fries in basket

Defund the Food Police: 5 Ways to Break Free From Diet Culture

Recognizing the Voice of the Food Police

Do you ever notice a tiny, little voice in the back of your head telling you how you should eat? This might be the Food Police talking.

The voice might say “Oh, you had a cookie earlier today…better leave that cupcake alone.”

Or maybe it says “you didn’t exercise today, so you should skip breakfast tomorrow morning.” 

If you have ever heard this type of voice, this blog post is for you.

There is nothing more judgmental, unhelpful, and truly harmful to your relationship with food and your body than the voice of the Food Police. 

There’s a reason why registered dietitians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole chose “Challenge the Food Police” as one of the main principles of Intuitive Eating (1). 

The Food Police can be very difficult (or almost impossible for some) to eliminate. The voice is not just within us, but also comes from social media, television ads, or “well-meaning” friends and family. 

So rather than trying to rid you of the inevitable, I have decided to instead give you the tools to defund the Food Police. But first, let’s talk a little more about where it comes from.

Diet Culture: The Source of the Food Police

So how does this voice slip into your psyche, anyway? Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane.

As a child, you may have been taught (intentionally or unintentionally) that certain foods are good and some are bad. You may have also been taught that certain body sizes are good or bad. This moralization of food and human bodies stems from what is called diet culture.

Diet culture is a set of generally accepted beliefs surrounding food and our bodies that promote:

1) food restrictions and rules (AKA dieting), 

2) thinness as “healthy” and fatness as “unhealthy”, and 

3) the use of movement/exercise primarily for weight loss and/or punishment for food choices and body size (2).

It is no small wonder that you grew up believing these things. In fact, diet culture is literally ingrained in almost every Westernized, modern society, so it’s virtually impossible to escape.

And while I won’t go into all the reasons why this is the case, I invite you to think about the following:

  • What is your earliest memory of experiencing diet culture?
  • What beliefs do you have about food and your body that are a result of diet culture?
  • How do these beliefs make you feel about yourself right now?

If you don’t like your answers to these 3 questions, I have good news for you. 

First of all, you are not alone. I stand with you as a friend who knows how it feels to be on the losing side of diet culture. However, I also stand with you as someone who is walking the path of freedom from diet culture.

Here’s how you can #defundthefoodpolice along with me!

Breaking Free from the Bondage of Diet Culture

I know what you might be thinking: “how in the world do we defund voices?” Well, I’m glad you asked. 

There are many things we can do to defund the Food Police. For starters, you can check out my All Foods Fit blog post here to learn how to overcome sugar cravings – for good!

Defunding the voice of the Food Police is as simple as this: we can stop buying into the messages that it sends to our minds and hearts.

And what better way to conquer the voice of the Food Police than to do it with a social media hashtag!

instagram post hashtag defund the food police

I have compiled some tips you will definitely want to share with all your friends, and I would LOVE to see this go viral and take Instagram by storm!

How to #DefundtheFoodPolice

Here are my 5 tips you can start using today to defund the Food Police in your life.

1. Pray about it!

Seriously, if you’ve never taken the time to just close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask our gracious Heavenly Father to silence the voices in your mind that make you struggle with food and your body… 

JUST DO IT (Picture me saying this in my best Shia LaBeouf voice).

Freedom starts with trusting in the One who can calm all your fears and anxieties (Philippians 4:6-7).

2. Ask yourself this question: Is this voice coming from a place of peace or shame?

Let’s take the above statement for example: “oh, you had a cookie earlier today…better leave that cupcake alone.” 

What is the nature of this voice to you? Do you feel a sense of joy and peace from hearing it? Or do you feel a sense of guilt and shame? 

If it is the latter, it may be a voice coming from your inner Food Police. The experience of eating shouldn’t be guilt-ridden. God created food for our nourishment as well as our enjoyment; therefore, it is good (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

No matter what food choices you make, you can have peace knowing that God accepts you. Your worth and value aren’t wrapped up in how you choose to eat. 

No guilt or shame required.

3. Silence the voice of the Food Police with neutrality.

Nothing makes the voice of the Food Police fizzle out quicker than a simple, neutral observation.

Using the example in #2 above, a neutral response could be “the flavor of this cupcake could pair well with my savory lunch” or “meh, I really don’t have a taste for this sweet, rich cupcake right now.” 

Both of these responses are 100% neutral. Notice that they don’t use any positive or negative language that assigns good or bad moral traits to eating (or not eating) the food. 

Food has no morality and we are not good or bad for eating what we choose to eat (Romans 14:2-3).

4. If the voice of the Food Police is coming from outside of you, kindly inform the source of what your boundaries are.

For example, if you have a friend that uses something like the cupcake statement on you, respond with kindness and firmness about what you are or are not okay with. 

You could say, “Thanks girl, but I don’t think that’s your decision to make for me. I’m trying this new thing where I am starting to heal my relationship with food and my body. I value our friendship and that type of statement makes me feel uncomfortable.” 

If this is someone worth spending time with, they will apologize and honor your boundaries (and they may even want to know what you’re doing so they can join in too!).

Otherwise, you might want to gently tell them that you won’t be spending time with them as much (or anymore) if they continue to talk to you in that way. 

A loving person will do their best to respect your boundaries and choose to be kind (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

5. Seek help from an “anti-diet” dietitian!

There’s plenty of us to go around, at least virtually! I would love to work with you and help you find the tools, resources, and support that align with your values. 

And if for some reason you find that we’re not a good fit, no worries! 

Just search #intuitiveeatingdietitian, #haesdietitian, (HAES= Health at Every Size), #antidietdietitian, or #nondietdietitian on Instagram to find qualified registered dietitians who can help guide you on your journey toward a more peaceful relationship with food and your body.

Main Takeaways: #DefundtheFoodPolice

You too can break free from diet culture! It starts with recognizing the voice of the Food Police, identifying its source, then taking steps by faith to overcome it.

Who’s ready to #defundthefoodpolice? If you haven’t already, head over to my Instagram page and join me and all the amazing women who are breaking free from the bondage of diet culture and embracing their Joyfully Nourished Life!

I can’t wait to connect with you there! 🙂

Julia Noel, founder of the joyfully nourished life, in red dress in a white kitchen

Hey there!

If you enjoyed this blog post and want to learn more about my anti-dieting approach to living your best life, sign up to join my email list (and get a FREE 9 step guide) here!

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Much love, friends! 


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