Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating


By Christy Harrison

Read by Christy Harrison

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Reclaim your time, money, health, and happiness from our toxic diet culture with groundbreaking strategies from a registered dietitian, journalist, and host of the Food Psych podcast.

68 percent of Americans have dieted at some point in their lives. But upwards of 90% of people who intentionally lose weight gain it back within five years. And as many as 66% of people who embark on weight-loss efforts end up gaining more weight than they lost. If dieting is so clearly ineffective, why are we so obsessed with it?

The culprit is diet culture, a system of beliefs that equates thinness to health and moral virtue, promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, and demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others. It's sexist, racist, and classist, yet this way of thinking about food and bodies is so embedded in the fabric of our society that it can be hard to recognize. It masquerades as health, wellness, and fitness, and for some, it is all-consuming.

In Anti-Diet, Christy Harrison takes on diet culture and the multi-billion-dollar industries that profit from it, exposing all the ways it robs people of their time, money, health, and happiness. It will turn what you think you know about health and wellness upside down, as Harrison explores the history of diet culture, how it's infiltrated the health and wellness world, how to recognize it in all its sneaky forms, and how letting go of efforts to lose weight or eat "perfectly" actually helps to improve people's health—no matter their size. Drawing on scientific research, personal experience, and stories from patients and colleagues, Anti-Diet provides a radical alternative to diet culture, and helps readers reclaim their bodies, minds, and lives so they can focus on the things that truly matter.



The Life Thief


The Roots of Diet Culture

Diet culture is a slippery thing. Some would argue that it doesn’t exist anymore—that today everyone knows diets don’t work, and that the average citizen of twenty-first-century Western culture is more concerned with health and wellness than thinness. “It’s not a diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle,” today’s weight-loss ads intone. “I don’t diet, I just eat real food,” social media’s self-styled nutrition gurus declare. The thing is, though modern-day diets may disavow the term, they’re part of the same belief system that brought us SlimFast and SnackWell’s, and that keeps us chasing after an elusive “ideal” body size and shape. They’re still part of diet culture. And as with any cultural phenomenon, in order to truly understand it we have to understand its history. We can’t recognize how contemporary diet culture is harming us—or learn how to heal from it—without going back to its roots. Not only is the story of diet culture’s development fascinating, but it holds important keys to unlocking the Life Thief’s hold on us today.

For most of human existence, no one dreamed of restricting their food intake to lose weight. Getting enough food was the main concern, and plumpness signified prosperity and well-being. Fat on the body meant higher social status, a better chance of weathering famine and disease, and a greater likelihood of fertility. Thinness meant poverty, illness, and death.

Two of the earliest known sculptures of human beings—the Venus of Hohle Fels and the Venus of Willendorf—depict big, round, feminine bodies with huge breasts and rolls of fat on their bellies and sides. Numerous kings, pharaohs, gods, and goddesses in the ancient world were depicted with fat bodies, symbolizing their fertility, divinity, and prestige.1 Though religions have long issued warnings about gluttony and engaged in ritual fasting and asceticism, these practices weren’t about weight loss for its own sake or the effects of eating on a person’s size, but about how bodily pleasure was thought to compromise the soul.2 Fasting was penance—a way of making up for all the times you had screwed up that year, rather than a way of punishing your body for being too large. In fact, at one time in the early nineteenth century gluttony was widely believed to cause food malabsorption and weight loss, rather than weight gain. (This belief came about because European visitors to the U.S. observed that white Americans were thinner than their European counterparts, and that these Americans also ate more food, more quickly, and more often.)

Today, in some parts of the world—especially those that are relatively insulated from Western beauty ideals—fatness is still seen as desirable. Anthropologist Rebecca Popenoe, who has spent years doing fieldwork in the Sahara desert, explains that a fat body is the ultimate symbol of beauty, prosperity, and health for women in Niger and Mauritania, to the point where many mothers deliberately try to fatten their daughters—and sometimes even force-feed them. Fatness signifies beauty and health for indigenous groups in parts of South America as well. By one estimate, 81 percent of human societies in recorded history have had beauty ideals that favored larger-bodied women.3 The data on beauty ideals for men is more scant, but among the dozen or so societies with available evidence, virtually all of them have a preference for large body size (usually also accompanied by muscularity) in men.4

In the grand scheme of things, then, demonizing fatness is an anomaly, limited to a few historical periods. One such period is classical antiquity—Ancient Greece and Rome—when the seeds of modern-day diet culture were planted. In that time of relative prosperity, there was a lot of anxiety about what abundance meant. Moderation and balance in all things came to be seen as a virtue, and any level of excess was a flaw to be corrected. So when it came to eating, overindulgence was deemed a moral failing; food was to be consumed exclusively for fuel, not for pleasure, and fatness was viewed as a symbol of moral corruption.5 The Latin word obesus—the root of the English obesity—was coined in that period, and translates as “having eaten until fat.”

