FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Answers to your most common questions about the non-diet philosophy and non-diet nutrition counseling.
About the Non-Diet Philosophy and Approach
Science has proven that any kind of diet has a very low percentage of long term success. Despite the high rate of diet failure, the word “diet” is often positively associated with the pursuit of health and weight management. The term “non-diet” is rooted in the research that diets do not work long term and supports letting go of the many rules of dieting and that diet culture has influenced nearly every person in the pursuit of optimal health and ideal body size.
The non-diet philosophy embraces the idea that foods aren’t “bad” or “good” and that you are not a “bad” or “good” person for eating (not eating!) any kind, amount or type of food.
Health remains a priority within the non-diet philosophy – but the definition of health goes beyond food quality, quantity and body size – mental and emotional health are considered equally as important as physical health.
The concepts of physical weight and body size are radically different in the non-diet community. Body Mass Index (BMI) – based on weight and height – is not only recognized as a completely inaccurate measure of health status but weight itself is not considered a major factor in determining overall health.
Instead of an ideal body weight (IBW), the non-diet philosophy is more focused on the development of a positive attitude toward body respect and a neutral view of a number on a scale.
The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating (developed by Registered Dietitians, Tribole and Resch) are used to help people navigate their thoughts, feelings and behaviors regarding food and their body within the non-diet philosophy.
Acknowledgment of a non-diet philosophy also indicates an awareness of diet culture – messages developed by the media and industries (diet, weight loss, wellness, fashion, etc.) that convince people that only an idealized concept of health and beauty is acceptable. These industries utilize fear, shame and doubt to convince you to place your time, effort, energy and money into their product, service or program.
Diet culture doesn’t only come from media and corporations. Messages about health and wellness come from our family environments as well. There are different ideas about food, weight, exercise and health that we are taught from the values and traditions of our families. Often times the health and wellness information provided during our formative years shape the way we think, feel and talk about food and our bodies more than we realize.
The willingness to accept and investigate these unspoken kind of influences on your views about health and wellness is the initial step of breaking free from diet culture.
Most people are unaware that diet culture even exists, yet it has corrupted your values regarding health and happiness.
Despite the fact that research shows that it is nearly impossible to maintain intentional weight loss, diet culture leverages the feelings of fear, uncertainty and doubt to motivate consumers to spend their time, energy and money on weight loss products and services. The diet and weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business whose revenue climbs every single year.
Wellness is now part of the diet culture influence. Wellness used to be a more ethereal concept rooted in the mind-body connection. Now, the word “wellness” is nearly synonymous with the words “diet” and “weight management”. The hope and promise of better health and elevated social status through wellness practices is a hallmark of diet culture influence.
Through non-diet nutrition counseling, I can help you understand how diet culture has impacted you and your relationship with food and your body.
My mission is to help empower clients to find their means to break free from the chains of diet culture and change the way they feel about food, exercise and their bodies by embracing the principles of Intuitive Eating (see next tab).
Intuitive Eating (IE) is a non-diet and weight neutral approach to health.
IE is a practice to help people develop a peaceful and satisfying relationship with food through awareness and trust in their natural bodily cues rather than by the rules of any diet or health directive.
IE is a mind shift about food, weight and body image where all foodl foods as having equal emotional value (no “good” or “bad” foods),
The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating were developed in 1995 by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, two Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (Yay for some RDN power!) when they realized how often their patients were pursuing healthful goals such as weight loss or maintenance but instead were either weight cycling (yo-yo dieting), regaining lost weight or consistently in a battle of restricting foods, preoccupation with exercise and/or negative body image.
Weight neutrality is a movement amongst health practitioners to not only lessen weight stigma (bias based on body weight and size) but to incorporate more attention to lifestyle behaviors than just physical weight and BMI in determining health status.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is exceptionally limited in scope. It is a mathematical equation that uses ONLY height and weight without any consideration of body composition factors (such as muscle mass). BMI was never intended to be used to determine individual health status and now it can inappropriately classify someone as unhealthy.
See this study for more information Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift by Bacon and Aphramor (2011).
A non-diet dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist – RDN or RD) is a nutrition expert who does not encourage restrictive eating of any kind for the intention of weight loss and/or weight management. A non-diet dietitian shifts focus from weight to the principles of Intuitive Eating and overall mind-body connection.
Through counseling sessions, the dietitian and client work to uncover the depth and breadth of influence diet culture has on the client’s life and help the client move toward a positive relationship with food, body image and overall health.
Weight cycling is the scientific term for “yo yo dieting” or the repeated gain and loss of weight without sustained significant weight loss.
Research about the effects of weight cycling have not been statistically significant but claims of negative effects on body composition, metabolic rate and body fat distribution have been noted by some researchers.
