9.3-The Non-Diet Approach to Weight Management

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the philosophy of the non-diet approach to weight management.

Are you a competent eater?

  1. Do you feel good about food and about eating—and feel good about feeling good?
  2. Do you eat a variety of food and enjoy learning to eat new foods?
  3. Do you trust yourself to eat enough for you?
  4. Do you take time to eat? To have regular meals (and snacks) and pay attention while you eat?

 

What is a competent eater?

At the heart of a good relationship with food is the principle of eating competence.1  Eating Competence is being positive, comfortable, and flexible with eating as well as matter-of-fact and reliable about getting enough to eat of enjoyable and nourishing food.  © Copyright 2019 by Ellyn Satter published at EllynSatterInstitute.org.

The non-diet approach is a movement to uncouple dieting from health and help people become competent eaters. The approach focuses on attunement to the body, including listening to hunger and satiety cues (intuitive eating and mindful eating), learning to love and accept the body we were born with, and seeking movement and play for joy rather than to change body size.

Mensinger, JL et al demonstrated in a randomized control trial of eighty women that, “significant positive changes were observed at 24-month follow-up for waist-to-hip ratio, total cholesterol, physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, self-esteem, and quality of life. …numerous health benefits, even in the absence of weight loss, are achievable and sustainable in the long term using a weight-neutral approach.” 1

1Mensinger J, Calogero R, Stranges S, Tylka T. A weight-neutral versus weight-loss approach for health promotion in women with high BMI: A randomized-controlled trial. Appetite. 2016;105:364–374. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.06.006. Accessed June 30, 2019.

Practitioners of this approach point to the low rates of weight maintenance following weight-loss interventions and the fallout from repeated dieting in terms of lower self-esteem, decreased energy, and potential weight gain beyond starting weight. Whether you are trying to maintain your weight or think you would like to lose weight, following the principles in the video will help you to be a more competent and confident eater.

 

Video: 9.3.1 – Dawn Clifford discussing the Non-Diet Approach:

This video includes a brief summary of why diets don’t work along with an overview of a non-diet approach and 10 self-care strategies to get started.

 

Author: Dawn Clifford’s MI Tips
Published on Jan 7, 2019

 

 

Key Takeaways

  • The non-diet approach is a movement to uncouple dieting from health and help people become competent eaters.
  • The approach focuses on attunement to the body, including listening to hunger and satiety cues (intuitive eating and mindful eating), learning to love and accept the body we were born with, and seeking movement and play for joy rather than to change body size.