This cultural fatphobia also intertwined with thinking about health. The Ancient Greek physician Galen, for example, believed that fatness was a sign of a malformed spirit.6 In the “four humors” theory of medicine that became popular in that era (which held that health was achieved by balancing four essential elements in the body: black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm), fatness was seen as an imbalance that needed to be corrected through arcane eating and exercise practices. Hippocrates—generally considered the father of Western medicine, and the namesake of the Hippocratic oath—popularized this belief, as well as the idea that fatness was a disease.7 But there are many contradictions in the Greco-Roman view of fat bodies: Hippocrates (or possibly one of his disciples) also wrote, “In all maladies, those who are fat about the belly do best.”8

Speaking of contradictions, the ancients generally didn’t find thinness aesthetically appealing, and had a preference for “fat in moderation”—a beauty standard that still excluded lots of people, but wasn’t nearly as impossible to live up to as today’s thin ideal. And a linguistic analysis of Greek and Latin terms for fat and thin reveals that fat was frequently synonymous with prosperity and fertility, whereas thin was generally used to signify poverty and weakness.9 So the Greeks and Romans were clearly ambivalent about what fatness “meant.” As much as they may have believed that being larger-bodied was both a moral failing and a health problem, they didn’t demonize fatness across the board.

After the fall of Rome, the notion of body fat as a symptom to be cured went mostly underground for a long time. The seeds of diet culture lay dormant, and fatness generally returned to being considered a positive trait, or at least a morally neutral one. Although there are some examples of thinness being prized in certain circles in the Middle Ages, there was no unified, institutionalized stigma against larger bodies until much more recently.

Meanwhile, although food has probably never been freighted with as much moral baggage as it is today, there were several periods in history when ideas about “good” and “bad” (or “right” and “wrong”) ways of eating emerged. One of those periods is, again, classical antiquity. Our word diet comes from the Ancient Greek diaita, a term that did not enter widespread use until Hippocrates and his fellow physicians started using it in medical texts, primarily to refer to eating, drinking, and exercise habits (and occasionally also to bathing and sexual practices).10

Diaita is often translated as “way of life,” but those early medical writings reveal the common usage of the word corresponds more closely to “regimen”—a system of rules governing behavior. The way Ancient Greek doctors saw it, anyone who didn’t follow those rules properly (including the special rules that were supposed to apply depending on a person’s constitution, the time of year, and the person’s health status) was intellectually and morally inferior. Consider this passage from Hippocrates: “Those who do not use medicine—barbarians and a small number of Greeks—maintain (when they are sick) the same diet as those in health, only following their pleasure, and would neither forgo nor restrict the satisfaction of any of their desires, or even reduce the quantity.”11 In other words, people who don’t follow the “proper” diet—which includes reducing the amount they eat in response to illness, and rejecting pleasure in favor of health—are basically uncivilized brutes.

In another passage by Hippocrates, he argues that at the start of human existence people ate essentially the same things as animals, and their health suffered for it—and then progress marched forward until, what do you know, it arrived at the apex of sophistication that was the regimen recommended by Ancient Greek doctors. The implication is clear: eating anything other than the correct diaita made people less than fully human. The term diet, then, was bound up from the start with ideas about morality, restriction, the renunciation of pleasure, and the superiority of certain races.

The other key period in Western history when moralistic ideas about food came into vogue was in the days of Christopher Columbus—early modern colonialism. For the colonizers, this was a time filled with anxieties about how to live in an unfamiliar environment among unfamiliar people (although of course things were far worse for those being colonized). Columbus and his fellow conquistadors feared that coming into contact with these new lands and their occupants would cause settlers to get sick and die—perhaps a justified fear, given that so many of them did (as did the indigenous peoples). To ensure this didn’t happen, the Spanish colonizers believed they needed to eat the “right” food—specifically European food, which they thought would protect them from the excessively damp conditions in the Americas.12 (The “four humors” theory was still prevalent in medicine at the time, and climate supposedly affected health by altering the humoral balance.) Spanish settlers insisted that indigenous foods made them sick because of this imbalance. Never mind the fact that the settlers ate these foods at pretty much every meal without incident; whenever illness struck, they were quick to blame the food.

