Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

“Dieting” vs. “Non-Dieting” Defined

Tara MacGregor, a psychotherapist and dietitian in Australia, recently asked those of us on a shared listserv for some feedback on definitions of “Dieting” and “Non-Dieting”. She needed them for a presentation she was about to do for a large group of traditionally trained dietitians.

If you were asked to choose one or the other, which paradigm do you think fits you best these days?

DIETING is defined as a class of eating behaviors involving any modification to food choice that is guided primarily by external prescriptions and classifications of food with the principal goal of reducing body weight. Dieting views a reduction in body weight as an imperative to improve health including physical, mental and emotional aspects. Dieting is not an innate human behaviour but is learned and typically incorporates separating from and/or controlling the body’s sensations and internal cues. Dieting is ‘weight centric’.

NON-DIETING may also be referred to as Attuned Eating, Intuitive Eating, Normal Eating, Mindful Eating. Non-Dieting is defined as a class of eating behaviors guided primarily by attunement to internal body cues of hunger and satiety. Non-Dieting behaviors are innate and honor our intrinsic connection to our body and it’s messages. Non-Dieting behaviors can also be learned and can be re-adopted in order to undo disordered eating patterns which can occur from any age for a multitude of reasons, particularly learned dieting behaviors. Modifications to eating behaviors using a Non-Dieting philosophy are made with the principal goal of improving health and well-being including physical, emotional and mental aspects. These improvements can occur irrespective of changes to body weight. Non-Dieting is ‘health centric’.


Did you know that the greatest way to end up fatter in the longrun is to go on a diet? Look at your own history. Do you weight more today than you did before you started a long history with dieting?


Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”,

Found this article useful? Please share it with your followers!


Free Guide + "Ellen's Weekly Empowerment Tips"

About Ellen Shuman

Ellen on the phone

I have worked in the Wellness Field for 30 years. I created an Emotional Eating & Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Program way before most people knew BED was an eating disorder, NOT a “willpower” issue. Personally, I suffered for years before finding answers and the help I needed and deserved! I became a Coach in 1997 to help others who were still suffering as I had. I love being a Coach!


Related Articles

What Are You Really Hungry For?

There is an interactive forum on the BodyPositive website that asks readers to finish the following sentences: 1. “If I let myself eat anything I