Podcast Episode 24 Transcript – Thoughts on the Non-Diet Approach and HAES

Aidan 

00:00:06 – 00:01:00

Hello. And welcome back to the ideal nutrition podcast. I am Aidan Muir and I’m here with my co-host, Leah Higl. And this is Episode 24. Today we are going to be talking or sharing our thoughts on the non-diet approach and health at every size. This is a bit of a complex topic. This is a topic where I feel like both of us see good aspects from both approaches. And it’s a bit of a thing where people tend to sit pretty strongly in either camp, the further you go in either direction. The list of the good stuff you see from the other camp basically, um, jumping into it and defining what is the non-diet approach. It is a broad topic. So, the non-diet approach and HAES at their core. I just wait neutral approaches to health. 

Aidan

00:01:04 – 00:01:12

it’s just a weight neutral approach, so it’s treating someone regarding the same regardless of what body size they’re in. 

Leah

00:01:12 – 00:01:43

Yeah, and you can improve health without focusing on weight. There’s a lot of ways you can do that. So it is an appealing message. But as always kind of saying earlier, I feel like if you go too far in one direction, um, it can cause issues. And some components can take this concept too far as well, to the point that could arguably be detrimental. But there is a lot of good aspects to go through that leading into what are some of these good aspects. 

Leah

00:01:43 – 00:02:16

We’re going to start on a positive note because I feel like there are there are so many good aspects to the HAES or non diet approach. So the first part of that is that when we’re looking at statistics for weight loss and weight loss maintenance. They’re not like people just don’t maintain the weight loss most of the time. So I think most people like 95% of people within a five year period. Post weight loss regain their weight. So that’s only 5% of people succeeding in that weight loss area. 

Aidan

00:02:16 – 00:02:32

I wouldn’t put it as like strict of a number on it, like the 95% number is shared a lot, but like I wouldn’t go that strict on it like I would say, somewhere between 80 and 95%. And it doesn’t necessarily matter, because whichever angle you look at it, that’s grim like that. 

Leah

00:02:35 – 00:02:53

Particularly when you factor in that there is like a mental burden associated with dieting and every time you do it. And if the chances like if we were going worst case scenario, like 95% it was 95% chance. When you start dieting, you’re going to regain it. It’s a savage thing to go through. 

Leah

00:02:54 – 00:03:17

So if you know that maybe dieting is not going to be super successful for someone long term, it’s also going to be really hard to do. It’s maybe going to affect their quality of life for that individual. I think it makes a lot of sense to take a weight neutral approach and focus on everything else you can do from a health perspective that isn’t just so focused on this, like one aspect of their like that full person. 

Aidan

00:03:17 – 00:03:45

Yeah, exactly. And like it was something like I posted on Instagram earlier, but it’s kind of like If somebody is so focused on the weight aspect, they could miss a lot of other easy winds that they could get by focusing just on as an example. What would I do if I was at a healthy bear? My, How would I treat this condition? Health situation, whatever differently. Um, there are a lot of positive ways you can look at that and positive outcomes to get to. 

Leah

00:03:45 – 00:03:52

Yeah, and when it comes to weight loss as well, I love the saying that you have in terms of it being a contact sport.

Aidan

00:03:52 – 00:04:03

stealing that from vitamin PhD. I’m not saying I’m still from dieting is a contact sport. It comes with risks, even when done risks. 

Leah

00:04:03 – 00:04:38

so I know I work with a lot of people who have developed unhealthy relationship with food disordered eating patterns, full blown eating disorders from dieting. Having been in bigger bodies and there just consistently trying to lose weight because that’s what the health professionals around them are telling them to do, not offering them anything else. So they’re just in this cycle of disordered eating and also not losing their weight so the quality of life isn’t good, and the health is often worse than if they didn’t try to lose weight at all. So from that aspect, I also think HAES can be a good approach for those people. 

Aidan

00:04:38 – 00:05:01

Yeah, and like this is just something popular in my mind. It’s like, say you’re aiming so you don’t have a large calorie budget to start off with and you’re aiming for a decent sized calorie deficit, and then you’re on low calories and you’re trying to implement all these flexible dieting concepts and stuff like that. But you just don’t have a large calorie budget to start off because you’re aiming for low calories like you can only be so flexible like that is going to feel restrictive no matter how you look at it to start off with. 

