The Anti-Diet Riot Club
The idea of the The Anti-Diet Riot Club (ADRC) is to build a rebellious-spirited community dedicated to fighting back against ‘Diet Culture’ and the dangerous body ideals and standards of beauty that surround it. They believe that empowering people to love themselves is not just a cheesy Instagram post or brand slogan, it’s a small but powerful resistance against a society that profits billions of $$ from our self-loathing.
They believe that diet culture negatively affects our mental, physical and emotional worlds by telling us that we are not good or worthy enough unless we are trying to lose weight/be more muscly/eat less/sweat more at all times. The ADRC strongly believe that there IS an alternative way to live free from some of these pressures and dangerously unattainable ideals. They say there is a whole world of ‘wellness’ out there, but what is actually useful and can help us live, eat and move in a way that is good for our physical AND mental wellbeing?
They will host monthly events where you can delve deeper into the body positive movement. The events will promote and explore concepts like body acceptance, fat activism, intuitive eating and radical self-love. They will give a platform to the many campaigners, scientists, writers and artists that are themselves fighting for these concepts. They will sometimes be informative, sometimes creative, often practical, and they hope always fun! Overall their mission is to give people practical tools, not just inspiring statements, that means they walk away with a better understanding of how to hopefully live a more intuitive, diet free, self-accepting life.
The club is for people of all ages, genders, sexualities, races and body types. It’s for human beings who want to be free of the constant pressure to lose weight, build muscle, drop dress sizes, count calories, weigh food, and spend hours at the gym daily. It’s for those who want to learn to move their body enjoyably and eat intuitively rather than restrictively. For people who want to stop waiting to be happy with themselves until they’ve reached a certain goal.
Launched by Londoner Becky Young with the help of guest speaker and blogger BodyPosiPanda, aka Megan Jayne Crabbe, the ADRC will offer a safe space once a month for women who struggle with the damaging diet messaging that surrounds them.
Becky Young launched the Anti Diet Riot Club after following rainbow-haired body-positive campaigner Megan Jayne Crabbe’s online profile,
‘We want to reset people’s toxic relationships with food and their bodies,’ says Becky. ‘“Diet culture” feeds us unattainable ideals, telling us we won’t be happy until we achieve them, and then makes us feel guilty if we don’t “succeed” — even though studies show fewer than five per cent of us actually do, long term.’
The first event — featuring The Eight Rules of Anti Diet Riot Club, body-image workshops and, probably most importantly, cupcakes — was the culmination of six months of work.
‘Like many people, my first diet was Weight Watchers because it was seen as less extreme and manageable as a lifestyle change,’ says Becky.
‘But obsessively counting points to see what I could eat was not the life I wanted to lead. I found myself feeling increasingly guilty when I ate certain foods and started skipping healthy meals just so I could eat a rich tea biscuit. I was miserable.
‘I discovered the body acceptance movement online after too many years spent hating my body. Megan’s was one of the very first accounts I followed and I decided to start the ADRC while reading her book [Body Positive Power]. The ADRC is about taking that wonderful online community out into the real world.’
Unsurprisingly, demand has been off the charts for the rebellious-spirited club as the nation reaches peak confused when it comes to healthy eating. A recent survey by Cancer Research UK found millennials are set to be the largest generation since records began, while research from fitness company FitRated shows that women feel ‘most body confident’ when they’re medically underweight.
The ADRC will work to reverse this muddled messaging. It will teach members body acceptance through ‘body-positive’ life-drawing classes, talks from health experts, workshops on the concept of ‘intuitive eating’ to counter diet obsession and events like the excellently named F*** Size Modelling class.
‘You can come and discuss your insecurities and issues around your body and food without the shame of not losing weight or getting “congratulated” for shifting a pound or two,’ says Becky. ‘We need to stop seeing diets as a “cure”.’
She says it’s key to think of health as ‘so much more than what we look like or how much we weigh’.
‘If this club means just one less person suffering on a crash diet, crying over a bad photo or staying in because they are insecure about their looks, it will be a success.
‘Years of socialisation has taught us to be scared of fat, to compare ourselves to others, to seek out the flaws. But I’ve been hating my body since I was a child — dieting since I was 14 — and I can now lovingly embrace my tummy rolls. I’m hoping that’s what the ARDC can give others too. F*** what the scales tell you.’
Rick and Rachel’s View
We love the concept of the ADRC and we’re sure that great nutritional advice and a way of measuring progress will be built in to it. Be Strong promotes being happy in your own body but it also strongly encourages its members to improve their current position in relation to their health and well-being. Its a very emotive subject and we can’t really have an opinion on every statement made as there are so many factors that could be involved.
We think the best way of summarising our opinion on this is with our own well known mantra. “We don’t care what our bodies look like, we’re more interested in what they’re capable of.” Our bodies should be in the healthy BMI range (some exceptions accepted) and causing us no underlying or overt adverse health issues. The body should be in a good condition to promote a long, happy and satisfying lifestyle. The condition of the body would ideally mirror the condition of the mind, but that combination is not always possible. Healthy body, healthy weight, healthy mind – we create an environment for people to work towards achieving that. That’s what Be Strong is about!