Is a non-diet dietitian right for you?
I wish I could lead with a joke about taking the “diet” out of “dietitian”, but I’m not clever enough to put that together. It does sound counterintuitive – a dietitian that works outside of the “dieting” world. This is the opposite of what most people assume I do.
Non-diet (or anti-diet if you want to be more badass about it), describes an approach that centers the individual care of clients, without focusing on weight or weight loss. This approach operates without the food rules, restrictive dieting, and assessments based on body size.
There is a reason for this.
Dieting doesn’t work and causes harm
Something that we’ve known as a profession for a long time is that intentional weight loss may be initially attainable, but long-term maintenance is virtually impossible. Intentional weight loss, or dieting, is a predictor of weight gain, increased risk of eating disorders, and preoccupation with food. Repeatedly losing and gaining weight outside of our natural, or set-point, weight range, also increases negative health outcomes.
Diet culture, the belief system of our society that weight equates to health and vilifies certain types of food, is everywhere. It’s hard to escape its influence and, without exaggeration, it affects us all. It shows up in “wellness programs” promising to be “lifestyle changes”, our disappointment when our jeans feel tight, limiting a certain food “for health”, diligently tracking our calories on our phone, exercising to “earn” dessert, the list goes on. Even if you aren’t following a specific diet, the influences of diet culture and unconscious dieting behaviors are interwoven into our lives.
The non-diet alternative
If the conventional, weight-centric care isn’t working for you, there is an alternative. WIth the non-diet approach to nutrition, the focus is on flexible, satisfying eating that fits your preferences, culture, and life. Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size (ASDAH) are popular applications of the non-diet approach.
Think about what you could achieve without the distraction and guilt of diet culture. What if you could just focus on what was important to YOU? – Things like nourishing your body during pregnancy, feeding your family with less stress, navigating a day of eating with a chronic condition, stopping the restrict-binge cycle, or feeling relaxed about food.
Let’s focus on what YOU care about. And while we’re at it, let’s think about food LESS and enjoy it MORE.