Aidan

00:05:01 – 00:05:18

Um, and once again, what if you’re aiming for that? You’re aiming for this restriction, but you’re also not always achieving it as well. You kind of get the worst of both. 

Leah

00:05:18 – 00:05:43

So Fiona Wheeler is a researcher. That is very much in this space. Like I see her as kind of leading the charge in Australia for this particular approach. That’s just kind of what I’ve seen. She said something really great on another podcast about putting the individual at the center of your treatment, which we should all be doing anyway, like always. Um, but I think sometimes in this case, we don’t 

Leah

00:05:43 – 00:06:14

That person should have all the information they need to make a decision on their own health. But usually when someone goes to see a health professional and they are in a larger body, particularly if they are also metabolically not that healthy at the time, the only thing that is offered to them is weight loss. There’s no other approach offered to them where something like improving dietary quality in a weight neutral way, increasing exercise and all that stuff. It’s an option. It could still improve their health and their quality of life, but they’re just not being offered it 

Aidan

00:06:14 – 00:06:54

100%. Yeah, and we might touch on that a little bit more later. Obviously, we know it’s always the client’s choice, but, like, I never really thought about that clearly being like, they should know that the neutral approach exists and they should have all the information about that. Ideally, in a perfect world should have a good understanding of weight loss, focus approaches or weight centric focus approaches and weight neutral approaches, or also a comment like the good from each camp kind of approach as well. Um, they should have all that information and then make their own decision, obviously, whereas it we can guide clients pretty comfortably towards whatever we would like. If somebody has a weight loss bias, they can often guide people towards that. If somebody has a weight neutral bias, if they pitch in the right way, they can often guide there the patient towards or the client towards it. So it is interesting that’s like in a perfect world, they’re not guided by any bias, and they just choose whatever they think is best for them.

Leah

00:07:14 – 00:07:26

People usually come to you for a solution that you think is best as well. So if you are too far in one camp or the other and you have that strong bias, it’s the only thing you’re offering. Then, of course, that person is going to do what you say. 

Aidan

00:07:26 – 00:07:53

Yeah, for sure. I suppose we’ve tried talking through some of the positive things. I feel like we haven’t fully done it justice because there is there are so many. I think, talking about weight stigma in general and body acceptance is such a big part of this for you and me. We don’t talk a lot about body image because it’s not something we, I guess, personally struggle with a tonne. So, it’s not something that comes up, but it’s a huge part of this discussion. 

Leah

00:07:53 – 00:08:40

Let’s briefly do some weight stigma stuff. One thing that I often find very, very relevant is that people who are in larger bodies, if they feel like they’ve been judged by a health professional that they have gone to see they’re less likely to come back. That is a very, very common story. And that, in turn, makes on average people who are in larger bodies less likely to seek medical help. And it makes them, on average, wait until conditions progress further to seek medical help, which then leads to worse outcomes overall, so simply due to having a higher BMI, on average, people are going to get worse medical care due to that aspect of life stigma. Before we even factor in the stuff. 

Aidan

00:08:40 – 00:09:14

We kind of talked about being like, say, a health professional has a 20-minute consult with the client, and they only have 20 minutes to go through what they think can help you find the most. They spend most of the time talking about weight loss because they think that’s going to help the client most because it could help in a lot of cases. But once again, what if the statistics are showing that 95% people are going to lose weight, regain it over five years or whatever? Um, what if for that individual, the weight loss is actually not going to happen? Or the weight loss maintenance, they’re not going to happen? Whatever aspects of care could have been focused on in that 20 minute session that could have helped them more. Um, in some cases, they might be getting worse care because of that. 

Aidan

00:09:14 – 00:09:50

How many times could somebody who has a BMI of 20 received medication straight away, that somebody who was at a BMI of 40 would have been told to lose weight? And that’s an even more complex question because it’s kind of like doctors want to focus on lifestyle changes first. That’s also a good message. It’s always like, Let’s not just give medications first, but it’s interesting because it’s like if somebody to be in my trained they would they would get the medication. Whereas somebody who has a larger BMI might get that far later in the process because of all these things, there’s so many aspects and there’s no right or wrong answer because it’s a complex topic.

