Keto? Paleo? Weight Watchers®? Intermittent fasting? Jenny Craig®? Feel like you’ve tried them all? Maybe there is a healthier approach to eating that will get you off the dieting merry-go-round once and for all. The non-diet approach is based on scientific evidence and offers an alternative to those that have tried diet after diet and are tired of fighting against their bodies.
We asked Natalie Scott, an Accredited Practising Dietitian to spill the beans about the non diet approach and tell us why it’s a healthy option. Read what Natalie has to say in this enlightening guest post.
Why is Dieting Damaging and Why is the Non Diet a More Healthy Approach?
Have you embarked on a diet and found that initially you were able to lose weight but then after a time you regained the weight? Sometimes you may have even ended up heavier than before you started the diet? You probably blamed yourself for not having the ‘willpower’ to continue following the diet or not sticking to your new “healthy” lifestyle. But what if you found out that the diet was to blame?
Research shows that diets don’t work at helping you to lose weight and keep it off in the long term. Dieting or any form of food/calorie restriction signals to the body that it is under threat of not getting the energy required to sustain life.
Our bodies are very clever and start to put in place mechanisms that will increase survival. Our metabolism starts to slow down to conserve energy and hormone levels change to encourage us to go out seeking food. For example increased hunger and increased reward from eating are very normal responses to calorie restriction.
Dieting is also damaging as it teaches us that our bodies can’t be trusted and we have to turn to external cues for eating such as calorie counting and portion control. This sets us up for disordered behaviours such as bingeing, purging, restricting and over exercising.
What is Mindful Eating without Dieting?
So if not dieting then what is the answer?
Instead of fighting against your body, learn to eat mindfully and intuitively; tuning in to your body’s appetite, satisfaction and taste cues.
This approach of mindful eating, called the non-diet approach, helps you break free from the cycle of dieting. It removes the pressure of eating for weight loss and empowers you to make eating choices from a place of self-care and respect for your body.
Because let’s face it there is more to life than counting calories and obsessing over every mouthful.
No Diet Diet Benefits
Long term research studies show that the non-diet approach has a range of benefits related to improvements in health such as increased psychological wellbeing, body image, self esteem and physical fitness and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol. It also helps to promote your weight to stabilise at the healthiest level for you instead of fluctuations associated with repeated dieting cycles.
So stop dieting, and start living a food-full life! Mindful eating is the way to go!
5 Tips for Mindful Eating
1. Have something to eat every 3-4 hours
Your body needs regular fuel. If you go for long periods of time between eating meals and snacks, you are likely to get too hungry which can make it more difficult to eat mindfully.
2. Pause before eating and come into the present moment.
Before eating, ask yourself a few basic questions: Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? If so, what type of food or drink will satisfy you? This is very much part of mindful eating.
3. Try eating in nice surroundings.
Try to make sure you are not doing other activities at meal and snack times such as watching TV, driving or walking as this is the antithesis of mindful eating.
Instead why not find a nice spot to enjoy your meal. This could be at the dining room table or on a park bench outside in the sun.
4. Eat slowly, paying attention to the smell, taste, sound, texture and look of the food.
Mindful eating is all about paying attention to your hunger and the food you are eating. So savour the moment – taking the time to notice different characteristics of the food you are eating can help to maximise the enjoyment you get from it and increase satisfaction.
5. Be mindful and listen to your body’s signals.
Check in during the meal to see how you are feeling in respect to your hunger and fullness levels.
Use this to help guide your decisions about how much you may want to eat in that sitting.
When you have finished the meal – try and wait 10-20 minutes to decide if you want to eat any more – this is because your brain takes a little while to get the signals from your stomach that you’ve eaten!
Honour Your Hunger with Intuitive Eating
But remember to honour your hunger and give yourself unconditional permission to eat if you feel like more!
Just be mindful about your eating.
Where Can You Get Qualified Advice and Hands On Support for the Non Diet Approach?
If you would like to incorporate the non diet approach into your life, or find out more and uncover more specific no diet resources then make sure you get qualified support from a recognised non-diet dietitian. Head over to The Be Mindful Nutrition website and contact Natalie Scott an Accredited Practising Dietitian based in Perth Western Australia. Natalie currently sees clients from her Leederville practice as well as via video conference for clients based elsewhere in the world.
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Life Images by Jill
I know sometimes I have something sweet after my main meal, and I say, I don’t really need this, but I am going to have it. Perhaps next time I need to stop and wait, and the craving will go. One of my big problems is living with 2 men in my household that eat a bigger meal than I really need to. I need to learn to give myself a smaller serve. Thanks Jo for another interesting articule.
I really love this concept! Thanks for the great tips. Being in the moment and eating mindfully is something I struggle with as I often have to eat on the run. I will keep these tips in mind!
Hi Theresa, So glad you related to this concept too! Yes I think eating mindfully has, in our fast paced world, just gone by the wayside in favour of quick fixes and often unhealthy snacks. I really related to Natalie’s article and the no diet approach she puts forward, and it really is something that we can all achieve if we just pay a bit more attention to our hunger and what our bodies actually need.
Thanks Jo for sharing this article and increasing awareness about this important topic!
Thank YOU Natalie too! It was a really enlightening article and an approach that I’m sure many other people will try and adopt now that they know the basic principles – or they’ll hopefully contact you to find out more if they have more serious issues that they need to address.