What’s more, as the colonizers started to form ideas about race based on their contact with new peoples, they also began to believe that food helped create the physical distinctions between Europeans and the “others” they were encountering. That is, the Spaniards thought their bodies looked different than indigenous people’s bodies because they ate differently—an early colonial example of the belief that “you are what you eat”—and that if they started eating the “bad” local foods, their bodies would literally transform to look like the people they were colonizing. That seemed less than ideal to the Spaniards, who also believed they had been sent by God to “civilize” these distant lands, and that even their appearance was a mark of this chosen status.13 So in order to maintain their perceived divine right to lord it over everyone else, the conquistadors believed they had to keep eating the “correct” foods.

Those early modern colonial ideas about “good” and “bad” food, along with ideas from classical antiquity about the “correct” way to eat and the “right” size to be, began to commingle and germinate in the fertile ground of the nineteenth-century United States, which is when diet culture as we know it was born.

Industrialization and Its Discontents

Between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, the U.S. saw an explosion in production, manufacturing, and technology known as the American Industrial Revolution, which had profound effects on society and culture. The original Industrial Revolution started in Britain in the mid-1700s and made its way across the pond in 1789, when a British textile manufacturer used smuggled designs to build the first industrial cotton mill in the U.S.14 From there, textile and clothing production became increasingly mechanized, and by the 1820s ready-made clothes in standardized sizes began to take over the market.15 Until that point, nearly everyone had been wearing custom-made clothes—rich or poor, going to a seamstress or sewing your own clothes was the only option. With the industrialization of clothing production, though, clothes were no longer made to fit your body and your precise measurements; now you had to choose your size from a limited array of mass-produced designs and hope for the best. Cue body shame and comparisons with your friends.

Meanwhile, the idea that food could play a role in health started to become more mainstream, thanks to Presbyterian minister and popular speaker Sylvester Graham (namesake of the cracker). In the mid-1830s, Graham began to advocate abstinence from alcohol, caffeine, and even meat and condiments, claiming that these substances were bad for people’s health. He argued that “overstimulation” was the quintessential illness of the industrial age, preaching that a diet of austere, bland, nonstimulating foods was the key to both health and moral virtue. In Graham’s view, spices, meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and even yeasted bread and condiments led not only to indigestion and illness, but also to sexual “excess” (including both masturbation and too much sex between married couples) and general civil unrest. “Gluttony, and not starvation, is the greatest of all causes of evil,” he wrote in 1838. Graham’s beliefs epitomized the early Protestant worldview that advocated the denial of pleasure, the importance of self-control, and the triumph of reason over emotion. Through that lens, enjoying food was seen as a dangerous form of decadence.

In an origin story that harks back to colonial ideas about “good” and “bad” foods and also sounds eerily similar to many “wellness” bloggers today, Graham claimed that eating the “wrong” foods had caused him all kinds of health problems earlier in life, and that he had healed himself by cutting out those foods. Never mind that he had endured the kind of childhood trauma that would cause anyone’s health to suffer, no matter what they ate: By the time young Sylvester was eight years old, his father had died and his mother had been declared “deranged.” Graham bounced around among his older siblings’ homes and neighbors’ farms for the rest of his childhood, becoming an angry, bitter, chronically exhausted young man.16 As an adult, he built his diet around what he deemed to be the only wholesome options: bran bread, plain rice, tapioca, sago (a kind of pudding made from palm flour), sauceless vegetables, and a few fruits. It wasn’t intended as a weight-loss diet—in fact, Graham thought it would create robust bodies as well as wholesome minds—but given its austerity, people at the time worried that it would cause its followers to waste away.17 In response, Graham and his acolytes (called “Grahamites”) began weighing themselves regularly to prove that the diet allowed them to maintain their weight.

The Grahamites’ records show that they more or less achieved that goal over the long term, even if some initial weight loss occurred for certain people. (That’s basically true of all diets, as we’ll discuss in Chapter 3.) These writings not only helped Graham refute the charges of starving his followers, they also provide the first evidence of a group of Americans tracking their body weight.18 This routine weighing was quite a feat, given that scales weren’t very common at the time (more on that shortly).

