As someone who considers themself to know a bit and be fairly passionate about the non-diet approach and particularly Intuitive Eating; I’m worried.
I’m of the opinion that the non-diet approach is fast becoming hijacked.
Hijacked as the latest nutrition trend, the latest ‘clean-eating’, by well meaning health and wellness coaches, both online and in clinical settings. Unfortunately it’s coming out in the wash as a holistic diet dressed up as a non-diet.
My concern is; if someone has “failed” at dieting, which if they’re like 95% of dieters they will have…and turn to non-dieting to try and resolve their food relationship, but it’s really another covert diet and they fail at that…. then what?
They’ll likely feel a deep sense of failure, further erosion of confidence and they might and quite rightly so lose trust in the non-diet approach. However, the approach they took wasn’t really a non diet approach to start with!
Whhhhaaaaattttt are you twittering on about you may ask!?
The comments or insta-captions below have inspired this article:
“Healthy living is about balance…Everything in moderation…. I eat super clean 80% of the week and treat myself the other 20% of the time! [followed by an emoji overload] #ditchdiets #moderation #healthyhappybalance #buymyfunfreecookbook”
“Oh my gosh guys! Sometimes I eat non dairy free, non gluten free, woo-woo free and nothing bad happens! Treat yo’self [emoji giggly monkey)] #intuitiveeating #balance #indulgence”.
“Enjoying this, raw, beetroot, avocado, matcha, sprouted bean, activated nut, kombucha, sauerkraut cake. ZOMG! #treatday #balance #moderation #intuitiveeating #nonasties #sugarfree #treats”
Lol. Wut. What even are this? These are typical social media snapshots of covert-dieting pretending to be non-dieting and total DRIVEL that’s what!
Captions and posts like those above (ok, ok I added a few of my own touches in there for humorous embellishment but you get my drift!) are in my opinion, the hijacking of components of an evidence based practice by picking and choosing sound bites that fit the; “this is easy, love yourself! Anyone can do it, but you must eat clean, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free (heh!) to do so” ethos.
This sort of commentary and social media dialogue is so far removed from the actual needs, thoughts and feelings of anyone battling the scales, dieting, and their body image. Advice such as “just love your body!” or “ditch diets” is not helpful and in my experience and observations…harmful. After all it’s not just that easy (*fingersnap*). You need direction, a plan of attack and support to go from diet-pro to a non-dieting-body-attuned-self-guru!
How on earth can we ask someone who has dieted for many years, struggles to feel confident about their body or their food choices to just suddenly “love their body”. (?!?!?!?!?!?!? puzzled emoji). How about starting with body acceptance. Or maybe even just body tolerance. Baby steps.
How can we suggest “just eat everything in moderation! Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full.” to a dieter who no longer knows what moderation is? I’ve worked with women who claim they are more confident in their ability to explain the meaning of life or decipher the Da Vinci code than describe what moderation around food is. There is no concept of hunger, fullness or satisfaction to a longterm dieter, it has been stuffed down, over ridden and ignored for so long. It needs to be reconnected with, relearned and trusted.
To go from diet-pro to self-aware-food-guru (because that’s what you become – the EXPERT of your own body) there’s a lot of work to be done. There’s remodelling of faulty beliefs about food and body image, there’s a relationship with food that needs to be stripped back, the helpful bits kept and strengthened and the unhelpful elements challenged.
So any way….what is the purpose of sharing this concern… this worry with you?
Anyone can have a voice or an opinion on all things health, wellness and nutrition in this internet age (for better or for worse)…. So I guess I’m asking you, my audience, to be discerning readers. If you see “moderation” or “non dieting” rhetoric popping up on social media…and you will now that the popularity tide has turned and we are turning our backs on ‘clean-eating’ (phew!).
Be critical readers. Be critical consumers.
Ask yourself; does the post contain contradictions? Does it illicit feelings of guilt or failure, because after all it’s “supposed to be easy” to ditch diets and love your body! Is the person posting said profound wisdom of “moderation 20%, super clean 80% and loving their body 100% of the time”, asking you to buy something? A book, tickets to their sold out national speaking tour, or 12 weeks of coaching (for the conservative price of 6 weeks of your salary??!?). If you can answer yes or I don’t know to any of the above have a chuckle because you know better than to absorb the faulty message (or buy a faulty service!). Now go and treat yo’self with all that saved moolah!
Do you know someone in your life who might benefit from reading this? Sharing is caring! x