• Emma Green

3 Myths about non-diet approach advocates

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

There is a lot of criticism about the non-diet movement right now, which is to be expected with something that challenges the status quo. Whilst I’m open to critique, debate and discussion, sadly most of the content I’ve seen has been based upon misconceptions. Here are just a few:

‘They deny that calories exist’

I’ve not heard anyone denying the existence of calories. They are a unit of energy and we are reminded of that almost anytime that we see a packet of food. The claim of non-diet advocates, such as myself is that not only it is unnecessary to count them to learn about nutrition but it also has the potential to do harm, physically and mentally. Just because that doesn’t happen to everyone, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. You don’t get a heads up about your genetic predisposition (yes we’re learning more about genomics but we’re not there yet.)

‘They tell women what to do with their bodies’

Again, no. A non-diet approach isn’t anti-body autonomy. You have the right to do whatever you want with your body but I can’t advocate for something which I perceive to be damaging based on the evidence available. If you choose to diet, that’s up to you but it makes me sad that our culture has made you think you need to. I wholeheartedly believe that all bodies are valuable and do not need to be modified to fit in with arbitrary societal standards.

‘They are not evidence-based’

This is another no. I’ve laid out all the scientific reasons for advocating for a non-diet approach in other posts. To keep it short: you can become healthier without losing weight, there is not a clear-cut relationship between weight and health, we know that dieting can cause mental and physical harm and we know that for the majority of people it is unsustainable. Most people that go on diets will regain the weight they lost (sometimes more) within a year or so. The small minority that do maintain weight loss typically have disordered eating and exercise habits. These aren’t acknowledged because they have ‘normal’ BMIs but would be seen as problematic if they were underweight.

These are just some of the claims I’ve seen levelled at the approach. I’m all for discussion but what I see a lot are unsubstantiated claims and a lack of willingness to be informed otherwise. By all means offer critique but at least be open minded to changing your perspective. As with all my posts, I’m listening and willing to engage.

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