Leah

00:09:50 – 00:11:17

Its super complex. And I think something that I always think of is also the people that go into the doctor’s office and they’re in a larger body. But they’re also metabolically healthy, like there’s nothing that has come up yet to say that I don’t necessarily need to lose weight yet. There’s still always pushed in that often usually pushed in that direction. And I’m like, I don’t know. There’s nothing that comes up on paper for that person. Sure, there is a bit of a higher risk of some of those things. So maybe higher frequency of screening. That person is going to be ideal, but jumping straight to Yeah, you need to lose weight. I’m going to send you to a dietician to do that, that was unrelated like that was, And then that feeds into the whole. 

Are they going to be less like to see a doctor when they got to rush in the future? Because I just don’t want to hear it was done with it. Yeah, so I guess we’ll go into the next kind of aspect, which is talking about why we I say we. But I’m just going to start with me like, why am I personally not a non-diet dietitian? And why don’t I take a weight neutral approach with everybody. For example, um, one of these aspects is that body composition, as in how much muscle and how much fat we have, and health are not separate topics, as I was kind of talking about just one example. But, like in the previous podcast 

Leah

00:11:17 – 00:12:00

Insulin resistance, the more body fat we have typically, the more insulin resistant we get in comparison to ourselves in our own baseline, obviously, is individual variation between people. But typically the more body fat you have, the more insulin resistant you become on average, obviously complex topic. It’s a risk factor for higher cholesterol. It’s a risk factor for higher blood pressure, typically somebody with high cholesterol, blood pressure or whatever, on average, if they lose 5 to 10% of their body mass. These markers improve if you get a group of 20 plus people and they overweight or obese to start off with, and they have elevated cholesterol, blood glucose levels, blood pressure and all 20 of them lose 10% of the body weight on average, all of these markets are going to drop.

Aidan

00:12:01 – 00:12:46

To say that they are completely separate topics would be missing the mark. Just as much as focusing solely on ways they both go. They both matter. You can improve those markers without weight loss, or you could improve it through a variety of methods involving weight loss and one of the studies that kind of like blew my mind a little bit. You’ve read the smiles trial. Yeah, um, so smiles Trial was a study on a Mediterranean diet for depression or a modified Mediterranean diet for depression. But they measured blood glucose levels, and they measured BMI and a few other things, and it was intentionally a weight neutral approach. It was intentionally an amount of food that people would maintain their weight on it specifically because that’s going to be a variable in depression. 

Aidan

00:12:47 – 00:13:29

But in that study, they dramatically improve their dietary quality. Like I’m talking like night and day difference. Obviously self-reported, we can’t trust it completely but like they dramatically increased their intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, um, healthy fats in general, whether that’s like omega-3’s or whether that stuff like avocado, olive oil, stuff like that and dramatically reduce their intake of junk food and their cholesterol just did not change. Their blood pressure just did not change. And that was one of the first studies that really got me thinking in terms of like, I’ve never seen that in a study where people have dropped 5 to 10% or more body weight every single time on average that drops. There can be outliers out there. But as I’m saying, they’re not completely separate topics. 

Leah

00:13:33 – 00:14:11

Yeah, I think you went over it pretty well. I think it’s important to note that when you are in a larger body and you have things like diabetes or pre-diabetes or high cholesterol, any of those kinds of metabolic disorders is that weight loss can have a really dramatic effect on those disorders. I think the issue comes with weight loss is a realistic goal, like it could have an amazing effect. But is it actually going to happen? So I’m very torn on this, like I don’t sit strongly in any care because I just yeah, I feel like the pros and cons are very equal.

Aidan

00:14:11 – 00:15:25

I think that that is going to be the more interesting thing. We really want to talk about where it’s kind of like, Okay, the health aspect that that is there, like it can help from there if it is going to happen. Obviously, there’s other reasons people want to lose weight. Like literally. That’s fair, like it’s a what’s the word like it is something you can just want to do. Um, sporting performance, all these other things. There’s a whole bunch of reasons, Um, so going into that, if one of the things is like this success rates, that’s always something that’s kind of stood out with me If it’s like if it’s somewhere between 80 to 95% of people who lose weight regained weight. 

