What does it mean to practice as a “weight neutral” practitioner?
For those who know me or who have worked with me in the past, you may wonder why I now refer to myself as a “weight neutral” practitioner when I previously specialized in what is referred to as “weight management.” (You can read more about this transition in my personal/professional life here)
Being a weight neutral provider means you don’t use weight as a benchmark of “success” or “failure.” It means not focusing treatment on losing a certain number of pounds. It means not pushing you to lose weight as part of treatment. Weight is not as much in our control as we think it is. Many factors may influence weight—genetics, metabolism, gut microbial balance, thyroid function, medications, inflammation, blood sugar/insulin balance, hormone balance, medications, history of dieting, etc. It isn’t simply a matter of “calories in/calories out”—weight is very complex. Research also shows very low success rates of keeping weight off >2 years (as in 5% of people) for those who diet to lose weight, and chronic dieting can cause further weight gain over time.
Being a weight neutral provider means focusing on behaviors that research shows can positively impact health. This may include using inner and outer wisdom to choose foods which enhance your health, moving your body regularly in “non-punishing” ways, managing stress, getting adequate sleep/rest, taking care of your mental/emotional health, etc. As a faith based provider, I may also include faith based practices/spiritual health. By not focusing on weight, but rather tuning in and focusing on self-care behaviors, weight tends to settle in a range you don’t have to fight to maintain.
Working with a weight neutral provider does not mean weight concerns are ignored; rather, they are explored with curiosity from a self-compassionate lens. By not using weight as a marker of success/failure, this can eliminate the shame which can arise from feeling like your weight is “all your fault.” It means focusing on the most important thing—taking care of you, the “whole” you.
If you are facing health concerns and are interested in working with a weight neutral dietitian, or if you want to work on letting go of the roller coaster of dieting, contact me here and I will be in touch.Follow me on social media: