It may sound like an oxy-moron to some but a non-diet approach to nutrition is a sustainable, long lasting way of eating that prioritizes mental and physical wellbeing, food freedom, satisfaction, and overall health. It challenges dieting mentality and recognizes that all foods can fit into a healthy eating pattern.
When the focus is taken off of cutting out or restricting food groups or overall food intake, you are better able to allow yourself to find a way of eating that feels good for you. This approach puts an emphasis on eating foods that are satisfying, eating enough throughout the day, allowing yourself to enjoy all the foods you love, and incorporating nutritious foods into your diet in a pleasurable way.
Incorporating a non-diet, intuitive eating, approach to food benefits both your physical and mental health. The addition of nutrient dense foods, reducing stress around eating, and eating consistently can have a major impact on your physical wellbeing. This way of eating has also been shown to be beneficial for reducing blood pressure and supporting a diverse microbiome (healthy bacteria in your body and gut!). The non-diet approach involves cultivating an understanding and connection with your body and its needs which, along with reduction of stress, can positively impact mental wellbeing.
It may be helpful to consider what this approach involves and how it differs from dieting:
What a non-diet approach involves:
- Challenging the voice in your head constantly telling you what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat.
- Eating enough food consistently throughout the day to meet your needs and prevent feelings of starvation or ravenous hunger.
- Allowing yourself to eat foods that you want and crave without guilt or shame.
- Building meals and snacks that are both nutritious and satisfying.
- Learning how to eat for your health without restriction or dieting.
- Challenging the belief that “healthy” has a specific appearance, body size or body shape.
- Cultivating connection with your body and its needs.
- Treating yourself with compassion and care.
What a non-diet approach does NOT involve:
- Counting calories, macros, or points or trying to meet a specific number.
- Restricting / cutting out foods or food groups.
- Rigid meal plans.
- Intentional weight loss.
Unlike dieting, the non-diet way of eating utilizes a gentle approach to nourish your body, care for yourself, and maximize pleasure and satisfaction.
Is there a difference between non-diet and anti-diet?
For the most part, there is not a huge difference between these two terms! Although they can be used interchangeably, our practice has chosen to use the verbiage of “non-diet” to describe the way we work with clients. We are not “anti” humans who choose to diet or pursue intentional weight loss as we completely respect and value every individual’s body autonomy, and understand that the decision to diet is complex and influenced by many factors. We ARE anti-diet culture and systems of oppression.
If you are looking for more support in your journey and want to experience a non-diet approach to nutrition check out our services page to learn more!
Written by Emily Adkisson, RDN