Well, we stand right in the middle here.
Over the past few years, the anti-diet movement was born and has really taken off.
But what is it?
This movement started with all the best intentions, aiming to focus on overall health rather than just the size of a person. As social media apps like instagram started infiltrating our lives with images of “clean food” and “ideal body types” the anti diet culture was gathering pace and thanks to this culture, there are lot more positive messages out there for young impressional girls such as “strong not skinny” and the focus is definitely shifting to empower women to be more body accepting, not striving for physiques that are often unrealistic and unattainable.
We have no issue with this. No one should feel ashamed of themselves and everyone should expect the same level of care and respect, regardless of their body size. Fact.
But we don’t agree with the idea that intentional weight loss is always bad.
The anti-diet movement and intuitive eating go hand in hand. The idea of intuitive eating is that you fully listen to your body and honour its hunger and fullness signals. While this is the ideal balance everyone should strive for, it’s naive to think that everyone can stick to it. It’s not a lack of willpower, some people’s hunger and satiety hormones don’t work as they should and this means that they are unable to answer those signals. They might not have those signals at all.
It’s also damaging to say that no one should lose weight intentionally. Some people’s health and health risks will improve drastically after some weight loss, and telling them they shouldn’t pursue this is doing them a disservice.
Think about type 2 diabetes for example. Often, the first step in improving and keeping this under control is through lifestyle changes. Move more, eat less and lose some weight. If these changes are implemented, the person might not ever need to take medication. So putting them in front of an internal debate between “dieting is bad” and “dieting could save my life” is just unfair. All options are valid.
So how do we actually find a balance between weight loss and the anti-diet movement?
First of all, we have integrity. This means that although most of our clients approach us with weight loss goals, we don’t just simply agree every time. We will ask plenty of questions, and understand their motivations and reasoning. Sometimes weight loss is what they get. All the time, we try and work more on body acceptance, setting realistic and sustainable goals and breaking some of that negative thinking.
Secondly, we believe in educating our clients, hiding nothing from them, helping them eat the foods they enjoy, ensuring they are eating a balanced, plentiful diet with no restriction of any food groups. Unfortunately, this is not true of all diets. They may yield great results, but leave participants high and dry at the end, meaning they are likely to go back to old habits and gain the weight they lost very quickly, always seeking for the next diet to try. We want our clients to finish our programme and know exactly what to do if they ever want to lose weight, maintain or even put weight on in the future.
As personal trainers and evidence-based nutritionists, our job is to help you reach your goals in a sensible way that fits your lifestyle. We want to help you get strong and empower you to feel your best self, and we believe in free will. It should absolutely be your choice to diet and we want to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. We will work with you to build your confidence so that once you’re done, you won’t need us again.
Yes, people do come back and we often have people joining our programme multiple times. But that’s simply because the level of support and accountability we provide is second to none. We want to create the safest environment for you to diet if you choose to. And we want to reassure you that not wanting to lose weight is ok too! We’ll help you shift your focus and mindset so that you learn to appreciate your body for what it can do as well as for how it looks.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree with us or are you leaning more towards the anti-diet movement?
Drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or a message on our social media @ace.transform!