Self-love and diet are not two terms you’ll hear often in conjunction with one another. So, we decided it’s time to smash the diet taboos with Harri and Becky from the Anti Diet Riot Club. They have founded the first radical community and platform dismantling ‘diet culture’, body shame and fat phobia whilst also educating people on how to accept and look after their bodies regardless of size or weight.
Preaching that diets do not work (with approx 90% of dieters regaining the weight back plus more), the Anti Diet Riot Club (ADRC) aims to help people stop wasting their time, energy on money on an industry that doesn’t care about them and stigmatises fat people in the process. As well as creating informative and inspirational content, ADRC host workshops and meetups that are an antidote to the millions of slimming clubs happening around the world. Their events are a safe space for everyone who is exhausted with the endless pursuit of the ‘ideal body’ and want to be around other like-minded, rebellious people.
The Anti-Diet Riot Club is causing a storm right now – tell us, what is it and where did it all begin?
Becky – I came up with the idea for ADRC at the end of 2017 after my own life and mindset were changed through the body acceptance movement I had discovered online years before. I was going through a difficult breakup and I wanted to create an IRL community around me, one that was free of diet chat or calorie counting, and with a background in events, I thought setting up a group would be the best way to do this. Our first event in March 2018 was with Megan Crabbe and over 100 people came! Harri and I joined together later that year initially to help take some radical, body-positive workshops to festivals which we both love – but since then we’ve been growing and adapting and hopefully improving ever since.
How are your personal stories and experiences weaved into the ADRC as it is today?
Harri – both Becky and I have similar experiences of growing up not thinking we were thin enough and consequently going on every diet under the sun. I ended up with binge eating disorder but I didn’t recognise it as an eating disorder. We both felt out of control and miserable. And when we were at our thinnest, we were also the most messed up in the head. We both got to a place where we had completely lost our connection to our bodies (instead caught in a place of loathing) and had a very messed up relationship with food. Our journey to healing ended up being pretty similar too. We both hit a ‘dieting wall’, where something in our heads was saying ‘stop!’.
Then we were lucky enough to find the body positivity movement (as it was back in the day, not co-opted by diet culture as it is today).
I trained as a health coach and discovered Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size and Becky used her event management background to create a space IRL for the body positive movement to gather in London. Everything we do is influenced by how much we used to hate our bodies and be fearing of food – and fatness. We know how much diets can steal the joy out of life – and all the life experiences that are easy to miss out on when you don’t feel good enough. And we’re living proof that you don’t have to reach a goal weight to be happy.
The Anti Diet Riot Club is blooming – what are your career highlights to date?
Becky – It’s been such a wild rollercoaster! From the sold-out launch event to our recent Anti Diet Riot Fest which had over 250 attendees and 9 hours of body and sex-positive content, we’ve hosted some really great events we’re proud of. Our little club being picked up by BBC News, The Guardian, The Times and Grazia has definitely been a highlight as I founded it not thinking people would be so interested in it! Taking our workshops to Meadows In The Mountains in Bulgaria, as well as festivals like Boomtown, Wilderness and Shambala have also been an amazing feat for us personally as we love festivals and their atmosphere. On a more specific level, the feedback we’ve received from attendees, the stories of freedom from diet obsession that people have told us and having women with double mastectomies come to our boob printing workshops and take so much from them as made EVERYTHING so worthwhile.
Diet culture is a form of oppression that holds us all back – fatphobia is real and something we all need to actively work to change.
Capitalism is profiting off our insecurities when flaws simply don’t exist. Health isn’t a moral obligation and whatever your body looks like, healthy or unhealthy, you’re worthy of love and respect. Oh, and diet’s don’t work so please save your physical and mental health and stop going on them.
What does self-love mean to you?
Harri – Self-love to me means putting yourself first and learning how to fill up your own cup, which actually means saying no when you have to. It’s having healthy relationships and a generous self-pleasure practice!
What are your non-negotiables in your daily self-care routine?
Becky – being compassionate with myself, because self-care looks different every day. With a bone condition called Fibrous Dysplasia, I’ve learned to listen to my body’s limits and honour when it needs food, rest, movement as much as I can.
Harri – Mindfulness and meditation changed my relationship with my mental health. But in terms of more traditional ‘self-care routines’, I have to think about my obsession with face care. lol. Since I was 15 I’ve been *obsessed* with a face cleansing routine. Even at university, I was never too messy to wash my face. Now, at night, I double wash my face, use Pixie Glow Tonic and then use a facial oil. I used to spend a lot of money on serums but since The Ordinary came about, they’re my go-to. Although I’m trying to use more natural and eco-friendly products. In the day, I never go out without an SPF in my moisturiser.
What do you do to show yourself a little TLC?
Becky – I love long baths, deep conditioning my curly hair, curling up with a book or Netflix series and some chocolate, being outside and looking at the sky, and getting a massage!
Harri – eating out always feels like a treat. I love food, it’s one of life’s great pleasures – if someone else is cooking for me then I’m happy!
How can we all be kind to ourselves?
Harri – one thing we all need to do is talk more kindly to ourselves! Catching the words we’re using and showing ourselves some self-compassion is game-changing. I recommend to everyone to look up the work of Kristin Neff on self-compassion. It involves learning to be mindful of how we’re speaking to ourselves and using kinder words in our self-talk. And also realising that being human is hard and everyone suffers If we can remember this ‘shared-humanity’ then it’s easier to give ourselves a break!
Who or what inspires you daily? These can be social media accounts, individuals etc.
Harri – I don’t know about daily inspiration, but the work of Brene Brown is a big inspiration. As is the trauma and addiction work on Gabor Mate. Esther Perel for relationships. Sara Pascoe for the conversations she’s creating around sex, money and power. I love the On Being podcast with Krista Tippet and Under The Skin with Russel Brand. Rachel Cargle for her amazing work educating people about white privilege. There are so many amazing people doing amazing things in the world.
Becky “Every woman, non-binary or femme I see trying to honour their body and ignore all the expectations and rules society places on them inspire me.”
What accounts should we be following to lift us up in the negative space of social media?
Harri – As well as the above. There’s an account which just posts a photo of a smiling alpaca every day, brightens up my day every time!
Be kind – to yourself and others.
Anti Diet Riot Club is a radical community and platform dismantling 'diet culture', body shame and fat phobia whilst also educating people on how to accept and look after their bodies regardless of size or weight. Preaching that diets do not work (with approx 90% of dieters regaining the weight back plus more), ADRC aims to help people stop wasting their time, energy on money on an industry that doesn't care about them and stigmatises fat people in the process. As well as creating informative and inspirational content, ADRC host workshops and meet ups that are an antidote to the millions of slimming clubs happening around the world. Their events are a safe space for everyone who is exhausted with the endless pursuit of the 'ideal body' and want to be around other like minded, rebellious people.