Quit dieting with the Non-Diet Approach & Intuitive Eating
Heal your relationship with food and rediscover the pleasure of eating!
We all know diets don’t work, why? One reason is because diets focus on weight loss, mainly through calorie restriction, and we now know that the human body is programmed to fight against calorie restriction. This does not mean you can’t achieve a healthier body, it just means dieting or restricting calories is not the way to go. There is no one solution (silver bullet) to improving your health or feeling good about your body. Most diets, or current popular food trends, focus on a one size fits all model; “Do this and you’ll obtain the body you want”. But you are unique and your body shape and size is different to others, therefore what may work for others, may not be suitable for you. The other key fact to remember, is that while a particular diet might appear to “work” in that people lose weight, nearly everyone of these people will regain the weight within 5 years. This is a well documented fact (research).
People have been dieting in the masses for well over 60 years, yet less than 5% of dieters have managed to keep the weight off long-term and most are now heavier and unhappier. If you are an experienced dieter, this will most likely resonate with you.
When it come to being healthy and contented in our bodies, experience and research has shown us the importance of taking the focus off weight loss, placing less emphasis on appearance and instead, learning how to be less judgemental of our body. With the author’s permission, I have the copied the below paragraph from her wonderful book, Bodies. Bodies is written by Susie Orbach, a British psychotherapist, psychoanalyst and acclaimed writer.
“A good 2,000 to 5,000 times a week, we receive images of bodies enhanced by digital manipulation. These images convey an idea of a body which does not exist in the real world. The photo shoots which produce the raw pictures of the models are carefully lit to exaggerate features prized today and then further perfected by being Photoshopped, airbrushed and stretched.”
If you are fed up with the dieting world or being unhappy with your body, a Non-Diet Approach can offer you relief from the preoccupation with food and your body. Our accredited practising dietitians – we are also accredited nutritionists – use the Non-Diet Approach to help you ditch the diet mentality and start to feel better about yourself without focusing on weight loss. We show you how to reconnect with your appetite, address any non-hungry or over-eating and how to find enjoyment in eating to not only nourish your body, but also for the simple pleasure of eating. Whilst the focus is taken off weight loss (and appearance), such an approach gives your body the chance to find its natural healthy weight. Our dietitians will help you get more out of life through a healthy enjoyment of all food, healing your relationship with food and your body, and teaching you the skills to do all of this within the context of your busy family, work and social life.
Our philosophy is simple…
A positive attitude to food is more important than always striving to make the “right” food choice
Reconnect with your signals of hunger and fullness
Establish and nurture a healthy relationship with food, eating and your body
Reconnect with food, practice eating mindfully and you can enjoy all food
Encourage a variety of fresh whole foods, especially plant based foods
What is a healthy relationship with food?
A healthy relationship with food is one where you don’t constantly worry about what you should or shouldn’t be eating, there is no guilt attached to eating and you allow yourself to eat food that you truly enjoy.
What is a healthy relationship with your body?
Having a healthy relationship with your body means you appreciated and respect your body for all the amazing things it is capable of doing, rather than just being concerned with how it looks. You may have parts of your body that you’re not happy with, which in today’s world is very normal, but you don’t let this over-ride all the other positive aspects of you as a person and what your body can do.
The Non-Diet Approach & Intuitive Eating
The Non-Diet Approach is a proven method that teaches you how to eat mindfully and intuitively again. Intuitive eating means you trust your body with when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat as explained in detail below. A key aim of the non-diet approach is get you out of the diet and weight loss cycle and make peace with food and your body.
When to eat: This means trusting your appetite to guide you when it’s time to eat. It’s not unusual to eat because it’s a mealtime, because others are eating or just in case you may become hungry, rather than because you are actually hungry. If you have spent many years dieting and eating according to a set plan or number of calories, you may have lost touch with your hunger signals and our dietitians can help you reconnect with these.
What to eat: This means trusting and understanding your hunger to choose food that you really feel like eating and that you know will truly satisfy you. Often it’s only once you allow yourself to eat freely, that you find yourself choosing nourishing food most of the time. If you have dieted for many years, you may have lost touch with what food you truly enjoy and our dietitians will help you rediscover the joy of eating.
How much to eat: Rather than weighing your food, or eating the amount someone else has dictated, you will learn to trust your hunger and fullness signals to know what is the right amount for you at any given moment. Our dietitians will guide you through a series of exercises to help you understand how much you need to eat to meet your energy needs and maintain a weight that’s healthy for your body.
