Nutrition Advice

The Non-Diet Approach

If you have just stumbled across the non-diet approach you might be wondering what this strange concept is?

If dieting is off the table, what is left?

If you have had a long relationship with diets, what you are about to read may be any of the following:

  1. Very new to you
  2. May go against everything you have ever known about weight and health
  3. Could challenge (long held) views
  4. May bring sweet relief to your ears that you won’t have to worry about dieting again.

Hopefully this post will help shine light on the perils of a weight focused society, and a diet culture so perverse that for so many of us it becomes the norm.

This post will attempt to explain what the non-diet paradigm means, and why I take this approach in my nutrition practice.

Pink donut with rainbow sprinkles on a bright blue background

What is the non-diet approach?

The non-diet paradigm refers to a compassionate approach to weight concern, that incorporates five principles:

  1. Accepting and embracing body cues
  2. Accepting and embracing all foods
  3. Accepting and embracing body shape
  4. Accepting and embracing movement
  5. Accepting and embracing non-diet nutrition

The non-diet approach focuses on health, rather than weight, because weight is actually not a modifiable risk factor, despite what many health professionals may tell you.

Research tells us that by modifying some lifestyle behaviours, health markers can improve, even if the number on the scales does not change. An example of this might be increasing intake of beans, chick peas and lentils which may improve fasting blood sugar levels or lower cholesterol (Bacon et al, 2005).

The non-diet approach is not against weight loss, it rejects the pursuit of weight loss because research shows that not only is dieting not sustainable long term, it actually often results in excess weight gain (NEDC, 2018).

Another very important reason that I support and practice the non-diet approach is that dieting is one of the most common forms of disordered eating, which is a precursor for an eating disorder. I want to improve my client’s relationship with food, not damage it.

Dieting is the number one cause of the onset of an eating disorder (National Eating Disorders Collaboration, 2018).

If you, or someone you know may be stuck in an unhealthy dieting cycle, help is available. The following resources are available for further information and support.

National Eating Disorders Collaboration

Eating Disorders Association

Health At Every Size


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