Your Non-Dieting Nutrition Guide
The only healthy eating guide that you’ll ever need, for your PT clients OR group fitness participants.
Learn what healthy eating really means, and how to heal your relationship with food.
What's the Non-Diet Approach?
In a nutshell, it means taking the focus off of weight completely, and focussing instead on health promoting behaviours that clients can take ownership of. Let’s look at an example:
We know that eating more vegetables lowers someones’s risk of many diseases, regardless of whether they lose weight from eating them. To clarify, you don’t have to have lost weight to be benefiting from this lifestyle improvement… or any other lifestyle improvements, actually! This is awesome, and something we should all be teaching our clients!
BUT, if someone has come to believe over the years that their weight is an important determinant of their health, what happens? Here are 2 example clients:
Client 1 is weight focussed, but motivated to give some food improvements a go. They successfully start eating more veggies, and keep this up for weeks and weeks.
As it happens, client 1 doesn’t lose weight as a result, so they think ‘Well, I tried eating more veggies, and it didn’t work- so stuff that!’ Client 1 feels really disappointed, they feel less in control of their health, and so they feel less motivated to attempt other health-promoting lifestyle changes.
Or sometimes, this experience causes clients to feel more desperate, and willing to try more extreme or restrictive approaches to weight loss (which will obviously cause even larger drops in future metabolism, as well as greater damage to physical and mental health).
Client 2 is similar to client 1. They also have a weight focus, and feel motivated to try eating more veggies. But, success! Client 2 does lose some weight. Client 2 loves the comments from friends, and feels confident that they’re in control of their weight, now. This person thinks ‘Great! Eating more veggies caused me to lose weight, so now that I’m lighter, I’m healthier!’
But one of the unfortunate facts about losing weight (as mentioned above), is that 95% of people do regain the weight over time. So what happens when the weight focussed veggie eater regains weight, despite still eating more veggies? They’re still doing all the right things, but there’s no more comments, their clothes are feeling uncomfortably tight, and they’re feeling like they’re losing that control. Now, they move right back into the thought pattern of Client 1, because they still believe that weight=health, and they lose motivation to continue with their health promoting good habits.
What does the Non-Dieting Approach do differently, to break the damaging diet-cycle thinking patterns?
Step 1- We Teach the Facts About Weight
Sometimes it’s hard to be the person to break it to others’ that what they’ve been taught isn’t the whole story, and might actually be causing more harm than good (trust me, I do it every day!). It’s also really hard to have to tell someone that it’s not healthy to hold onto their dream of a thin, lean body. But teaching our clients why weight has less of an influence on health as they’ve been led to believe is the first step to breaking the vicious cycle of dieting and weight regain that causes so much damage to health and happiness.
Thankfully, you actually don’t have to be the first person to have this conversation with your client, because the Non-Dieting Nutrition Guide explains the science for you! (In a gentle, friendly way).
Step 2- We Teach An Alternative, Healthier Focus
If we’re losing the weight and dieting talk- what are we talking about instead? This is where we need to help our clients to see the real, tangible benefits of lifestyle improvements that DO happen, whether weight changes or not. The Non-Dieting Nutrition Guide includes a chapter on what these other indicators of health improvement might include, to help you start the ‘alternative’ goal setting conversation with your client. There’s also a goal-setting template, with specifically-worded questions to help your clients find constructive goals that will be personally meaningful to them.
Then, to reinforce these non-weight related goals, the Weekly Reflection pages are constructed with leading questions to help your clients lock on to the health improvements they’re seeing. Behaviour change research shows that when people have EVIDENCE that their behaviours are making a difference, and they’re working towards a goal that is PERSONALLY meaningful, they’re far more likely to maintain the positive health habits.
Step 3- We Only Give Gentle Nutrition Guidance, And Emphasise FLEXIBLE Eating
This book is a non-dieting guide to NUTRITION, after all (!), so we do spend some time going over what eating well might look like when you’re no longer dieting. To make sure you’re working within your scope of practice while using the resource, we stick within the context of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The book does describe what the guidelines recommend in terms of number of servings of each food group per day, and how to make nutritious choices within each food group. But, the book emphasises that the Dietary Guidelines are NOT just another ‘diet’ or set of rules to follow!
As per the Dietary Guidelines section, the meal planning section is included to give the reader a starting point, if they’re really not sure what works for them any more after so many years of dieting. Throughout the book, we emphasise the point that normal, healthy eating is flexible eating, so the reader is encouraged to experiment to find what works for them and their family, and use their own judgement rather than following food rules.
Let’s take a look at the contents of the book in more detail.
The first section of the book (40 pages) is dedicated to learning essential Non-Dieting eating skills. The remainder of the book is dedicated to useful templates and recording space.
What Theory is in This Guide book?
- What does it mean to eat well? Sounds like a simple question. The reality for our clients is anything but! We start the book with an ‘alternative’ healthy eating checklist that’s about building a healthy relationship with food, not adhering to food rules.
- Mindful eating, and tuning in to your appetite. Describing the lost art of listening to our body.
- The hunger rating scale, and diary. One of the most common tools to build your ability to eat intuitively. Includes a how-to guide for reconnecting with your unique bodily cues, even if you’ve lost the ability to sense hunger and fullness from years of dieting.
- What’s BMI, and how do I know if I’m a healthy weight? We discuss the reasons that BMI isn’t a useful health assessment tool, how weight is regulated, why dieting causes higher weight and worsening health over time, and better ways to gauge health than BMI.
