The Non-Diet: Just another Fad Diet?

New information about the causes and cures for obesity seems to emerge every day. With millions of overweight Americans looking for the secret to long-term weight loss, the economic stakes are high. Unfortunately, along with genuine breakthroughs, frauds will inevitably make their way to market, and it is wise to approach any new eating plan cautiously. The name of the Non-Diet brings to mind the age-old fad diet claim of losing weight without dieting, but is this strategy just another fad?

What Makes a Diet a Fad?

A fad diet is not necessarily the same thing as a popular diet. Fad diets, like all fads, come and go. They do not last, because they do not work in the long term. A fad diet usually ignores or contradicts commonly accepted nutritional standards, often by advocating or excluding a single food or food group. It almost always promises things it can’t deliver, like quick weight loss with no exercise and minimal changes to eating habits. A fad diet is usually heavy on testimonials and “science-y” explanations which are not substantiated by unbiased sources.

What is the Non-Diet?

The non-diet, as the name implies, is not a diet. There is no calorie counting, no good and bad foods, and no deprivation. The non-diet advocates a more holistic approach to weight management which starts with accepting the body just as it is. People who diet develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead of seeing food as an enjoyable but morally neutral means to provide the body with fuel, a dieter sees food as worst enemy and best friend. The non-diet seeks to repair that relationship, putting food back in its proper place. As a result, weight loss will probably occur, but it won’t be fast or dramatic. The process of healing relationships is never quick and easy.

Is the Non-Diet a Fad?

The non-diet’s only advice on food consumption is to eat when you’re hungry and to stop when you’re full. This does not contradict any accepted nutritional standards. Far from labeling some foods good and some foods bad, the non-diet encourages people to eat any food they enjoy, including dessert. It does not make any weight loss claims at all and does require that the “dieter” make major changes to eating habits and food attitudes. There are no testimonials for the non-diet, although some “science-y” sounding claims have been made about simple steps that will lead to weight loss. In short, the non-diet fails to meet almost every criterion for a fad diet. It seems to be a sensible, healthy method of weight management.

A Caveat

Constant dieting has influenced American culture so much that many people will still approach the non-diet as a weight loss plan. Those who adopt the principles of a healthy relationship with food, like eating real food in reasonably-sized portions, without doing the hard work of repairing their relationship with food, will ultimately see the same rebound effect that they did with fad diets.

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