Meet the Creatives: Becky Young & Harri Rose
"A rebellious-spirited community dedicated to dismantling diet culture and all the dangerous body and beauty ideals it propagates."
Anti Diet Riot Club - a community founded by Becky Young, is fighting back against a diet culture. Creating safe spaces for people who are plighted by feelings of low self-confidence, stuck in diet-cycle ruts and are just generally wanting to put the middle finger up to diets. Spreading the message of body acceptance, radical self-love and fatpositivity, they host meetups across the UK, with an aim to connect people through intimate discussions, yoga classes, panel debates and boob painting workshops (the latter of which will be taking place at Float), to explore and educate people about the effect that dieting has on our mental and physical wellbeing and how to let go of the obsession with thinness and learning to embrace your body.
By fighting back against toxic diet culture and the dangerous body ideals and standards of beauty that surround it, Becky and the team are empowering people to love themselves, through compassion, understanding and acceptance so that they can be physically and mentally well. Working with Harri Rose, the highly respected Body Acceptance Coach, who teaches people that a diet is not the antidote to better self-esteem and mental wellbeing, they will both be attending Float, sitting on our ‘Foodies: Eat to your Heart’s Content’ panel, as well as hosting our boob printing workshop. These ladies are doing fantastic things to promote better ways of measuring our worth and happiness away from the scales. We caught up with the pair to hear their take on the wellness industry and what this means in the context of our dieting culture, how they are spreading their message, and what makes them feel happy and well.
What is your company, what do you do and what makes it special?
Harri: I’m a certified health coach but I specialise in Unapologetic Body Acceptance, as for too long - women in particular - have been apologising for their bodies and it’s time to stop. I help people go from cycles of self-destructive eating and negative thoughts about their bodies, to becoming balanced, present and at peace with themselves, all without losing a single pound, or their social lives!
Becky: I'm the founder of Anti Diet Riot Club, a social enterprise and community that is focused on fighting back against diet culture. We host events, meet-ups, and workshops that give a platform to campaigners and professionals that work around the ideals of body acceptance, Health At Every Size, and anti-diet practices. I think as a community we're special because we provide an antidote to the abundance of diet-obsessed spaces in society by creating safe SHAME-FREE spaces where people can come together IRL to exchange ideas and help each other heal their relationships with their bodies.
What made you be a part of Float?
Harri: I’m so excited to be in Manchester! A lot of the wellness industry is quite London-centric so it’s really wonderful to be in the north. I also love your ethos about what wellness is, it’s not perfection at all, it’s about trial and error to finding what works for you exactly as you say. We’re so chuffed to be here.
Can you sum up the Anti Diet Riot Club in one sentence?
Becky: A rebellious-spirited community dedicated to dismantling diet culture and all the dangerous body and beauty ideals it propagates.
What is your ethos, mission statement?
Becky: Anti Diet Riot Club is of course all about inspiring and educating people on how to love and enjoy their bodies, without wasting their time/energy on fad diets and self-hatred. But we are also on a mission to try and show how diet culture, which encourages us to continue these behaviours, is inherently tied up with fat-phobia and without tackling our fear of fat as a society and as individuals it will be hard to break out of the cycles of dieting and self-loathing so many of us are trapped in. We believe we need more representation of fat and marginalised bodies in the media in order to encourage people with those bodies to love themselves unconditionally, which is a necessary foundation for a healthy and happy life.
What comes to mind when you hear the word wellness?
Harri: Because I'm a trained health coach, wellness to me has to be holistic - it's looking after in mind, body and soul. The means of feeling well (or as well as you can for some people who have chronic illness for example) will look different for everyone. There's a bit of a misconception that wellness is about being thin but I try to show people that it's not about the size of your body but the habits you build each day.
How does your work encompass wellbeing?
Harri: When I work with my clients we look at their life in 360 and work out small, sustainable and incremental goals to move them from where they now to where they want to go. As a body acceptance coach, I specialise in helping women get off diets through learning to make peace with food and we work on healing their relationship with their body to move through to body acceptance and eventually self-love. I also help them work on their relationships and other areas of their lives they might want to improve such as exploring their creativity or finding a type of exercise that feels like fun instead of punishment.
What is the best part of running the Anti Diet Riot Club?