I’ve always been like some people make the argument that, like if it’s that high, is it ethical to promote weight loss and that that kind of thing is always stuck in because I’m like, Well, I do help people with weight loss. I want to be ethical in my way of doing things like I can’t do a professional. I don’t feel good about, and it’s kind of like How good does the statistics have to get before it becomes ethical? What if 50% of people who lost weight regain weight? Then suddenly 50% are maintaining this weight loss. And that’s a hard thing where it’s like, Where do you draw the line on this in terms of, like, how bad do the statistics have to be? 

Aidan

00:15:26 – 00:16:45

It’s more an acceptable kind of pursuit. Another thing that I often considered as well is right. Loss does not need to be a negative kind of experience. The further down the non-diet rabbit hole you get, the more you start focusing on little details like you get hungrier. As you enter a calorie deficit, you feel more restricted. It is a contact sport. As we said, there are a lot of downsides that come alongside it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Like this is a really bad example. I hate using something to think about where it’s like you’re eating at maintenance calories, and that’s a super comfortable experience.

Calories, having minimal restriction? All these things, it should necessarily be a good thing, particularly not trying too hard. Is there much difference between that and being in a 200 calorie deficit for a short period of time? They’re very similar experiences, even though the 200 calorie deficit could actively be dieting. 300 calorie deficit. Maybe it’s getting a little bit more severe. Like it obviously can get our hand the further you go, and there’s so many ways to do it like even a larger calorie deficit, as I’ve spoken about previously as well. Like, I think that can be okay for certain situations as well. But the thing I’m getting is like this context with this, where it’s kind of like you could put a blanket statement as all dieting is bad or weight loss approaches are bad, so to speak. But it doesn’t have to be a negative experience, and some people also are better suited, and some people are worse suited for it as well.

Aidan

00:17:00 – 00:17:20

I think, is going to notice. Well, like in a weight neutral approach, people can still lose weight like that could still be an outcome is not necessary. It’s just not. That’s not. That’s not what you’re aiming for. The goal. Focus. But in changing certain things about your lifestyle, you might lose weight. You might gain weight, you might maintain, so that’s also a part of it as well. 

Leah

00:17:20 – 00:18:51

Yeah, that’s an interesting point to, um, in terms of another thing that I also consider is like potentially, a screening process could make sense, like either formal or informal like this. You would see this as well, where it’s like there’s some people who walk in and they want weight loss and, like instantly like seeing red flags everywhere and being like, I really don’t necessarily want to go down this route, whereas like there can be some other people who like it’s just something comfortable, like we can talk about experiences like athletes and stuff like that. Like what if? What if I’m working with a power lifter who has intentionally gone up a weight class for a competition, and then they’re like, I just want to my next comp at a lower weight class and say They’ve got a great relationship with food and all of these kind of things, and they every time they’ve decided previously, it’s been easy for them. And every time they’ve moved up a weight class, it’s been easy for them is never a stressful kind of thing for them, like that’s a really easy scenario where weight loss is suddenly quite acceptable versus somebody who clearly has a history of struggling right. 

There’s a very big difference, and I think that goes into a lot of like the kind of clients we work with, and that probably feeds into our approach. Our thoughts on this as well is we work with a lot of athletes and a lot of athletes are okay and manipulating their weight and dieting, and they don’t face any negative consequences in doing so. So I’m not going to be anti diet for those people. But I’m definitely anti diet for some people that come through the clinic and go look, maybe you’re just not the best candidate for weight loss, at least not right now until we sort out all of these other red flags that we’ve got going on. 

Aidan

00:18:51 – 00:19:21

Yeah, Yeah. And then, like, sharing experiences, favour, Like something like, I used to care about this topic a lot more than I do now, because, like, experiences have been so good. Like I When I first started learning about the non diet approach and I saw these statistics and stuff like that, I was like, Am I working with a tone of people who are helping to lose weight and then they are going to read? Dana and I actually tracked my statistics for 2.5 years, and it’s obviously hard, like, we can’t accurately do this because, like, what if somebody saw me and then they stopped seeing me. I wouldn’t have the data of them 2.5 years light up. 

