WHAT WE BELIEVE
First things first...
We believe that Jesus is God. Because of His fanatical, unconditional love for us He is full of mercy and grace and ready to extend that completely to us. Through His power, He is also able to heal us from our struggles with food and body image.
Now lets break down the rest...
What does non-diet mean?
A non-diet approach focuses on developing a healthy relationship with food. Instead of relying on calories, portions, and food rules to determine when and how much to eat, a non-dieter relies on internal body signals such as hunger, fullness, cravings, intolerances, digestion, and energy levels to guide eating choices. A non-diet approach is weight-inclusive, meaning individuals who follow a non-diet approach are not pursuing weight loss. Instead, non-dieters accept their genetic blue print, which largely dictates body weight and shape. Non-dieters engage in physical activity because it is pleasurable and enhances physical and mental health and well-being, and not for the sake of weight loss. Proponents of a non-diet approach are passionate about eradicating weight stigma and believe that it’s impossible to determine one’s health habits or health status based on weight status or appearance.
What does a non-diet approach have to do with Jesus?
Pursuing weight loss through restrictive dieting and rigorous exercise patterns can become all-consuming, leading one down a slippery slope towards disordered eating. It’s easy for food choices to start taking center stage. Sometimes, this unhealthy relationship with food can progress into a dangerous clinical eating disorder. When food choices become all-encompassing, it can be a distraction, keeping us from serving and loving others. While God calls us to take care of ourselves, He doesn’t want us worrying about food choices or appearances. And He certainly doesn’t want us putting any other gods before Him. In a dieting mindset, we’re often tempted to worship the scale and compare ourselves to unrealistic images we see in the media, instead of expressing gratitude for the way He created each of us different and unique.
Does non-dieting mean that we should eat potato chips and ice cream and sit on the couch all day?
Not exactly. It is important to honor cravings, and God delights in the pleasure we experience from potato chips and ice cream. However, a non-diet approach isn’t just about listening and responding to our taste buds. It’s about listening to our whole body (including our taste buds). Some potato chips and ice cream feels good in the mouth, but a large amount often leads to an upset stomach and fatigue. A non-diet approach involves slowing down and staying mindful during and after the eating experience to notice how the food feels, both while chewing and swallowing and also hours later. How many potato chips is needed to satisfy a craving for a salty and crunchy snack? And how many potato chips feels like too much and leads to feelings of sluggishness, or issues with digestion? The answer is very individual and something for you to explore through trial and error. The key is to stay curious and simply notice how it feels. Eat in a way that gives you the best energy so that you can pursue God’s purpose in your life (which will probably be a mostly balanced mix of food groups), while also delighting in the many food flavors, textures, and colors He put on this earth.
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating involves paying attention while you eat to notice the flavors, textures, and pleasure of the eating experience. Becoming a more mindful eater is part of a non-diet approach. When we slow down and give thanks to God for our food, this is one piece of being a mindful eater – expressing gratitude for a pleasurable eating experience, which is often enjoyed in community with others. Food is meant to be celebrated and cherished, not scarfed down with a gulp of guilt and shame.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating involves paying attention to hunger and fullness cues to guide eating timing and amounts. God gave us these natural stomach cues to guide our eating decisions. We can’t always eat when we’re hungry and sometimes emotions lead us to eat when we’re not hungry. It’s normal to not be “perfect” at intuitive eating. However, a non-diet approach involves, for the most part, allowing these God-given cues to help us plan for eating. For example, if you are hungry every three hours or so, it’s helpful to pack meals and snacks so that you can satisfy a hunger cue in order to stay energized and well-fueled throughout the day. Overeating happens on occasion, and often results in feeling sluggish and lethargic. It can be helpful to slow down the eating process a bit so that we can find a comfortable stopping place. By leaving a meal comfortably full, instead of overly full, we’re more likely to have the energy we need for our jobs, friends, and families.
What is Health At Every Size®?
Health At Every Size® is a label often used synonymously with a non-diet, weight-inclusive approach. There are five principles, which can be read here. The focus of Health At Every Size® is ending weight stigma and ensuring that all people, regardless of weight status, are given equal access to resources and practices that support health and well-being.
Health At Every Size® and HAES are registered trademarks of the Association for Size Diversity and Health and used with permission