There are many reasons women seek dietitian services.

Increasingly, dietitians are embracing an “anti-diet approach.” These dietitians are moving away from a focus on weight loss and  thinness as an ideal, or even healthy, goal.

If this surprises you, you can thank Diet Culture.

What is Diet Culture?

Anti-diet dietitian and author, Christy Harrison, explains:

“[Diet culture] is Western society’s toxic system of beliefs that: Worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue, Promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, demonizes certain foods while elevating others, and oppresses people who don’t match up with its supposed picture of “health.” 

Diet culture can show up in many ways:

  • following food rules
  • not eating gluten (without having celiac disease)
  • not eating after a certain time of day
  • completely cutting out sugar
  • making fat people pay for two seats on an airplane
  • having to track down special clothing stores in order to find your size
  • labeling foods “guilt-free” or “sinful.”

Our culture’s deeply held belief that thinness and dieting are “healthy” is not based in science, but instead by the profound influence of diet culture in every aspect of our lives, even, and especially, our doctors’ offices. Diet culture results in so many of us disconnecting from our natural biological processes and even shames us for having them!

What is an anti-diet dietitian?

Anti-diet dietitians take an approach that recognizes that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Healthy nutrition means different things for different people and a dietitian can be instrumental in helping a person on their healing and wellness journey. An anti-diet dietitian is a dietitian, educated and trained, licensed and registered, but without a foundational belief that the primary goal of nutrition counseling is “successful dieting.”

The primary goal is to help clients:
  • reconnect with their awareness of their body’s biological signals for food
  • move past fear of food and various eating behaviors
  • cultivate nourishing, healthy behaviors around eating, movement, and well-being
  • without a primary focus on weight

For many people, after years or decades immersed in the beliefs of diet culture, this change can be surprisingly challenging. Anti-diet dietitians are here to help!

To learn more, or to find an anti-diet dietitian for yourself, check out the providers here.