Leah

00:19:22 – 00:19:49

But the statistics were good. Most people were losing weight. Most people will maintain their weight loss. Most people seemed happy. From what I can tell, I can’t be in their mind. I can’t tell exactly what’s going on, but it seems to be pretty good. And then just over time, like I’m now five plus years in this, I can’t see my old client because they were in a previous job or whatever. But like it seems like most people who lost right maintained the weight loss, at least over that 2.5 year period. And I’ve been doing this new role for 2.5 years. It seems the same. 

Aidan

00:19:49 – 00:20:23

that’s where I’m coming back to that kind of percentages kind of thing where it’s kinda but like the other thing that I did want to touch on that, though. And this was actually a point that Fiona will are brought up to me privately, which made me think for a very, very long time, which is like, What if you’re just working with people who are well suited for weight loss? Just what we’re talking about like and I thought about it like I did like him, particularly that previous job I lucked into a situation was very, very conducive. These people I was working with were more likely than the average to lose weight to maintain it. Same thing with power lifters and stuff like that who I’m working with now. They are probably more likely than the average person. 

Leah

00:20:23 – 00:20:41

I work with other dietitians who are definitely more HAES approach than I am. And it probably goes to the fact they’re working with a lot of people in the eating disorder space and people that struggle with body dissatisfaction. So, yeah, maybe the HAES approach works better for that classification of people. 

Aidan

00:20:41 – 00:21:04

Yeah, for sure, for sure. Onto the next topic, though. Because if we’re thinking about and then, like Okay, what if somebody does want to go down the route of intentional weight loss? What if they do have all of the options they’ve thought it through? And this is what I want to do. What are some things that we think we should keep in mind? And we can kind of go like 12 and this, like, back and forth? 

Leah

00:21:04 – 00:21:26

Yeah. So I think the biggest thing to start off with is a focus on how you’re going to maintain weight loss, post weight loss journey. I think that we’ve talked about this before quite a few times, but it’s an important part of that process that a lot of people just we don’t think about. We don’t think about that journey, purse weight loss in order to maintain it. So there needs to be more of an emphasis there. 

Aidan

00:21:26 – 00:22:44

Yeah, and like statistically speaking, like most people who attempt to lose weight, they will lose weight at some time in their life. Statistically speaking, the weight loss part is the easy part. Um, on that topic, something I’m pretty passionate about is maintaining exercise throughout the process and post weight loss. I’m a big believer based on the research that I’ve seen. That exercise is not really that useful tool for weight loss in the process. The kind of way I look at is the average 12 week study where people start exercising three times a week. They might lose like an average of one kid like it’s like it’s a lot less than you’d actually expect. 

It seems to be so strongly linked with maintaining weight loss. People who maintain a high level of exercise or whatever they kind of did on the way down seem to be so, so much more likely to maintain that weight loss. Um, there’s one statistic I’ve seen that somewhere along the lines of, like if people maintain the same level exercise they did on the way down after ending the diet, they have a great and future sent chance of maintaining weight loss. 

Sometimes I question like, How can these two statistics coexist? How can that exist? And the 80 to 95% kind of number exists and like, it’s a bit of a thing where it’s like, Well, clearly, most people do actually focus more on exercise during the weight loss, and they don’t maintain that high level, post weight loss. The same with diet is it’s all drops off once you hit that goal a lot of the time. 

Leah 

00:22:48 – 00:23:00

Yeah, for sure. And like on that topic, I’m also a believer that you don’t necessarily need to love exercise. But if you think about like this, whatever you do, it’s got to be something that you like, are willing to continue doing long term. 

Leah

00:23:00 – 00:23:19

Something I always say is if you can find like if you can find something that you enjoy doing in any kind of context, it could be roller skating. It could be anything. Then it’s going to make it easier to do, though you don’t need to love exercise. But I think for sustainability purposes, it makes sense to choose something you’re at least semi interested in. 

