You know how people are always trying new diets to lose weight or change their body shape, but the diets end up being too restrictive or hard to follow long term, so they give up? And then they end up gaining back the weight they lost, plus more? This is the diet trap. A cycle of negative emotions and restrictive eating that leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. What the non diet approach does is teach you to abandon all the diet rules you’ve ever been exposed to and start to follow the cues your body is giving you about when you need to eat and when you need to stop. Once you master this skill:
- guilt around eating disappears
- obsessing about dieting stops
- you no longer overeat
- and your body starts to find its own natural, healthy size
So, let’s break it down further. How exactly is the non diet approach different from dieting?
Well, the typical dieting behaviours of weighing and measuring food, keeping food diaries, following meal plans, sticking to calorie limits, setting weight loss goals and labelling foods as “allowed” or “not allowed” are firmly discouraged.
Instead, the non diet approach embraces flexibility and intuition, welcomes all food, focuses more on quality than quantity, aims to increase your confidence and freedom around food choices with the ultimate outcomes being enjoyment and satisfaction when it comes to your relationship with food.
Flexible vs Inflexible
The non diet approach gives you the flexibility to eat the foods you want to eat when you want to eat them, instead of what the meal plan or “diet rules” tell you can have and when.
Welcomes all food vs Prescriptive
The non diet approach also recognises that foods don’t have a moral value. There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” food.
We all have our own food likes and dislikes, crazy flavour combinations that we love and others think we are weird for (peanut butter and capsicum, green apples and plain m&ms – yep, love ’em!). How can a single meal plan accommodate all the glorious foods available in the world in a way that satisfies everyone? It can’t.
Intuitive vs Rigid
This is one of the biggest principles of the non diet approach. Did you know we were born with the innate ability to know when we need to eat and when we’ve had enough?
Think about a baby. They cry when they are hungry and they pull away when they’ve had enough.
Even when we are introducing solids, they will turn their head sharply to signal to us that they have had enough. Try as we might get them to take a bit more if we don’t think they’ve had enough, they will remain closed-mouthed and stiff-lipped. They are listening to their hunger and satiety cues to guide them as to when they need to eat and when they’ve had enough.
Somewhere along the way, we lose this ability. But the great news is, we can find it again with the right tools.
Qualitative vs Quantitative
Quite often people think that the non diet approach is just an excuse for eating a heap of “junk food”. It’s not.
The focus (well at least for me and my clients) is still on putting nourishing foods into your body, but the amounts we need will change from day to day, hour to hour.
By listening to the cues our body is giving us about how hungry we are and when we are feeling full, we can give our body exactly what it needs at each particular meal, not what the “diet” says it needs.
Freedom vs Fear-driven
Fear is a common emotion that comes up for people when they think about or hear about the non diet approach.
Fear that abandoning the rules and rigidity around their eating will result in food choices of poor nutritional quality or excessive energy intake that results in weight gain.
It is this fear that continues to give power to the diet culture phenomenon that dominates our western society.
But if we look at the evidence that 95% of diets don’t actually work for people in the long term and they actually lead to further weight gain, this fear is actually misdirected.
What the evidence does tell us is that the non diet approach actually results in weight stabilisation and even weight loss.
Pair this with freedom from feeling guilty, obsessed, anxious, or like a failure and you’ve got a win-win.
Satisfaction vs Hunger
Hunger is not a nice feeling. It’s not meant to be. It’s our bodies way of making us respond to its need for constant external energy provision. Its what is meant to stop us from starving to death.
Your body doesn’t know the difference between intentional dieting and starvation.
With the non diet approach, you learn to pay great attention to the subtle hunger cues your body is giving you, then act on them to a point where your body is satisfied.
The idea is to spend more time in the zone of being satisfied than feeling hungry and starved. I don’t know about you, but I’m at my best when I’m feeling satisfied. And life is too short to be hungry all the time. xx
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Want more guidance and support to identify, trust, and act on hunger and fullness cues so you can lose weight without following a restrictive diet?
I can give you that. Find out more about my private weight loss coaching where you get to work with me for 6 months and receive the tools and support to help you regain your confidence, energy and self-worth. With my simple and easy to implement solution, that doesn’t involve counting calories or giving up your favourite foods, you’ll lose weight so you can wear the clothes you want and be a good role model for your children.