiculous expectations Diet Culture has forced upon you.
Have you ever wondered what was on the other side of Dieting? Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you didn’t spend all of those minutes, hours, days counting calories or macros or grams of carbs? If you didn’t spend all weekend food prepping? If you didn’t waste all that time fat-talking with your friends and family? If you put your mind and body to some other use than obsessing about physical appearance? If you didn’t waste all of that time hating yourself and hating the precious body you were born into? Once you’ve hit Diet Bottom, you might as well spend some time figuring it out.
Because, on the other side of Diet Bottom is life. On the other side of Diet Bottom is the chance to FINALLY learn to accept your body for exactly what it is and what it has always been: YOURS. On the other side of Diet Bottom is the freedom to learn to care for yourself from your own internal cues. On the other side of Diet Bottom, no one else gets to be in charge of what you eat or how you move or what you think about your body ever again. On the other side of Diet Bottom, you can learn to use your time to live the life you always wanted to live – instead of waiting for the day when you would finally be thin enough to live it.
If you’ve hit Diet Bottom, welcome, and feel free to give me a call.
is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer; an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor; a certified Yoga Teacher; a Certified Intuitive Eating Professional; and a degree-holding Health, Fitness Specialist. She lives in Frankfort, Michigan and owns Every. Body. Fitness and Yoga Studio.