DIETITIAN Melissa O'Loughlan says ditching the concept of fad diets and food rules is about more than empowering women. This move is about helping women to trust themselves and their bodies.
The Ballarat dietitian wants to help women feel good in their own bodies, easing the pressure of guilt she said was too often associated with food and yo-yo dieting. She is teaming with a Ballarat yoga studio for a workshop in promoting body positive messages.
Ms O'Loughlan said culturally there was a long-entrenched stigma about food and bigger bodies and, too often, this created shame.
"I see so many women in my practice who have been dieting on and off for years, often decades, and they are done with calorie counting, following meal plans or following someone else’s food rules," Ms O'Loughlan said. "They often feel they are alone or feel they are the only ones who cannot stick to their diet all the time. It's just not true.
"This approach is about empowering people...part of that is cultural across the whole society when we're taught certain food is a good or bad thing."
Ms O'Loughlan said social media and fit-trends were increasingly having an impact on how people felt they should look and eat but fad-diets had been about in different forms for generations.
Only, now there was a growing movement of body-positive activists, particularly in the yoga space.
Absolute Yoga and Pilates in Ballarat has been hosting classes billed for bigger bodies and men since July to help people of all abilities and body shapes find the way to move best for their body. Classes aim to reduce feelings of self-consciousness.
Ms O'Loughlan's workshop aimed to build on these and the studio's body love yoga sessions, encouraging health at every size.
Ditch Dieting will incorporate mindful eating techniques and tips to move on from fad dieting. Ms O'Loughlan said tuning into body wisdom created more awareness of feeling full and enjoying foods, rather than limiting certain foods only to binge later.
"Food is about so much more than nutrients, it's also about pleasure and connections," Ms O'Loughlan said.
"Dieting and body shame takes up so much energy. Imagine what could be achieved instead."
Ditch Dieting is at Absolute Yoga and Pilates on March 9. Workshop price includes a donation to The Butterfly Foundation, which supports people with eating disorders and negative body image.
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