While there is definitely a place for therapeutic nutrition (also called medical nutrition therapy), there is an alternative to how that advice is offered… which is what intuitive eating is, a non-diet approach to nutrition.
Where does the “non-diet” (or “anti-diet”) come into play?
Our culture is bombarded with messages, albeit mixed messages, telling us what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. It sends messages geared towards telling us how to look, how we should feel about our bodies if we’re not the societal norm or ideal, and how we should feel about the things we eat. How many times a day do you read or hear the word “guilt” associated with food?!? Drives me nuts… unless you stole the food, you’re not committing a crime!
The messages are fear based and flooded with inaccurate information creating a toxic system of beliefs. Some of these cultural beliefs include: thinness equating to health and one’s value; weight loss as a means to attain higher status, even though research is very clear that almost no one (<5%) can sustain intentional weight loss for more than a few years; certain foods demonized while others elevated on a pedestal; and oppression to those who don’t mirror the picture of “health” that we created. These messages might not be so obvious until you really start paying attention. Once noticed or lived as first hand experience, they become internalized, causing shame for many and even leading to external stigma and discrimatination towards others.
So non-diet/anti-diet is more than just someone who is opposed to diets (also disguised as “lifestyle” within the wellness industry), meal plans or weight loss. It’s someone who is against and has walked away from diet culture… the subtle messages blasted in our every life like the Covid-15 memes, jokes; remarks in movies, TVs shows and books; marketing tactics such as those geared towards beach, gym or postpartum bodies; a relative telling you not to eat a certain food because it’ll end up on your hips; and yes, even your doctor telling you that losing weight is the first step in lowering your blood pressure or decreasing the pain in your knee.
Angela Veri Babuschak, MA RDN LDN