The Rise of the Anti-Diet Movement: Is it No Longer P.C. to Want to Lose Weight?
Bodily positivity. Anti-diet. Without a doubt, there is a regime divide movement. Heck, even Weight Watchers ditched the “weight,” opting for the WW name instead. Cries of "diets don't work" are getting louder, and a growing number of dietitians are adopting a "no-diet" philosophy - which was recently emphasized by registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom in […]

Bodily positivity. Anti-diet. Without a doubt, there is a regime divide movement. Heck, even Weight Watchers ditched the “weight,” opting for the WW name instead.

Cries of "diets don't work" are getting louder, and a growing number of dietitians are adopting a "no-diet" philosophy - which was recently emphasized by registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom in the Washington post A New Trend in Health Care: The “Non-Diet” Dietitian.

I liked many parts of the article, but it begs the question: What is the opposite of a "non-diet" dietitian, a "diet" dietitian? So is everyone talking about rules and restrictions? Are we separating dietitians by who supports weight loss from those who reject it?

It seems to me that there is a growing divide among dietitians.

While many dietitians have built their careers on "intuitive eating" and caution against today's "diet culture", other dietitians point out that the "anti-diet movement" can have problems. Or maybe there isn't even agreement on what "anti-regime" really means.


A recent speech has been widely discussed among dietitians. Emily Kyle wrote a provocative article I am not an anti-dietetic dietitian - and let's just say it got a lot of attention.

I don't think the term anti-diet dietitian fits my target audience with what I want to help. I don't think my target audience knows what an anti-diet dietitian is. I feel like I'm writing an anti-diet dietitian in my Instagram bio, that's exactly what all the cool kids do these days.

She made some good points.

The one thing that scared me the most about the Intuitive Eating community is the complete black and white way of looking at things. I don't know how to explain it, but in so many conversations that I have secretly read from the comfort of my Facebook screen, I have been stunned by the black and white thought of this movement.

In contrast, Emily wrote about her approach with clients.

I will never weigh you or ask you to lose weight. I will hear you and sympathize with you when you say you want to lose weight. I won't tell you that you are wrong for wanting this.

Dietitian Jessie Shafer discussed the topic in Delicious life Has the anti-regime movement gone too far?

One downside of the anti-diet movement is the rejection of any talk about diet or weight loss for a proven cure or the pursuit of wellness through diet. These can be - and in large part are - very positive messages and stories to tell. And while dieting or watching your weight isn't part of your path to personal well-being and markers of your own health (it's not a primary goal for me), that doesn't mean it is. is not a meaningful tool or a pursuit for others.

Another RD Samantha Cassetty recently wrote on the subject for NBC News.com Is the anti-regime movement leading us astray?

I don't agree that the desire to lose weight is always a sign of self-loathing as some anti-diet experts would have you believe. Maybe for some, but for others, the desire to lose weight is an act of self-care and can be a positive experience.

This was the subject of an opinion piece in the New York Times by Kelly deVos, author of Fat girl on a plane, who wrote about her daughter's desire to lose weight, The problem with body positivity

Many people in the body positivity movement - of which I would like to count myself a member - believe that the desire to lose weight is never legitimate, as it is an expression of the psychological toll of shame on fat. So any public talk about personal health or body size is a disgrace to fat.

In my case, I always try to do things right. But I have come to believe that loving yourself and wanting to change are two feelings that should be able to coexist peacefully.

Amen. I totally agree with that.

Likewise, Amber Petty, a writer and blogger in Los Angeles, addressed the subject in Greatist, Is the body positivity movement going too far?

So while it seems extreme to say that dieting and weight loss is not part of body positivity, I think there is some truth to that claim. This doesn't mean that you can't lose weight, or that you want to lose weight while still thinking positively about yourself. Individuals have to do whatever they want.

I had mixed feelings about the body positivity movement, but I have become more positive for body positivity than I would have thought. To me, they are asking that we end the cycle of obsession with our body. Of course, some supporters of this movement go too far and claim that people who lose weight are traitors. But most just advocate appreciating yourself for who you are, and that means agreeing to want to lose weight or agreeing to stay heavy.

Even the founder and CEO of Greatist weighed in on the matter (sorry, no pun intended). Derek Flanzraich said It is normal to want to lose weight

… Somehow saying that you want to lose 10 pounds (OK, really 15) always seems like a shameful admission. It's silly - most of us want it. Most countries probably want to lose more weight than that.

So we should talk about it. How else can we find a healthier way to do it? I also fear that the positive body movement is holding us back, not pushing us forward.

She concludes:

To fight weight loss the right way, we need to de-stigmatize it.

It is normal to want to lose weight.

And it's important to talk about it so that we can work together to accomplish it in a way that sticks.

Yes, it's okay to want to lose weight. Yes, you can feel good about yourself and still want to achieve a healthier weight - and there's more than one way to do it. I don't believe dietitians should be divided into “non-diet” and “dietitians” dietitians. But I think sometimes we don't understand - or appreciate - another way of thinking. I certainly don't like it when we attack each other, which happens all too often. There may be misconceptions on both sides.

I really liked this article by dietitian Kara Lydon at Form, who tried to clarify what the anti-regime movement is and what it is not: The anti-regime movement is not an anti-health campaign

Some say the anti-diet movement has been misinterpreted with countless Instagram posts of burgers, pizza, and ice cream, but what about all the accounts that only post smoothie bowls and salads? Burgers and pizzas are no more "extreme" than a huge bowl of acai or a kale salad after all. My hope is that the anti-diet movement will help normalize some of the foods that have been demonized by diet culture so that eventually we will stop calling food “good” or “bad” and start seeing food as fair. , food.

I totally agree. Food should not be demonized - and we should not attach fear, guilt, regret, or morality to food. We also shouldn't take a narrow view of what is “good” about food - from smoothie bowls and kale salads to gluten-free and dairy-free green smoothies and chia pudding. Of course, there are a lot of issues with today's diet culture. But I think we shouldn't sound so anti-dieting that we're sending the message we're against weight loss.

How dietitians can help people lose weight in a healthy way - in a way that reinforces new habits and lifestyle changes. Yes, there is more to being healthy than the number on the scale, but that's okay if you want to see a lower number when you step on it. No one should be ashamed of it. It's how you work on that goal that's important.

Just hearing that “diets don't work” can be daunting and frustrating. Now let's move on to what works - whether for wellness or weight loss.

This is not a new topic. I wrote about a debate between Linda Bacon, author of Health at Every Size (HAES), and obesity researcher John Foreyt at our annual nutrition conference in 2011, Is the war on obesity a battle to be fought?

I am now about to attend the same conference in Washington, DC, and a similar debate is scheduled for our 2018 meeting. I will be sure to report back to you. But I bet I'll come to the same conclusion as in 2011. Can't we all get along? Can't intuitive eating and body positivity coexist with weight loss? Why do we have to line up on both sides? Why the conflict?

Tell me what you think.


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