Becky: Meeting so many incredibly inspiring and intelligent people who are eager to come together and share their experiences and ideas! It's humbling that people choose to attend my events and open up about their struggles in a really raw and vulnerable way. It's just brought some amazing people into my life.
How do you use your events and social media to share your message?
Becky: Well all my events either give a platform for campaigners and professionals to share their expertise or allow attendees the space to engage with their bodies in creative and engaging ways. So we have hosted speaker events with Megan Crabbe (@bodyposipanda), Intuitive Eating Workshops with Laura Thomas, body positive life drawing classes, and beginners yoga workshops for people who have may find conventional yoga & wellness spaces too intimidating. Social media (especially Instagram) is integral in us sharing news about our events and our overall ethos; we often share body positive illustrations and graphics and put together photoshoots that showcase different and diverse body types.
What makes you feel confident and positive?
Harri: Good question! I feel confident when I surround myself with amazing like minded women who inspire me to push my own boundaries and throw off old insecurities that might be holding me back. I'm lucky to have a great community now mainly found via social media, like the wonderful Becky! I'm a very positive person anyway but meeting new people, seeing my clients thrive and trying new things or seeing new places, all help me to see the best in the world.
Do you think brands, influencers and corporations need to do more to tackle the side effects of social media consumption?
Harri: For sure, there's a responsibility for brands and influences to be aware of the impact that their content can have. Take someone like Kim Kardashian for example, she may be incredibly successful but in my opinion, selling appetite suppressing lollipops is incredibly irresponsible. Young people, we know, are very susceptible to feeling inadequate when looking at glossy, photoshopped images of celebrities and even very ripped fitspo accounts. We're seeing a rise in facial fillers because everyone wants their face to look like a Snapchat filter all the time. Influencers need to be talking about the fact that an Instagram account is someone's highlight reel - not their real life. I'm very aware not to post full length photos of myself in my own work or talk about what I eat each day because I'm aware that these things might be triggering and not helpful in someone else's journey.
Where can we find you at the weekend?
Harri: During the summer, at a festival. But the rest of the year, I'd like to say in a gallery or out dancing but honestly, I'm usually so busy in the week seeing friends and meeting clients that at weekends often I'm a real home-body. I love going out for brunch though, good coffee and eggs make me happy on the weekend.
Becky: Like Harri, I'm usually dressed up in a field somewhere during the summer months (we did 7 festivals this season!). Other than that, I'm usually quite a night owl and love discovering new bars, restaurants, or late-night haunts around London with my network of weird and creative pals. I feel blessed to live in a city where there's some exciting, immersive theatre show or exhibition on every weekend!
What are you reading/listening/watching right now?
Becky: The body acceptance/self-love community has SO many amazing writers in it - I just finished Virgie Tovar's You Have The Right To Remain Fat and have started What A Time To Be Alone by Chiddera Eggerue. For some reason I like to read several books at once, so am also half way through Murakami's Men Without Women. On the box I'm currently addicted to TV crime dramas like Unforgotten (all hail Nicola Walker!) and the Mexican telenovela Casa De Las Flores.
Harri: I'm all over the podcasts at the moment, my favourites are On Being. Krista Tippett is wonderful at having these beautiful, deep conversations. I also love The Guilty Feminist, The Good Life Project and How they built this by NPR. I'm such a bookworm, I love reading. At the moment I'm reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach and I just finished Am I Ugly? by Michelle Elman. I'm also onto the second book of the Northern Lights which I've never read before and really enjoying. I just finished the new Orange is the new black and now I'm onto second season of Glow. How did we ever manager without podcasts and Netflix?!
What is happy to you?
Harri: Hmm, off the top of my head. happiness to me is sunshine, the smell of suncream, dancing, my Mum’s perfume, my best friends, my family, chocolate, cosy jumpers, open fires, laughter, music, being in love, the list goes on! I don’t believe happiness is about being happy every day, I think it's being aware enough to notice all the good things that you have in your life and being grateful for them.
Becky: Happy is a journey, happy is a non-linear process, happy is knowing that the unhappy times aren't going to last forever. If that journey can be peppered with as much sweaty dancing, family meals, cuddle puddles, sunsets, swimming in the sea and great music as possible...then that sounds happy to me!
You can grab your tickets for Float Festival here.