Race, Class, and Body Size

Industrialization soon led to urbanization—people moving into cities to work in the factories and offices that kept popping up. From 1850 to 1900 the percentage of Americans living in cities more than doubled, and by 1920 more Americans would live in cities than in the countryside.19 Millions of people were clamoring for work, including a huge new wave of immigrants in the mid-to late 1800s. Industrialization also led to increased food production, which meant that food became available to a greater number of people for less labor than ever before.20

Some people thought this was all admirable progress, but American culture as a whole was awash in anxiety about what these changes meant—particularly when it came to immigration. The emerging white middle class was looking for ways to assert and maintain a dominant position in relation to the new immigrants, and body size became a key point of comparison. “Part of the rise of a thinner ideal to define a middle-class American citizen was this contradistinction to the ‘stout, sturdy’ immigrants,” says cultural historian Emily Contois, who studies the nexus between gender and diet culture in American history. In other words, the anxious middle class started thinking of thinness as a mark of social status.

The nineteenth century also saw emerging theories about race and evolution that categorized people into a racial hierarchy based on which groups were supposedly more “civilized” or “evolved.” The scientists doing the categorizing were predominantly white men of Northern European descent (including, most famously, British naturalist Charles Darwin beginning in the 1830s), and guess which group they claimed was at the top of the hierarchy? As important as evolutionary theory was when it came to explaining how we all came to be on this planet, it was also used in overtly racist ways, to justify the white Anglo-European male domination of other cultures and genders that had been going on for centuries. Evolutionary theory became a “scientific” way of upholding the status quo. White, Northern European women were deemed to be a step down from men on the evolutionary ladder, followed by Southern Europeans (again with the women a step down from the men), then people of color from countries that early biologists and anthropologists considered “semi-civilized” or “barbaric,” and finally, at the bottom, Native Americans and Africans, whom they considered “savages.”21

As part of their process of creating this bogus evolutionary hierarchy, nineteenth-century scientists started cataloguing the physical traits and cultural norms they saw in different societies. They decided that fatness was a marker of “savagery” because it appeared more frequently in the people of color they observed, whereas thinness supposedly appeared more frequently in white people, men, and aristocrats. In particular, fatness was said to be linked to blackness—an idea that started to take hold of the popular imagination in both Europe and the U.S. in the nineteenth century.22 Scientific writings from this period obsessively catalogued and measured the fatness of people from supposedly “primitive” societies, and of women in general. Women of all ethnicities were believed to be at greater “risk” of fatness, which was taken as further evidence of their supposed evolutionary inferiority. Thus, belief in a hierarchy of ethnic groups, with white men at the top, led to a growing demonization of fatness starting in the mid-1800s.

These racist beliefs influenced our gender norms as well, including the definitions of what it means to “look male,” “look female,” and “look androgynous.” Because thinness was deemed “more evolved” (given its supposed association with masculinity and whiteness), men with lots of fat on their bodies began to be seen as both less masculine and less morally upstanding. And whereas fatness or curviness was seemingly associated with femininity, the idea that larger bodies were inferior eventually translated to the idea that even women shouldn’t be “too” fat or curvy. As sociologist Sabrina Strings explains in her 2019 book, Fearing the Black Body, this prohibition on fatness was especially strong for white, middle-class Protestant women, who were instructed on “temperance” by dietary reformers such as Sylvester Graham, and told that “excessive” eating was both immoral and detrimental to their beauty, as it would lead to having a body more like those of African or Irish women.23

Today these racist beauty ideals still affect not only cisgender people but those elsewhere on the gender spectrum. As nonbinary trans psychologist and activist Sand Chang puts it, “The ideals that we have for what trans bodies are supposed to look like are based on white, skinny, model-looking people, and it really excludes folks who are fat, disabled, and people of color. There are so many ways in which these dominant norms and dominant representations of trans identity don’t leave room for the vast majority of us”—including nonbinary people who don’t quite match society’s idea of what it means to “look” nonbinary.

These days, diet culture pushes the narrative that the reason we stigmatize larger bodies is because higher weight “causes” poor health. In reality, though, fat bodies were deemed “uncivilized” and therefore undesirable long before the medical and scientific communities began to label them a health risk around the turn of the twentieth century.24 Fatphobic beliefs pre-dated health arguments. In fact, through the end of the nineteenth century (as for most of human history) doctors held that larger bodies were healthier. Anyone who wanted to pursue weight loss had to go up against the medical establishment.

