The non-diet approach 2017-10-28T21:24:26+00:00

The Non-Diet Approach

The non-diet approach is an evidenced based treatment method that helps people make peace with their food choices and body image.

The Non-Diet Approach (NDA) sits within the Health At Every Size ® Paradigm and builds on the notion of that the body knows how best to take care of its self with respect to food (caloric needs, food variety, nutrients)  and weight (set point) via internal cues and signals. These internal cues are very prominent in childhood but are often lost as we transition to adulthood where the influence of the weight loss and wellness industries become greater. The NDA is a gentle, holistic way for people to focuses on skill building to get back in touch with their bodies and internal cues. It is a weight neutral approach which means skills are practiced for the sake of good nutrition and good health and not for weight control.

Why the non-diet approach?

  • It helps people eat from a wider variety of foods which tends to improve diet quality

  • It helps people find enjoyable and meaningful exercise which they tend to do more often and stick to for longer

  • It helps people feel better about their body shape and size

  • It helps to decrease weight cycling which tends to improve health and health markers

  • It helps people feel better about themselves which means they want to take better care of themselves

  • It helps to decrease risk of chronic disease and helps manage established chronic diseases

Non-Diet Approach

Weight Loss Dieting

Flexible, accepting, enjoyable

life-balance, confidence, freedom

Welcomes all foods

Nourishing, forgiving, supportive

Satisfying, variety, forgiveness

Inflexible, prescriptive, rigid

Rules, deprivation, perfection-seeking

good/bad foods

Guilt-inducing, shaming, body hatred

Hunger, struggle, temptation, punishing

Evidence for the use of the Non-Diet Approach

We now know without a doubt that putting people on diets is harmful and ineffective.

  • Deliberate attempts to lose weight most predictably result in weight gain

  • There is strong clinical evidence that weight loss will peak  6-12 months after a diet is started and that most, if not all, weight is regained in 2 years at that most people return to their pre-diet weight within 5 years.

  • Health markers such as blood pressure, blood glucose and lipid profiles also return to pre-diet levels within the same time frame.

  • Dieting in an attempt to lose weight is also the single biggest predictor of Eating Disorder development and relapse.

In addition to being ineffective, dieting has been shown to:

  • Reduce self-esteem

  • Increase levels of anxiety and depression

  • Increase weight-cycling

  • Distracts from the wider (and non-controllable) determinants of health

  • Contribute to weight stigma and discrimination in the wider community

The Non-Diet Approach offers an alternative

In contrast, the Non-Diet Approach has been shown to:

  •  Improve total cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol independent of weight

  • Lower blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) independent of weight

  • Reduce incidence of binge eating independent of weight

  • Improve diet quality and activity levels independent of weight