The Unbearable Whiteness and Fatphobia of “Anti-Diet” Dietitians
These white female dietitians have helped steal and monetize the body positive movement. And I’m sick of it.
In the midst of working on this essay, a fellow member of a Health At Every Size Facebook group posted about an encounter with a popular dietitian on Instagram. This dietitian has branded herself as an anti-diet dietitian and body positivity advocate. She has over 50k followers. She sells courses on how to kick one’s dieting habit that cost $250.
This group member politely commented on this dietitian’s post to explain that their frequent posting of “before and afters”, complaints about being unable to celebrate her own weight loss, and pictures with “stomach rolls” (like in the image above) contributes to the falsehood of fat bodies being “before” bodies and exacerbates the hypervisibility of privileged, straight-sized people in the body liberation movement.
Her comments were deleted and she was blocked.
She then attempted to engage this dietitian through a private message from her main account in hopes that that would be more effective. She was sympathetic to the difficult task of owning up to one’s privilege, but emphasized that one cannot be “anti-diet” without engaging with body positivity as a space for fat people. She received an incredibly hostile response in which the following and more occurred:
- The dietitian said that she is “not causing harm” and if her “journey” “harms you or anyone else….it’s not [she] that has internal work to do.”
- The dietitian stated that she was trying to cultivate a “peaceful space” and comments pointing out the problematic nature of her posts do not “spark” that.
- The dietitian claimed that “researchers, like [her] mentors in [her] doctoral program built this movement… not social justice warriors” and that individuals who want her to check her privilege “are taking things to a place where it divides people and it’s just not necessary or effective to get people to shift their views.”
This is not an anecdote, but the whole story.