Weighty Matters

One such person was William Banting, Britain’s first weight-loss guru. In 1862 Banting had retired from a successful career as a funeral director for British royalty and seemed set for life, but he couldn’t shake his frustration with his weight.25 He went to a number of doctors about it, but like the vast majority of physicians in that era, they thought it was no big deal for people to gain weight with aging, assuring him that it was a natural part of the process. Banting refused to accept that, though, which makes sense given the increasing pressure he must have felt: his size was suddenly putting him at odds with the classist, racist, and sexist ideas circulating in Western culture about how a well-to-do white man “should” look. Eventually he found a doctor who agreed to put him on an austere, experimental diet.

In 1864 Banting published a pamphlet titled Letter on Corpulence: Addressed to the Public, outlining the diet his doctor had prescribed and explaining how he’d apparently overcome his own weight struggles, including detailed logs of changes in his weight over time. The pamphlet was so popular that it sold out and had to be reprinted multiple times, and eventually it was published as a book of the same name—the first modern diet book, a trailblazer in terms of taking diets out of the realm of medical therapy and into the domain of self-help.26 The book was a sensation in Europe and the U.S., and it was covered widely in the press.

Banting’s introduction reads a lot like many of today’s diet books, old-timey language aside: “Of all the parasites that affect humanity I do not know of, nor can I imagine, any more distressing than that of Obesity, and, having just emerged from a very long probation in this affliction, I am desirous of circulating my humble knowledge and experience for the benefit of my fellow man, with an earnest hope it may lead to the same comfort and happiness I now feel under the extraordinary change.”27 In other words, “I got thin and it changed my life! Here’s how you can do it, too.”

He also discussed the weight-related stigma he’d experienced in adulthood: “I am confident no man laboring under obesity can be quite insensible to the sneers and remarks of the cruel and injudicious in public assemblies, public vehicles, or the ordinary street traffic; nor to the annoyance of finding no adequate space in a public assembly if he should seek amusement or need refreshment, and therefore he naturally keeps away as much as possible from places where he is likely to be made the object of taunts and remarks of others.” Just as it is today, fatness was increasingly demonized in Banting’s time, and larger-bodied people were the targets of exclusion and derision. It’s no wonder he wanted to escape that fate. The diet he outlined in the pamphlet—which came to be known as the Banting diet—was low in carbs and high in meat and fat, sort of like a proto-Atkins diet (but with a lot more alcohol, on the order of six glasses a day, apparently to help counteract the constipating effects of eating almost nothing but meat).

Banting’s book, with its obsessive logging of body weights, helped ignite a cultural obsession with the scale. When the book was first published, scales were a novelty item in the U.S. People would weigh themselves at regional fairs and exhibitions, where manufacturers encouraged attendees to step on giant platform scales designed for agricultural and industrial uses—a publicity stunt meant to show just how accurate these scales were. They weren’t really made for weighing people, and that was the fun of it. Banting’s attention to weight helped change all that, creating a demand for scales that were more widely available and more finely calibrated for the human body.

The first human scales were sold to health-care facilities and were too cumbersome and expensive for use by most people. Then a technological innovation appeared that suddenly allowed people to start weighing themselves regularly: the “penny scale,” a coin-operated platform-style scale that was introduced in the U.S. in 1885 and quickly spread throughout the country.28 Soon there were penny scales everywhere—in drugstores, train stations, grocery stores, and eventually even banks, movie theaters, and office buildings. The scales spread in part because they were so profitable for their manufacturers and owner-operators, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue over the years. The proliferation of penny scales also fanned the flames of people’s emerging, painful self-consciousness about weight—although interestingly, at first the chief concern among women was being too thin, not too fat.

Despite the emerging cultural view of fatness as a mark of “uncivilized” status, for most of the Victorian era (1837–1901) it had been considered the height of beauty and refinement for women to be plump, pale, hourglass-shaped (with the help of corsets), and swathed in layers of poufed fabric—signs that their husbands could afford to feed them well and keep them away from manual labor.29 The Victorian preference for larger bodies clearly had nothing to do with feminism, and these beauty standards were also bound up with classism and racism, where looking beautiful meant looking rich and white. Women were still being oppressed, but not yet by an impossibly thin beauty ideal. Instead, doctors encouraged people to gain weight, and photographers considered hollow cheekbones and prominent collarbones to be defects. Actress Lillian Russell, the great beauty of the era whose voluptuous shape was widely admired, would fall in the “obese” category on today’s body mass index chart, whereas thinner actresses were publicly mocked. The Victorian beauty standard was about taking up more space, not less.