Aidan

00:23:20 – 00:23:32

Yeah, it’s gonna be something you’re interested in, something you’re willing to continue doing. I also just kind of worry about like, Well, what if you don’t like any exercise? That’s also what if you’re What if you’re 25 plus years old and you still haven’t found anything? 

Leah

00:23:32 – 00:24:24

Yeah, it’s a hard one. So another huge thing in this space in regard to dieting as well that I see all the time, is having a very dichotomous mindset. Things are very black and white. You’re either on your very strict diet or you’re not at all. And you’re kind of blowing out. People that have that black and white economist kind of thinking towards dieting tend to be less successful in actually reaching that goal and then once again in maintaining it. So even like, that’s probably where you see a lot of the people that do really well, they lose a bunch of weight. They’re very strict for a period of time. And then once they’ve reached their goal, um, and they’re no longer dieting, then they just kind they’ve gone off the rails because they’re not on diet anymore, so they must be off diet. So having some kind of grey area where you exist in is going to help a lot when it comes to weight loss and maintenance 

Aidan

00:24:24 – 00:24:56

100%. And like that sounds like you could be listening to this and be like, Oh, that’s like an opinion or something like that. But like that is like a common thing in the research, like there has been systematic reviews done on people who have maintained long term weight loss. It’s like what factors they have in common, and one of the main factors they have in common is they’re not dichotomous thinkers. They’re flexible in their approach. When things don’t go perfectly and stuff like that, they’re not just off the diet like it’s not that black and white. 

Leah

00:24:56 – 00:25:34

The next thing that is relevant is eating. More protein can help with satiety. You can also help keep total daily energy expenditure a little bit higher, partly due to the thermic effect of food, but partly due to having more muscle over the long term and increasing basil metabolic rate. This is not a huge one. This is not something that’s like You can’t just grab 1000 people, increase their protein intake and then see where the way it ends up in five years’ time and have it on average, come out significantly lower. That has actually kind of been so. It’s like it is a factor, but it’s one of many factors, and it’s nowhere near as strong as the one you just mentioned. But it is something that is, like in there a little bit and something that is a factor that can help

Leah

00:25:34 – 00:26:07

Yeah, I mean, your hunger is probably going to adjust over time, depending on whatever kind of variable decide to change in the dieting process. So that’s something. Um, and another thing on that line of thought is also fibre. So we know that increasing fibre intake or having a high fibre intake can also help with satiety. It can help you maintain a calorie deficit. Focusing on a lot of high fibre volume is foods. Um, so that is something that can definitely assist you in your weight loss journey. But again, over time, that might become less helpful. 

Aidan

00:26:08 – 00:27:11

The longer you diet, something that I see so obviously and so clearly, but I’ve never really thought it through until I saw a study that pointed out in this kind of wording is having a similar weekend intake in comparison to your weekly intake during the week? Can help significantly with maintaining weight loss is a common theme, and that’s something that, like kind of sucks. It’s kind of like how many people kind of look forward to the weekend having more food and stuff like that, and it’s one of its out of all of these things. It’s one of the variables that, like I kind of less care about because, like there’s ways around this, like you can have slightly less calories during the week and slightly more calories a week, and that is fine, and you can still maintain weight loss with that. 

But happened to just eat very similar on the weekend to how they work to eat during the weekday, it could make sense that their weekly calorie intake is going to end up on average a little bit lower and make it easier to maintain weight loss. This is just a variable that makes it easier. It doesn’t necessarily mean me saying That’s what I think everybody should go and do. But it is something that is linked with maintaining weight loss, and I think we forget how large a percentage of the week the weekend, actually in terms of calories.

Leah

00:27:21 – 00:27:52

We also know that having support around you is also a really big factor in being able to lose weight and maintain weight. If you’re in a household where your friends and family aren’t supporting you in that journey, or maybe also live with people who have their own issues with food, that can be really difficult. So having some support big part of this and that includes, like practitioners and stuff like that, like dieticians, GPS, whatever, like having someone to guide you along that process when you’re not really sure you know what the best road to take it and accountability to.

