The Non-Diet Approach
The Non-Diet Approach
Lara Nowland, Nurture from Within
WHAT IS IT?
The Non-Diet Approach is a way of counselling and coaching individuals or groups to help them develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.
WHY IS IT BECOMING POPULAR?
In today’s society there is such a focus on weight and diets, which is proving to be unhealthy for both body and mind. The problem is that most people who successfully lose weight while dieting are unable to maintain it in the long term. It is a well documented fact that many regain the weight they lose (and sometimes even more) within 5 years. So diets are rarely sustainable, and can actually do more harm than good. Weight cycling, body dissatisfaction and food guilt are just a few examples of not so nice consequences of dieting, and no-one should have to experience these things.
With the Non-Diet Approach the focus is on health and wellness, not weight. Essentially, it’s about eating and moving to feel good and look after yourself, rather than to lose weight. It involves learning how to eat intuitively, which enables one to be aware of and respond to internal eating cues (hunger, fullness, the pleasure of food and experience of eating). This allows individuals to build skills and confidence in their own innate ability to select appropriate foods for their body and in appropriate amounts.
It’s a gentler and nurturing approach that embraces flexibility, so it discourages typical dieting behaviours such as keeping detailed food diaries, rigid planning and timing of meals, regular weighing, specific energy intakes or weight loss goals and the use of ‘diet’ or low calorie foods. There is also no such thing as 'good' and 'bad' foods - all foods are considered equal so it’s about finding a balance that’s enjoyable and healthy.
More and more practitioners are using this approach, as it’s proving to help clients become more in tune with their bodies and to learn how to eat in a way that is healthy, sustainable and enjoyable for them. Using this approach to weight management is an emerging field of study, and results have so far been very promising, particularly in the areas of quality of life, improved biochemical markers, improved psychological outcomes and reduction of weight cycling.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS APPROACH
For a while, like many dietitians and other health professionals, I had been using elements of this approach. However, after recently attending a workshop run by two highly experienced Non-Diet Approach dietitians, Fiona Willer and Fiona Sutherland, I am now embracing it fully. For individuals with weight concerns, I find this approach to be very effective. Many still do request structured eating guidelines or meal plans because they feel more comfortable with having something to follow and refer to. So, if requested I provide individually tailored eating guidelines as a starting point, but I develop them in a way that allows flexibility. After a few sessions I am actually finding that clients are keen to fully shift to the Non-Diet Approach as they understand and see the benefits.
Being able to eat intuitively, understand what your body needs and experience the joy of good wholesome food and cooking enables us to live healthier lives. With this approach I am finding that clients are happier, become more at ease with their bodies, are developing a more positive relationship with food and are generally feeling better. They are also enjoying being active, no longer is it a chore! It’s empowering and inspiring!
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE NON-DIET APPROACH?
If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact me.
I also recommend visiting the Non-Diet Approach website by Fiona Willer. She is a highly experienced dietitian, who has practiced this approach for many years and has written a fantastic guidebook , in addition to being involved in extensive research in the area: http://www.healthnotdiets.com/default.html.
Lara is an Accredited Dietitian and Nutritionist and employs a holistic and ‘Non-Diet Approach’ to nutrition and wellness in her practice – helping you to eat intuitively and integrate healthy wholesome eating into your lifestyle such that it becomes second nature, optimises your health and wellbeing, is enjoyable, and in line with your health goals. Her practice Nurture From Within is part of the Nourish Melbourne Community, and she offers Nourish Melbourne Members 20% off their initial consult and 10% off all further visits. Click here to find out more about our partnership with Nurture From Within and here for more info about becoming a Nourish Melbourne Member.