Fed up of body shaming friends? Join new London club

The Anti Diet Riot Club hopes to create "a supportive space for people to explore (and critique if need be) all the topics surrounding body acceptance" via a variety of events.
The Anti Diet Riot Club hopes to create "a supportive space for people to explore (and critique if need be) all the topics surrounding body acceptance" via a variety of events. PHOTO: NYTIMES

LONDON (Guardian) - As anyone who has ever been to a Slimming World or Weight Watchers meeting will know, sharing your struggles and triumphs with a supportive group can be cathartic.

But often conversations about weight come with a side order of food-shaming and guilt - is it possible to take a more positive approach?

That is the concept behind London's new Anti Diet Riot Club , which was recently launched in Shoreditch, east London.

From the packed venue, mostly filled with women in their 20s and 30s, it appears that the idea of taking body positivity from the Internet to in-the-flesh meetings - with numerous midriffs proudly on display - has been a long time coming.

Founder Becky Young, 28, has struggled with body image and disordered eating since her teens and grew up worrying about everything from "not looking like characters on Sabrina The Teenage Witch" to not being able to exercise because of a bone disease.

Since discovering the online "BoPo" (body positivity) community, she has tried to promote the idea that you can be happy whatever your size or weight, and now hopes to spread this message "in a human-to-human way, rather than as keyboard warriors".

"We're surrounded by diet talk in our homes and workplaces," she said.

"This is a small antidote to that."

The club hopes to create "a supportive space for people to explore (and critique if need be) all the topics surrounding body acceptance" via a variety of events.

At the inaugural meetup, author and campaigner Megan Jayne Crabbe delivered a diet-industry-bashing talk, before opening the floor to admissions of hidden eating disorders, struggles with body-shaming friends and a rousing enthusiasm for new ways to share the BoPo message.

One woman confesses that she spends lots of time looking for #fitspo ("fitness inspiration") on Instagram and wants to stop.