Aidan

00:27:52 – 00:28:33

Another thing that I find really interesting is not really one of my passion projects or anything like that, but, like mindful eating like if people eat more mindfully. It typically is linked with weight loss matches and so, like stuff like eating slower, chewing, more thoroughly, paying attention to taste, smell and texture of foods. All of those kind of things. And part of where that can help is like even from once again, like a weight neutral perspective. And stuff like that is, it’s like that is the opposite of binge. Eating like that is like You can’t be in Jeep and be mindful eating at the same time. Um, it has a lot of indirect benefits. It’s not a necessity. It’s not something that is something you need to do to achieve this. But it can indirectly help pretty significantly. 

Leah

00:28:33 – 00:28:49

Yeah, If you’re flexible and mindful of what you’re eating, then you’re much less likely to overeat on a number of occasions over the week and therefore more likely to be at a calorie maintenance level. Um, so I think that is definitely an underrated one for sure.

Leah

00:28:51 – 00:29:22

One that you like to talk about all the time. It’s definitely diet breaks when we’re dying, and I’ve kind of grown to love this, too, and it’s something I’ve implemented in my own practice, and I’ve had I’ve just found It works so well and just from the like, just practicing. Being at maintenance can help so much and just kind of knowing what that feels like before you actually get to your goal and try to maintain You’ve had so much practice at it during that journey, and I think that’s something that’s underrated just in our profession in general and something I’ve kind of grown to love. 

Aidan

00:29:22 – 00:30:10

Yeah, and it also like, I feel like I’m going to ramble on about this, but like it uncovers some stuff as well. Like what if somebody was 110 kg and their goal was 85 as an example? And we chuck a diet break in there at 95 for example, and they find it hard to maintain. At 95 it can be eye opening in terms of being like is the pursuit of 85 worth? It is the pursuit of 85 Likely is that like it gives that chance to practice maintenance, as you said, and like what if that maintenance doesn’t go well? Let’s say 95. In that scenario that suddenly becomes something that’s uncovered. It’s like, Well, you really need to work on this in some way, shape or form because otherwise, what’s going to happen when you get to 85 anyway? 

Leah 

00:30:10 – 00:30:22

Yeah, rather than all kind of unravelling once you reach your goal, you’ve had a chance to kind of pick things up and address them along that journey rather than being really overwhelmed at the end of going crap. How am I going to maintain this? 

Aidan

00:30:22 – 00:31:39

Yeah, for sure. So another one that I find interesting but like nutrition knowledge, I think nutrition knowledge can help. There’s two sides of this coin. One of them is. Most people feel like they know what to do, but they just don’t do it. That is a common thing I hear from people. It’s a common statement, and that is kind of true. Like acknowledge isn’t the answer, like, it’s not the only thing that matters. There are a lot of people with incredible nutrition knowledge who struggle with weight management and stuff like that. So it’s like this isn’t the only thing, but it is a thing. It is something that can help. 

There’s a lot of people who don’t have as much knowledge as I do on nutrition that I think could be beneficial. Like there’s a lot of things that make this whole journey so much easier. And there’s a lot of things I use, like you can’t logic your way out of like, for example, we talk about scale, weight and stuff like that. But logic can still help like it can still help. Um, there’s a lot of people who stressed about stuff that don’t need to be stressed about and like improving nutrition knowledge can help. Particularly somebody’s not coming from a great baseline. If somebody doesn’t understand macro nutrients, learning about macronutrients might help. I’m not saying it will help, but it can help.

Leah

00:31:39 – 00:32:22

Once again you are empowering that person to really take control of their own destiny in a way by just having that little bit of knowledge. Um, and there’s also the fact that we know that maintaining your weight for just a year is going to improve ability to maintain that for the longer terms of five plus years. So I think when we’re talking about weight maintenance, we should probably talk about maybe there’s a phase post weight loss that you’re still may be working with a professional or really kind of striving for. How am I going kind of going back to our first point? But how can I do this and maintain this for a year? And then maybe it becomes easier and more intuitive for you after that. But there needs to potentially be a space of time where you’re actively, that’s your active goal. 

