Good for them, not for you.

A few years ago when someone would tell me they were eliminating x food or trying x diet, I would feel all this judgement come up inside me. But then I realized that if someone was talking about eliminating sugar, a family of proteins found in grains (aka gluten), dairy, or something else because it made them feel sick, it was helpful for me to recognize and say to the person that the act of eliminating those things from my life was actually what made me feel sick. Eliminating foods for some can lead to food preoccupation and can be a stepping stone towards an eating disorder or disordered eating.

A way to stand up for yourself and your health is to simply say that eliminating certain foods is what makes you feel mentally crappy and (use to or still does) begin this process of boiling down your identity and self-worth to food, exercise and body size. Okay, maybe you won’t say all that out loud…but you could. 

People like to spew their latest food eliminations and if that splattering of opinions leaves you feeling like you aren’t doing the right things for your health, I’m hear to say that not eliminating a food can be the most healthy and life-giving option for you. Figuring out an elevator pitch-esque response for when someone touts about their food eliminations can be a way to practice speaking up and caring well for yourself.


  1. Kylie- this is sooo timely for me today. I am in recovery from anorexia and I’m working so hard to introduce carbs, fats, sugars and everything back into my diet. It is mentally draining fighting those thoughts but I have found my love for pasta and bread again. Why did I ever cut them!! A few days ago, a friend (who knows my struggles) told me 1. How many steps she had done that day, 2. Told me she fasts until lunch time in order to gain weight and 3. Believes I don’t need to gain weight despite my whole treatment team helping me to become physically safe…..I was like WTF! People can be so stupid and thoughtless. It made me very angry. The diet culture is crazy. So thank you for this :)

  2. My dietitian always reminds me of body autonomy. I get to choose what is best for my body and other people get to choose what is best for their bodies. It is definitely hard, though. I have a friend who I’ve talked to about recovery and it can be really difficult to hear about how much she works out every day, her terrible protein powder baking attempts, and her subsequent binges on cake and chocolate. I use it as a reminder of how far I’ve come. And when I start to hear the siren call of wanting to “be healthier” in order to have a body like hers, I tell myself that healthy looks different for me and that is okay.

  3. This is a phrase I find so comforting when I feel exhausted from trying to stay the course in this world of disordered eating. <3

    • I hear you, Kate. It definitely can feel exhausting when what is actually taking care of yourself is the opposite of what is being praised in our culture.

  4. I really needed to read this. I have found myself explaining lately to the people in my life excited by their renewed commitment to avoiding gluten that it is actually dangerous for me to eliminate ANY food groups. Thank you for validating that. Sometimes it feels that NO ONE around me eats gluten or carbs or sugar or….(fill in the blank). Love your blog!

  5. Struggling with this right now. I have been hearing moms al around me do the elimination diet thing as they breastfeed and it’s not a good fit for me. Eliminating just triggers me more. Except suddenly our 3 month old is having horrible diaper rash and I don’t know what to do. The first answer is eliminatenairu and I’m resisting because it’s going to
    Be so hard, but I don’t know what else to do. Sigh. Here’s hoping it’s not something bigger 

    • Sorry I meant eliminate dairy

    • Oh man so rough, Ana. I struggled with that too. It’s so understandable to grasp for control in anything in those early newborn days, but I don’t think there is much that can make it easier. I’d talk with your pedi to see if eliminating dairy is even recommended for what y’all have going on. There’s SO MUCH crappy advice on the internet and in Mom Groups on Facebook! Beware!

  6. As a sufferer of autoimmune disease, I actually DO feel a world better when I eliminate gluten and dairy. For me, elimination of these foods is a key aspect of intuitive eating and actively listening to what my body is telling me. I’ve also experienced disordered eating in the past, so I can definitely relate to the potential of others to be triggered by my dietary restrictions. But it does really suck sometimes that I feel like I have to hide the fact that my body literally cannot tolerate certain foods. At birthday parties, holiday events, and work celebrations, I’m always the party pooper who can’t enjoy a slice of cake. Not only do I have to deal with the frustration of depriving myself, but I also feel a sense of shame and embarrassment that I’m not able to indulge like everyone else. Just a reminder that it IS possible to eat intuitively AND be truly intolerant of certain ingredients. I think we’re all right to remember that we can only truly understand our own experience– judging the choices of others gets us nowhere.