- How does exercise influence weight and health? Discusses the non-weight related health improvements that being active gives, benefits of muscle mass, and some mindset help for clients who’ve never really liked exercise…
- Food groups and dietary guidelines. We look at how to use guidelines when we’re moving away from food rules, and look at recommendations from each food group.
- Building a healthy relationship with treats. One of the most important sections in the book! It includes a discussion about the futility of the diet cycle, explains why deprivation and restriction are the real causes of over-eating, and explains how to start making peace with treat foods.
- Meal planning. This section explains why planning makes any type of change easier, and introduces the reader to some basic guidelines for cooking and preparing meals. It emphasises the importance of viewing any type of guideline as a starting point for experimentation, rather than as a new set of diet rules.
- Eating and drinking before & after sport. Including guidelines about which types of foods are likely to be best tolerated in a given timeframe before exercise, how to work out protein needs, and an explanation about why protein shakes are not the best way to refuel.
- Hydration and sports drinks. How to make sure you’re rehydrating adequately, and the circumstances when sports drinks might be beneficial.
- Sample meal and snack ideas. Obviously, we’re moving right away from any kind of prescriptive dietary advice. However, some people do want ideas and inspiration, so a few tasty, nutritious meal ideas have been included. There is deliberately no mention of calories!
- How to make a start with building healthier habits. And what to do if you’re not really sure you want to make changes, or don’t want to discuss goals with your trainer?
- Further information and resources. A list of vetted organisations and websites where clients can learn more about food, health, and the Non-Dieting Approach.
Templates and Worksheets
- Goal Setting template.
- Weekly food habits journal. Includes space to record 6 weeks’ of food data, and focusses on food group achievement, not calories. Alternatively, clients could use the space to record thoughts about food/ hunger awareness notes instead of food group details.
- Weekly self-reflection template. These help your clients to lock on to the improvements they’re achieving and resulting health improvements they’re seeing. When your clients complete their self-reflection, they are setting their own food and eating goals each week- so that’s one less job for you!
- Hunger awareness diary. This template helps clients to apply the theory from chapter 3, and build their ability to recognise and eat according to their body’s appetite cues.
What You Get When You Purchase this Resource
- A professionally formatted, clean, minimalist design, that is easy to read.
- A personalised copy, with your logo, brand colours, and contact information (please allow up to 5 working days if you’d like your copy personalised).
- The rights to distribute the whole, unedited publication, to your paying customers. You can provide it as an e-copy, or get it printed and give to clients in hard copy. You decide 🙂
- The option to charge a fee for the book, (RRP $29.95) or include it as part of a coaching package.
- Personalised support for yourself, including:
- Phone or email assistance with interpreting sections of the book
- Help with finding the supporting research
- Help with finding other Non-Dieting health professionals if you need to refer your clients (e.g., for help managing a condition like diabetes, or treating emotional eating or body image concerns).
Normally, if you were to commission even some minor edits to an existing resource of this detail, it would easily cost over $500 for a few hours of my time. Instead, you can benefit from my weeks and weeks of work on past projects, which have culminated in this book.
Remember, you are not just buying a book! You’re buying the rights to GENERATE REVENUE with a personalised, branded, detailed resource, which will teach your clients how to establish healthy habits for a lifetime!
I'm Ready to Get My Clients Off the Diet Cycle!
An unbranded copy of your book will be emailed after payment, so you can start reading immediately
Please allow up to 5 business days from sending us your logo files to receive your personalised copy. Instructions regarding personalisation will be given via email after purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
What the Non-Dieting Approach ISN’T
- This is NOT an alternative approach to weight loss. When you read elsewhere about someone’s ‘non-dieting weight loss plan’, they’ve completely missed the point. Or maybe just haven’t actually read any of the research, or possibly they’re jumping on the ‘non-dieting’ buzz term for marketing purposes…
- It’s not ‘giving up’ on health. Far from it. It’s actively supporting health improvements in a way that works, instead of continuing to support dieting, which we know causes real, physical AND emotional harm.
- It’s not saying that everyone should just eat all the Maccas and chocolate they can and get fat. It’s saying that by rejecting the guilt and shame that dieting causes, we can be free to truly get satisfaction from all foods, including fun foods, when we choose to enjoy them. Research has shown that this leads to healthier overall eating patterns, with less emotional eating, less bingeing, and less overeating as a result of feeling deprived by diets.
- It’s also not saying that a larger person should avoid losing weight. It is possible that weight may change as a result of improving lifestyle and developing health supporting habits. As per the example client scenarios above, the danger is when changes are made for the purpose of losing weight.
- We are not ignoring the potential impact of high weight on health. Although newer research is showing that we have likely been overestimating the impact of weight on health, we acknowledge that higher weights can have a negative impact on some health outcomes. It’s important to acknowledge the converse, though, that it is also possible to be completely metabolically healthy while living in a larger body! The issue is that we do not have a safe or effective way for those who do have a health related reason to attempt weight loss to do so successfully, that does not directly cause MORE harm to physical and psychological health. If we want to curb the trend of rising weight, we need to address the number 1 risk factor for weight gain: dieting!
Do you have a specific question about the Non-Dieting Nutrition Guide, or Non-Dieting Approach?
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You can always just hit ‘reply’ to any email to send your questions directly to Emma (NTA Founder). I love emails from readers!