Aidan

00:32:22 – 00:32:59

Yeah, and that, firstly, like my understanding of that kind of statistic, is if you maintain your weight loss for greater than one year, you’ve got a great and 50% chance of maintaining it over five years. The odds just get stacked in your favour and do that and then also add the exercising and then add all these other things. We’ve talked about it like how good to the odds kind of start getting. It’s obviously not that simple, but like that is something to consider. It’s like maybe that, as you said, that phase postcard is so important, which I agree, because it’s also like, even physiologically and just like psychologically, it makes so much sense, like we know about metabolic adaptation. We know about hunger increasing across the course of diet. We know about restriction increasing and how you feel, like imagine just visualising yourself.

Aidan

00:32:59 – 00:33:56

Just thinking about in terms of being like you’ve dieted. For 12 plus weeks, you’ve been on low calories. You’re starting to get pretty hungry. You start to get pretty fatigued. You remember what it felt like to feel good, And you want to kind of go back to that? Um, and you start missing foods that you previously had an amount that you have. You might be missing certain experiences and stuff like that. Like what If you were somebody who took a more restrictive approach and you miss out on situations with friends, family, all these kind of things. You are now in the position where you want higher calorie food the most, not the list of the most in the moment. You introduce something that kind of like for some people, can kind of make you unleashed in terms of like, you want food more and more and more once you start having some nice tasting food again. Um, and I personally think the one month period post diet is the most important and then looking towards that kind of one year time frame. And then after that, it seems so far more likely to be smooth sailing.

Leah

00:33:56 – 00:34:16

Going back to that really grim weight loss maintenance statistic. What’s the, I guess the the lack likelihood of someone doing all 10 or 11 of these points that we’ve talked about that is probably not happening. But what if what if people did? Yeah. Would that statistic get way better? 

Aidan

00:34:16 – 00:35:15

Yeah, so that that is a key thing, because it’s like on one thing to consider from the listeners is kind of like That’s the common argument that everybody has, and it’s an argument I’ve always had. But then it’s also like we the argument in favour of the non data approach is or HAES is. Your health at every size is basically we don’t see that in the research. We’ve never seen it implemented well in research, there is no study or not. Many studies without bariatric surgery, where people have lost great in 10% of body weight and maintain it for five years. That just doesn’t exist. I guess what the better question is in this context is what’s the feasibility of doing all 10 or 11 of those things because that kind of gets into the HAES approach from an individual basis. In terms of me working individually with clients, I’m super comfortable because we can get enough of these things to get these results or whatever. It’s just it’s just live sample size, big study having to when you make a study, you’ve got to do an intervention to kind of cover everybody. Like a few things seem to start falling apart. 

Leah

00:35:17 – 00:36:11

Yeah, it’s an interesting one and the last thing that I want to touch on in terms of, like weight, neutral approaches and stuff like that, there is another interesting question. Is one downside that’s often pointed out is what if somebody loses weight and then they start regaining way. Firstly, thinking what rate? Two people regain weight, and obviously it’s individual. I’m not even an attempt to put a number out there, but what happens if the weight loss never occurred? What if, say they didn’t take a weight neutral approach, say they just continue doing what they were kind of doing? Most people, on average, continue gaining a certain amount of weight every year anyway. And there is an argument that some people would make this like it would be better to lose 20 kg and regain for per year, for example, or maybe more. I don’t I don’t matter than it would be for them to have never lost that at all and then just continue gaining for per year in that scenario to start off with. 

Aidan

00:36:11 – 00:36:28

Yeah, but what about chronic yo yo dieter who lose weight and then regain more, over and over and over again? You always think about. That’s another thing. So obviously it’s a complex topic because we don’t have, like, a stance so strongly on it. But I guess, yeah, there’s a Those are my thoughts. 

Leah

00:36:28 – 00:37:14

it is interesting. And that’s kind of the point of all this. Like there is so many positive aspects as well. Like there are so many people who would benefit from implementing so many more of the weight neutral kind of approach and something that I find myself is like like I do lean a little bit more towards if you didn’t catch the vibe, but like a little bit more towards, like, weight loss, being beneficial in some situations. But I do take the good aspects from it. But like I often find when I’m speaking to people who are very wait centric that I become the polar opposite. And I’m thinking like you’re overlooking a lot of very important things here from the weight neutral approach from the haze approaching and non part approach as well. 

This has been Episode 24 of the ideal nutrition podcast. Thank you for listening.