About Non-Diet Nutrition Counseling
Before beginning work with any new client, I provide a free, 15 minute Discovery Conversation to get a better idea of your needs and expectations and to determine if we are a good fit to work together.
If we agree to work together:
• You will determine the best Session Package to meet your needs. All packages include an Initial Intake Session, your desired number of Follow-Up Sessions and E-mail Support throughout package time frame.
• You will be required to fill out a few forms that will be sent to you directly. The Initial Intake form will create the foundation from which our work will begin. The form asks you to provide your medical history along and asks a number of questions related to your past and current relationship with food, exercise and your body.
• We will have a Virtual Initial Intake Session (75 – 90 minutes) when we will set the foundation of how we will work together. We will reference information provided from your intake form and discuss your questions/needs. During this time I will begin the evaluation process, we will create a plan toward reaching some mutually agreed upon goals and we will set a date and time for your first Follow-Up Session.
• We will have Virtual Follow-Up Sessions (30 – 45 minutes) – during which time will discuss anything that has come forth since the last session, any progress or toward goals and/or make any necessary adjustments to goals or plan as needed. During this part of our work together, we will explore the principles of Intuitive Eating. In between sessions, you may be given recommendations to help you make progress toward your goals (ex: reading educational materials, journaling or other activities). We will use Follow-Up sessions to discuss your thoughts and feelings about the outside session activities.
• We will communicate by email if necessary between sessions. Because questions or issues that need immediate attention may come up in between sessions, email support is available. Parameters of email communication will be provided to you upon package purchase.
• The process continues until your goal(s) are reached. Additional Follow-Up Sessions and E-mail Communication Support packages are available for purchase if needed.
With non-diet nutrition counseling, I can help you break free of diet culture and the chains it has placed on you physically, mentally and emotionally.
Through our work together, you will discover that the depth and breadth of influence diet culture has on your life can be an incredibly powerful and moving experience. Imagine saying hello to a whole new world in which you not only make peace with food, but move toward a positive relationship with food, body image and overall health.
The non-diet philosophy is simple but it isn’t easy. Breaking the rules and changing the way you think and feel about food and your body is hard work on so many levels.
The goal of non-diet nutrition counseling is to develop a new perspective on how you define health and wellness. In my opinion, rejecting the teachings of diet culture and embracing the idea of learning to trust yourself to be the expert of what you want when it comes to food and your body really is the ultimate benefit of non-diet nutrition counseling.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Registered Yoga Teacher, I’m just a guide in the non-diet nutrition counseling and wellness areas. I may have expertise in the application of nutritional science and cultivating mind-body wellness but I’m not the expert on your mind, body and soul – only you can be that expert.
YES, there is a difference between a Registered Dietitian and a nutritionist.
A Dietitian holds the interchangeable titles of Registered Dietitian (RD) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). An RD/RDN is a food and nutrition expert who has met specific academic and professional experience requirements.
The RD/RDN credential is a legally protected professional title and can only be used once the following requirements are fulfilled:
- satisfactory completion of nutrition education college course work curriculum
- 900 hours of supervised practical and educational internship experience
- received a passing grade on the national Registered Dietitian examination
- re-certify the RD/RDN credential with continuing education
- obtain additional State Licensure if required (determined by individual state)
ANYONE can call themselves a nutritionist. There are NO educational or experiential requirements use the title of Nutritionist.
A nutritionist could consider themselves a nutrition professional even if they just read a book, taken an online nutrition course for a day, a week, a month or a year or even used their own experience with diet and exercise to consider themselves a professional.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some nutritionists who have masters and doctorate levels of education in nutrition who deserve to be considered experts in their field but it is important to know the educational and professional background of your chosen nutrition professional.
Disclaimer: I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist but I am NOT your RDN until we both agree to work together. The information on this website is for educational purposes only. Please see Disclaimer of Liability for specific details.
However, the goal of Intuitive Eating and non-diet nutrition counseling is not to lose weight but to become more in tune with trusting your choices about food and respecting your body.
This is usually not the answer people want to hear when thinking about working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
Weight loss and the idea of weight neutrality is the goal of non-diet nutrition counseling but discussing weight and your feelings about your weight and your body are important. Nearly every single person who has come to embrace Intuitive Eating and the non-diet philosophy has had to spend some time evaluating their thoughts and feelings regarding their weight and body image.
If weight loss is your main goal of working with a Registered Dietitian, a non-diet dietitian may not be the best fit for you…BUT if you’re sick of your world revolving around thoughts, behaviors and feelings revolving around diet, exercise and weight management, then you should consider booking a FREE 15 minute Discovery Call with me. You never know. Even if I’m not a fit for what you need, I can likely connect you to another Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who may better suit you