Whilst many people have moved away from saying that they're 'on a diet' in recent years due to negative connotations of the word, diets are still well and truly present in our society. They've become sneakier and are often rebranded as a 'lifestyle change', which makes them sound a lot less sinister.

Cutting out carbs? Diet.
Weight Watchers? Diet.
Avoiding sugar? Diet.
Intermittent fasting? Diet.
Keto? Diet.

Research shows that diets fail around 95% of the time- within 5 years, participants put the weight that they lost back on, or even more. Why do we keep doing something that has only a 5% success rate? There has to be another way. Luckily for us, there is.

The non-diet approach focuses on moving away from traditional weight-loss focused practices and is based on the Health at Every SizeĀ® (HAES) principles. HAES is a weight-inclusive approach to health, which helps people find sustainable methods to improve their wellbeing. It promotes eating for wellbeing, which encompasses hunger, satiety, nutritional needs and pleasure, and recognises that eating is individual and should be flexible. There are no restrictions on particular foods, calorie counts or food groups, and weight loss is not a focus.

This approach is supportive, flexible and kind to your body, as it breaks the diet paradigm of restriction and rules. It encourages rebuilding body trust by noticing and acting on your internal cues, rather than external cues like a meal plan or a particular time window.

The alternative to dieting is intuitive eating. It's not another diet or another lifestyle change, it simply involves listening to your body and giving it what it needs. This includes what it needs physically (energy, nutrients) and what it needs mentally (foods that you enjoy and actually want to eat).

When presented with the idea of intuitive eating and food freedom, many people are concerned that without the rules of a diet they will go wild and eat EVERYTHING that they weren't allowed to eat previously. It's as if they believe that the only two options are dieting and bingeing, which is not the case.

Freeing yourself of the restrictive mindset does not mean that you're only ever going to eat chocolate again, because you won't WANT to only ever eat chocolate again. Once you realise that there are no good and bad foods, the draw of those foods that you haven't allowed yourself to eat with freedom will subside. You'll learn that you actually WANT to eat a wider variety of foods, including fruit and vegetables.

Following the non-diet approach and breaking free of the diet cycle can improve your quality of life dramatically. Amongst other things, you may notice that:
  • Your self-esteem improves. Once you accept that we all have different body shapes and sizes, and that there is no 'best' body type, it's easier to let go of the negative feelings that we harbour towards the body we're living in.
  • You have more mental energy. Focusing on counting calories, trying to control cravings and planning our meals based on strict guidelines is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort to sustain. Letting go of the need to control your food will leave you feeling free, with plenty more time to think about the things that are actually important in life.
  • You don't actually LIKE some of your 'treat' foods. As previously discussed, once you have no rules around food and are free of the restrictive mindset you may actually discover that your tastes are different to what you've always thought. As someone who discovered that the cookies they were OBSESSED with and used as a 'treat' food were actually not that great, I can personally attest to this.
  • Your mental health improves. Constantly battling your body and feeling as though you're 'failing' on your diet when you can't stick to it is hard, and it takes a toll on your mental health. Redirecting your energy into things that bring you happiness will make you feel much more joy.
  • Your weight is more stable. Weight loss dieting often leads to 'yo-yoing' in our weight, as we follow a strict diet, 'fail' (aka. go back to living a normal life), and put the weight back on before starting the cycle all over again. Weight cycling is harmful to our health, and the non-diet approach helps to maintain a weight that is most healthy for your individual body.
It can be difficult to break free of the diet culture mentality and release the rules and restrictions that you've followed for so long, which is why it can be great to have support. As an online Body Image & Food Freedom Coach, I can provide support, accountability and guidance to put this into practice and help you eat intuitively.

If you'd like to find out more about how we can work together, book a free mini coaching session.

'Health at Every Size' and 'HAES' are registered Trademarks of the Association of Size Diversity and Health and used with permission

I'm an online Body Image & Food Freedom Coach and I'm here to burn diet culture to the ground.

I'll transform your life through food and body freedom, so that your days are full of fun and pleasure.

You can love your body, feel confident, create sustainable healthy habits and become your best self without diets and their BS!