Ditching the Diet in Disguise

BY Zali Yager

When we were younger, diets were on the front page of magazines.

After 20 years of researchers and Dietitians saying “Diet’s don’t work”, and some very clear evidence about the harmful nature of weight cycling due to years of being on and off diets, many

Now, they’ve had to go underground.

But more and more, I’m finding adults who don’t think they are on a diet, but they are actually on a diet.

Anything that involves you monitoring, recording, listing, calculating, or otherwise taking control of the food you eat is a diet.

Diets in Disguise

  • Intermittent Fasting
  • ‘Quitting Sugar’
  • Clean Eating
  • 800
  • Skipping meals

In the Embrace Kids book we spend the first half of the book convincing you that you need to build up your own body image in order to role model this to your kids. We encourage parents to move away from dieting and follow Intuitive eating in order to be able to support their kids to develop a positive relationship with food.

So, What is Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a practice first described by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who came up with ten principles:

  1. Reject diet culture and mindset
  2. Honour your hunger
  3. Make peace with food
  4. Challenge the food police
  5. Discover satisfaction
  6. Feel your fullness
  7. Cope with your emotions with kindness
  8. Respect your body
  9. Engage in joyful movement
  10. Honour your health

This approach is all about listening to your body, to your cues of hunger and satiety, and what you feel like eating. It’s a guide to eating if you are not dieting. Most people assume that they would eat only chocolate bars and ice cream if they ‘let themselves’ listen to their body, but it’s just not the case. We’ve all experienced that time, maybe over Christmas, or a holiday somewhere exotic – where you just ate exactly what you wanted, when you wanted to. For the first little while, it might have been all chocolate and croissants, but then after a few days your body starts to say ‘Hey, how about a salad?!’

Women who engage in intuitive eating have better body image, and actually eat healthier (more fruit and vegetables, a greater variety of foods) than those who are restricting. Research has also found that women who follow intuitive eating principles have better self-esteem, are less likely to engage in disordered, emotional or stress eating, have lower levels of depression and have higher overall psychological wellbeing. And women who are eating intuitively maintain a more stable weight (instead of yo-yoing) over time.

The evidence is building in favour of trusting our body, listening to our bodies, and nourishing our bodies- without diets, and without rigid food rules- will you try it?

Part of this article is an excerpt from Embrace Kids- Read more buy buying your copy here, listening to the audiobook here, or requesting that your local library order a copy.

Meet The Author,
Zali Yager

Dr Zali Yager is the Executive Director of The Embrace Collective [TEC], a DGR-status health promotion charity on a mission to help people everywhere build better body image. In her research position as Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University, Zali was also the Chief Investigator on the Goodform project for boys, a WADA-funded, randomised controlled trial of this 4-session school-based program.Connect with Zali via LinkedInInstagram and her website. Find out more about The Embrace Collective on Instagram. Sign up for the EK Support Squad to receive body image resources and support for young people.
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