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  • Writer's picturethegoodfoodclinic

Eat, move and live. Not diet.

Non-diet Nutrition & the HAES approach

What if there was a way to enjoy the food you eat, love moving your body, and your mental and social well-being felt nurtured?

Enter stage left, non-diet nutrition.

Remove the pressure of eating for weight-loss, remove the intention to shrink yourself, honour your bodies hunger and fullness ques and find satisfaction.

Non-diet nutrition isn’t another diet, it’s an instinctual way of life that unfortunately years of FAD diets and quick fixes has packed neatly into a box, moved house and unkindly left behind. Thankfully we are beginning to come full circle, cycling away from dieting with more and more health professionals adopting a “health at every size” (HAES) approach. HAES recognises that the definition of health ‘cannot be characterised as simply the absence of physical or mental illness’, that it more so exists on a varying continuum throughout your life.

HAES follows five main principles to reframe health, not as an obligation, but as an all-inclusive resource available regardless of capability and circumstance.

  1. Weight Inclusivity: Accepting that body size is not exclusively within our control

  2. Health Enhancement: Supporting health policies that endorse equality and access to resources such as information and services.

  3. Respectful Care: Recognise that socio-economic status, race, gender, age and other identities impact weight stigma and work towards ending weight discrimination.

  4. Eating for Well-being Facilitate eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs and pleasure!

  5. Life-Enhancing Movement Promote activities that are enjoyable and enable all sizes and ability to engage.

There are a few terms you may have heard that all incorporate a weight neutral approach: intuitive eating, innate and mindful eating, anti-diet approach, and of course HAES and non-diet nutrition.

BUT (and there’s always a but…)

We live in the ‘Wellness Culture’ era. Wellness culture overlaps with diet culture and ultimately bounds wellness or health with certain behaviours and body shape/size.

It has taken over social media, Instagram, Tik Tok, your favourite brands and their marketing... and has well and truly blurred lines between self-care and self-control. Restricting foods and food groups, skipping meals, labelling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ are behaviours we have been led to believe are ‘healthy’ and part of self-care. Not to mention oppressing individuals who don’t fit into these exclusive standards. Unfortunately, a lot of what we read, what we hear, or what us or our children are engaging with on social media is misinformation enabling more harm than good.

So how do you take a hard left from wacky wellness culture avenue onto weight neutral, non-diet street?? I’ve added 3 small steps here to help you:

  1. Follow accounts that empower you and produce content that make you feel included and comfortable in your skin. Accounts of registered health professionals using scientific evidence to support their claims are also great for a bit of healthy education!

  2. Before you start something new (mostly a product or a supplement or a way of eating etc) ask yourself why? It’s okay to be influenced, it’s great to try new things – but I encourage you to stop and consider your why. And if you find in time this something new doesn’t facilitate you, be brave and stop.

  3. Walk away from conversations and situations that support weight bias and surround yourself with people who respect each other. Find likeminded people to engage with socially, in movement and in work. Learn to say no and be a little selfish if your social or mental health are at risk. Acknowledge that everyone is a work in progress and we all make mistakes!

Life is precious, make sure you enjoy every part of yours.

By Georgia Lamrock, Student Clinical Nutritionist @tasteful_tucker


More information on HAES:

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