What is the Anti-Diet Approach?
The Anti-Diet approach is an inclusive, non-restrictive approach to health which emphasizes that:
1) body diversity is natural and real
2) long-term sustainable weight loss is nearly impossible to achieve for most people
2) everyone, regardless of body size, can pursue and benefit from healthy behaviors
The Anti-Diet approach focuses on behaviors, rather than weight loss, and emphasizes that
health includes nourishing our mental, emotional & psychosocial health needs just
as much as our physical ones.
In today's wellness culture, "health" has become synonymous with diets & weight loss. But research, and our own personal experiences, continue to show us that diets don't work. In fact, a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that after following up with a cohort of overweight individuals three years after they'd been placed on a clinically-supervised diet, 97% of participants gained back almost all, or more, weight than they had lost on the diet.
Another study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the probability of an obese person attaining normal weight status was 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, which is less than 1%.
So if sustainable weight loss doesn't work - what's the answer?
This is where the Anti-Diet approach comes in. The Anti-Diet approach does not use weight loss as a measure of success, but rather, it focuses on the practice of health-promoting behaviors. Research from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine shows that practicing health-promoting behaviors, such as eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables daily, exercising regularly, consuming alcohol in moderation, and not smoking, improve people’s health long-term and significantly decrease mortality risk, regardless of weight. Focusing on these behaviors is a more effective, more ethical, and more inclusive way to improve health.
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