Folks frequently ask me: “what does ‘anti-diet’ mean?” What does it mean to say that I take a non-diet approach to nutrition coaching?
Myths and misinformation about the anti-diet movement abound on the Internet and social media. I can’t speak for all anti-diet nutrition professionals, but I can attest to what many of us believe as well as what my approach is.
What “Anti-Diet” Does Not Mean
One of the biggest misconceptions circulating about the anti-diet movement is that it espouses eating anything and everything without regard for nutrition. This is patently false.
While anti-diet practitioners don’t believe that there are “good” foods or “bad” foods, they do still promote balance. Food has no moral value. And there is room for all foods in a healthy diet. The key is making sure you eat a variety of foods, both nutrient-dense and fun foods. Meeting your nutritional needs is still important, but you don’t need to calorie count, fill color-coded containers, or weigh and measure your foods to do that.
Many critics of the anti-diet movement like to claim that anti-diet practitioners “promote obesity.” First off, just using the word “obesity” gives away the anti-fat bias of these critics. Rather, anti-diet practitioners recognize that weight does not reliably indicate health status. Furthermore, we recognize that bodies are supposed to come in different shapes and sizes. Larger bodies are not failed thin bodies.
Finally, and most desperately, many critics throw around claims that anti-diet means anti-health. This assertion rests on the false notion that weight is a good indicator of health (it’s not). Furthermore, this flies in the face of mountains of scientific evidence disproving a solid link between body weight and health.
What does it mean for your approach to nutrition?
When I work with a client, I don’t focus on calorie counting, stepping on the scale, or any of the typical diet tactics. The statistics make it clear that diets don’t work. In fact, diets can actually cause significant harm, from perpetuating weight cycling and all of its adverse health impacts to contributing to eating disorders.
Instead, I focus on building healthy habits in simple, practical ways using small steps to make it maintainable. We focus on sleep, stress management, hunger cues, and intentional movement as well as food because it’s all interconnected. We work on finding the balance that works best for each individual client and finding ways to make it simpler and easier to eat nutrient-dense foods. It’s not about counting calories; it’s about tuning in to your needs.
If you were wondering what does anti-diet mean, I hope this helped you better understand.