    • Hey Taylor! Originally when I typed out this post I had 4 more paragraphs talking about just what you write here. I agree with you. I’ll be posting it as a separate post next week. This post just ended up being too long if I included it. It is possible and necessary for some to combine medically necessary diets and intuitive eating and I would love to hear your thoughts once I post it next week. All great points you made!

  7. I love this! Even deep into recovery, this is something that still affects me and can make me feel so anxious. Such a wonderful reminder to stay on your own path <3 thanks for sharing! 

  8. I have been dieting all my life. Then in September of 2016 my body just went haywire. It is only this spring 2018 I found I had a eating disorder. Being condemned by others all my life when I said I was hungry and to Wait to eat.
    My body was crying for food and I was starving myself. Trying to lose weight and continued to gain after hysterectomy, then having my ovaries removed then gaining more weight. When all along I could have been on track by intuative eating. Listening to my bodies signals. I will be 70 in March of 2019. And it only now I am on the right track. 

    • Hi Sheila! I’m sorry it’s been such a long struggle for you, but I’m so happy you’ve found a better way to eat and be in your body! Intuitive Eating can bring so much peace!

  9. I love this post. So much. 

    Even 7 years into recovery, I’ve still found it helpful (and sometimes necessary) to walk away from converstaions centered around elimination diets. It seems – even in my circle of Christian friends – people like to associate food with a moral connotation.  It’s as though people believe there’s higher spirituality in denying oneself of pleasurable food. I strongly believe God says ALL food is good food and was meant not only for nourishment, but also enjoyment (Genesis 9:3 & Ecclesiastes 2:24). All that being said, I still find it difficult to speak up for myself and voice why I’m not in agreement with elimination diets or why I find it difficult to sit and listen to others discuss the topic of diets. Thank you for reminding me it’s okay to speak up, and doing so can be beneficial to me (or others to hear a differing opinion that presses against societal norm). 

  10. Thank you for this post! I recognize that you are in a very different stage in your life, but I was hoping that you might consider a post on how to navigate dating (and romantic relationships) while attempting to heal from an eating disorder/disordered eating and move towards IE and ultimately normal eating. I don’t want to put my life on hold and also recognize that it’s probably best to seek out a normal eaters to spend my time with. I would love a discussion around how to date in this era when so many online profiles mention potential interests’ latest diet and how to make it clear throughout the dating process that I am ideally seeking out people for whom all foods are on the table (and no, I don’t want to spend any time talking about your success with the k*** diet!). Is it possible to be in the healing stage of life and still date someone who displays dieting behavior? How do we advocate for ourselves and our health while dating while dieting is basically the standard? It would also be pjenomenal to hear about the experience of entering into a romantic relationship in ones’ new, post-restricting body! Sorry for the long post, this was just a topic that I would love to hear discussed more and i’m sure that it comes up in sessions with clients! Thank you for all you do! 

  11. I love this. Very relevant. I have never had an eating disorder but have moved more toward intuitive eating after noticing myself going down a path of restriction several years ago. I have a friend who eliminates a bunch of food due to her “acid reflux” (which may or may not exist). I’ve been vocal in groups about being against diets and she’s taken this as a personal affront (even though I have said nothing about her specific diet). It’s hard sometimes to stand by my beliefs on this topic. Thanks for the refresher that it’s ok to have opinions!

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  13. Any suggestions for what exactly to say??? I work in a school and let me tell you, nearly every single teacher or staff member there comments EVERY single darn day about their diets! I’m over it! I did open up once to someone and say, I’m not dieting anymore, and the look I got in return was enough to make me not want to say that again! I’m not small. I’m learning to live in a bigger body without working all day every day to make it smaller. But when I have to hear every day at lunch about keto, and low carb, weight watchers, jenny craig, all of the things…I just want to scream! But I really do not know what to say to people. Any suggestions of a elevator pitch-esque response I can try?

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