The vogue for larger bodies among women would soon change, though. Print media was on the rise, reaching more and more people, and it became the perfect vehicle for disseminating a new image of what women “should” look like in this increasingly anti-fat culture: the Gibson Girl. Created by artist Charles Dana Gibson in 1890 for Life magazine, the Gibson Girl was a pen-and-ink drawing of a young, white, well-to-do woman who bucked some Victorian trends in a way that felt fresh and exciting at the time.30 Like the Victorian ideal, the Gibson Girl was still hourglass-shaped and narrow-waisted—impossibly so, since she was a drawing


  • "Nutritionist Harrison, host of the podcast Food Psych, debuts with this impassioned and articulate plea for readers to reject 'diet culture' and reclaim their lives...Harrison's enlightening, heretical tract provides a new perspective on the dieting narrative which many take as gospel truth."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Anti-Diet is the 'diet' book you need to read headed into 2020. If you've been gearing up to embark on yet another diet, protocol, reset or reboot come Jan. 1, I have a different suggestion: Hit the pause button on that plan and read Christy Harrison's book. Harrison, a registered dietitian and journalist, thoroughly and elegantly lays out the strange origins of modern diet culture...then presents a path to truly holistic health that's based on self-care, not self-control."—Carrie Dennett, The Seattle Times
  • "Brilliant! Anti-Diet should be required reading for every health professional and in every health-related class. Harrison bridges the gap between intuitive eating and social justice issues in an engaging and compassionate way. She exposes toxic diet culture -- its evolution, who profits by it, and how it hurts you. Written with a friendly touch of sass, Anti-Diet, is richly sourced with studies, stats, and expert interviews. I highly recommend this book to help you dismantle diet culture and to heal your own relationship with food, mind, and body."—Evelyn Tribole, coauthor of Intuitive Eating
  • "A huge burden has been lifted: I no longer have to revise my first book to reflect current understanding! Christy Harrison beat me to it. I'm blown away by how good Anti-Diet is. Using a social justice lens, well-researched and smart science, captivating storytelling, and practical advice, this book will help you reclaim your life from the throttle of diet culture."
    Linda Bacon, author of Health at Every Size, co-author of Body Respect
  • "This book will change the way you see the world and live your life forever. Thank God for Christy Harrison."
    Jes Baker, author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls
  • "As compassionate as it is scholarly, Christy Harrison's Anti-Diet goes deep to expose the sordid underbelly of the diet culture but it doesn't leave you there. With healing-oriented strategies that address our physical, emotional, and social selves, you will finish this book armed with ways to reclaim all that dieting has taken from you, and gain a new perspective that is empowering and sustainable."
    Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Eat to Love
  • "VICTORY! Christy Harrison epically takes down diet culture and explains why the cards are stacked against all of us who still believe a smaller body is the only way to improve health and create a better life. Diet culture sucks, but you can take meaningful action: Read this book. Stop dieting. Start being good to yourself."—Rebecca Scritchfield RDN, author of Body Kindness
  • "If you've ever wondered how we landed in this current wellness-obsessed, sugar-and-gluten-fearing moment of entrenched food anxiety, Anti-Diet is a must-read. Christy Harrison traces the history of modern diet culture, busts deeply rooted myths and exposes the inherent biases of modern weight research. She also offers clear, practical advice for all of us trying to disentangle ourselves from diets and make peace with food."
    Virginia Sole-Smith, author of The Eating Instinct
  • "Most diet and wellness books claim to address mind, body and spirit, but in fact they are just about body. Thank goodness for Christy Harrison, whose empathetic book reveals oppressive diet culture for what it truly is, and offers a genuinely holistic alternative."
    Alan Levinovitz, author of The Gluten Lie
  • "Please read this book! Anti-Diet is the book to end all diet books, and will be a game changer for so many people. Christy is an expert on this subject and leaves no stone unturned in exposing how insidious and harmful diet culture is -- and teaching readers how to opt-out of the madness."
    Caroline Dooner, author of The F*ck It Diet

On Sale
Dec 24, 2019
Hachette Audio

Christy Harrison

About the Author

Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and journalist who writes about food and nutrition. She is the author of Anti-Diet, as well as the founder and host of the Food Psych podcast, which has helped tens of thousands of people around the world stop dieting, recover from disordered eating, and develop happier and healthier relationships with food. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, SELF, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Gourmet, Slate, the Food Network, and many other publications, and her work is regularly featured in national print and broadcast media. Learn more about Christy and her work at, and subscribe to her newsletter at 

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