Whether you are looking to completely overhaul your diet or just fine tune your eating for better health, the Non-Diet Approach offers a unique way to do this without having to restrict certain food or follow a strict regime. The Non-Diet Approach is suitable if you need assistance with any of the following:
- Yoyo dieting
- Feeling unhappy with your body
- Non-hungry eating
- Emotional or binge eating
- Increased energy levels
- General health & fitness
- High cholesterol, blood sugar or impaired glucose tolerance
- Any diet related medical condition
You are not asked to follow a meal plan, weigh food portions or keep a food diary. If you have tried doing all these things before without long-term success, or if you struggle to follow plans or keep food diaries, then the Non-Diet Approach may just be what you’re looking for.
If you are confused about what food is truly nourishing and what constitutes moderation, you will learn this through the process of learning to eating intuitively. Our dietitians will happily provide recipes and meal ideas to guide you initially if you feel you need them.
Mindful eating exercise
The Non-Diet Approach involves a mindful eating exercise where your homework is to eat and enjoy your favourite food! The catch is you need to ensure you do this mindfully, instructions provided.
You will also receive on-going follow-up to ensure long term success and to help address any psychological issues you come up against. We are also happy to answer any questions or concerns via email between appointments.
The first few sessions are usually done weekly, then become fortnightly to monthly then bi-monthly, depending on your progress and individual needs.
Some other aims of the Non-Diet Approach:
- Improve your relationship with food
- Improve your relationship with your body
- Reduce or resolve non-hungry eating or binge eating
- Enjoy all food without feeling guilty
- Enjoy eating out without anxiety over what to eat
- Move from a place of body discomfort to body comfort
- Learn to love the skin you’re in
Here are some of the differences between the traditional diet approach, or diet mentality, and the non-diet approach. Table adapted from “Eat what you love, love what you eat” by Michelle May MD.
|Diet Mentality||Non-Diet Approach|
|External rules||Internal cues|
|In Control||In Charge|
Could the Mediterranean style of eating work for you?
At figureate, we understand that there are many different ways of eating well. We particularly like the Mediterranean style of eating as it includes many delicious foods, is flexible, easy to manage and has an abundance of proven health benefits.
Follow this link for more info figureate.com.au/blog
Here are a few reasons we love this way of eating:
1. You get to use lots of extra virgin olive oil – this helps makes vegetable and legume dishes much tastier and you’ll find it easier to eat more veggies and legumes!
2. Full fat Greek yoghurt – we speak to many people who feel guilty about enjoying full fat yogurt; with this way of eating, feel guilty no longer!
3. Feta/goats cheese daily – a little feta or goats cheese added to salads, wraps and vegetable dishes really adds a delicious flavour and yummy creamy texture. The Mediterranean style diet suggests using daily.
4. There is a HUGE emphasis on vegetables, the one food group we constantly harp on about and the one food group EVERYBODY agrees is healthy. The advantage with the Mediterranean style diet is being able to toss your veggies in lots of olive oil which makes them just delicious!
Do you struggle with sugar cravings?
Most people find their sugar cravings either stop or are much more manageable once they start eating more intuitively and enjoy a variety of food. Why? Often sugar cravings occur because you don’t eat enough food, or you restrict certain foods such as carbohydrate rich food. Once you discover that you can enjoy a small amount of sweet food without binging, this will also help to diminish your sugar cravings. The mindful eating exercise is part of this.
Know what you should be doing?
Addressing the psychology behind your eating.
If you feel you know what you need to be doing, but continually struggle to do it, it may be because you have set the bar too high. Only by changing the way you approach weight loss, can you really start manage to eating habits better. We use a combination of mindful eating techniques, health coaching techniques and counselling skills (see below). It is the use of these valuable consulting skills that have proven to be successful with many happy clients.
A word from us…
Healthy eating is generally not rocket science. You may already have a general idea of the foods you should be eating to improve your health or manage your weight. Therefore, the issue is often not what you are eating but why you choose to eat what you do and until this is addressed, you may find it difficult to make long-term dietary changes. It is also for this reason that diets don’t work. Diets tend to only deal with what are you eating rather than the reasons why.
This is where we can help you…
Dealing with the reasons why you eat the way you do, involves behaviour change and an understanding of where your behaviours stem from. It may be just a matter of learning to eat intuitively again or it may require exploring the psychology behind why you eat the way you do. To help you with this, we have been trained in Health Coaching techniques by Health Coaching Australia. Zoe has also had training in ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy).
Health coaching uses evidence-based psychological, counselling and coaching principles and techniques to assist people to achieve long-term behaviour change. Visit Health Change Australia at healthchange.com to find out more.
ACT is an evidence-based psychology approach which focuses on helping you deal with the sometimes unpleasant thoughts and feelings that are often a part of changing your habits and that can sabotage your efforts. ACT helps you identify your values – what is truly important and meaningful to you – and uses that knowledge to motivate you to make the necessary changes.
“To help you stop dieting, help you rediscover the pleasure in eating and to nurture
a healthy relationship with food and your body”