Ever wondered what it’s like to work with anti-diet dietitians? Maybe you’re having food and body image issues and aren’t sure which dietitian to reach out to.
Just like not all doctors specialize in all diseases or medical concerns, neither do dietitians! Think about it… you wouldn’t see a foot doctor if you’re having eye issues.
It’s important to find a dietitian whose experience, skills, and approach are aligned with your needs and preferences to ensure a good fit and that they can adequately help you with your food and nutrition concerns.
What is an anti-diet dietitian?
The phrase “anti-diet dietitian” can be confusing, especially since “diet” is included in the word “dietitian”! Anti-diet dietitians do not buy into the obsession with thinness, weight loss, or restricting oneself through food. Many of us did in the past because we were socialized in this culture as well, but we learned and grew and now practice in a more ethical and evidence-based manner.
The anti-diet approach is weight-neutral and emphasizes food freedom over food rules. With an anti-diet approach, you’re able to experiment and build a flexible eating pattern to nourish yourself with foods that you actually enjoy. Anti-diet is a philosophy many practitioners have adopted to help you connect to your internal wisdom instead of looking outside of yourself. In other words… listening to your body to tell you what, how much, and when to eat, instead of relying on some app like MyFitnessPal.
Why would someone see an anti-diet dietitian?
People often seek the support of an anti-diet dietitian for reasons such as eating disorder recovery, chronic dieting, disordered eating, binging, emotional eating, negative body image, and more. Read on to see if working with an anti-diet dietitian is a good fit for you:
#1: Anti-diet dietitians see you as more than your weight.
If you recognize that your health is more complex than just reaching a certain number on the scale, you’ll want a healthcare provider who shares your point of view. Dietitians who are anti-diet do not make assumptions about you based on your weight. And we’re not even going to ask you how much you weigh! (unless a client is in eating disorder recovery and weight restoration is necessary). Instead, we’ll get to know you, your history, your concerns, and any non-weight-related goals you have. We recognize that through normalizing eating patterns and working on a peaceful relationship with food, human bodies will settle at whatever weight they feel most comfortable and safe.
#2: Anti-diet dietitians move you away from diets and towards food freedom.
Many of our clients have tried every diet under the sun and have learned from personal experience that diets don’t work. Not only do they not work, but they also contribute to negative physical and mental health over time. An anti-dietitian can help you break free from rules and restrictions and develop a more respectful and intuitive relationship with food and your body. (For more information on Intuitive Eating, click here!) Many clients describe working with an anti-diet dietitian as food-focused therapy, and they’re right! Although we are not psychotherapists, we do a lot of work with your thoughts and feelings about food and your body.
#3: Anti-diet dietitians recognize that YOU are the expert of YOUR body.
You know what challenges you’ve faced, the pace of recovery that works for you, what didn’t work for you in the past, what feels good and what doesn’t, and what works for you. Dietitians can assist you by asking questions and providing support (and advice when given consent), but you are ultimately in charge. You reflect, set your own goals, and take responsibility for the process.
#4: Anti-diet dietitians provide a safe space for you to discuss your relationship with food and body.
Discussing your dieting and exercise experiences, desires to lose weight, fear of eating certain foods, fears of gaining weight, and feelings/beliefs about your body are all common topics of discussion with an anti-diet dietitian. These judgment-free conversations, along with homework assigned by a dietitian in between sessions, allow you to recover from diet culture and disordered eating. When working with an anti-diet dietitian, you’ll discover the connections between food, mental, emotional, and social health.
#5: Anti-diet dietitians can help you get back to the basics of nutrition.
They will work with you to develop personalized goals or strategies to ensure that you are eating enough, eating consistently throughout the day, and eating a variety of foods that you enjoy as you progress in healing your relationship with food. They can work with you to incorporate gentle nutrition into the management of your health condition(s), if applicable and desired.
We recognize that working with an anti-diet dietitian may be a scary step, especially if you have a history of dieting and have worked only with traditional dietitians in the past. However, working with an anti-diet can be truly life-changing in healing your relationship with food & your body.
If you’re ready to take the next step, we’d love to help you on your journey toward body respect and acceptance. To learn more about each of our anti-diet dietitians at Confidently NourishED, click here!