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What Is the Weight-Neutral Approach?

A Dietitian Wants You to Stop Doing This 1 Common Thing When You're Trying to Get Healthy

Photographer: Maria del RioEditorial and internal use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.Photographer: Maria del RioInternal and Editorial use approved. OK for Native and Co-Branded use.

Body positivity has come to the forefront of health and wellness over the past few years. Women like model Ashley Graham and yoga instructor Jessamyn Stanley have become vocal about stopping fat-shaming and having more inclusion and diverse body types when it comes to health and wellness. While there's been so much support and change when it comes to body positivity, one thing we often leave out is diet. It's often thought that being healthy equates to having a smaller number appear on the scale, but the weight-neutral approach is changing how people see health in relation to nutrition. POPSUGAR spoke with Jessica Jones, MS, RD, of Food Heaven Made Easy about what the weight-neutral approach is and why it's becoming more mainstream.

The goal is to respect your body and learn how to cultivate healthy habits.
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The term weight-neutral may be new to some, so we asked Jones to help us understand what it means. She explained that a weight-neutral approach focuses primarily on "working outside the confines of weight loss or the pursuit of a thinner body being the main goal." The goal is to respect your body and learn how to cultivate healthy habits. Unlike traditional approaches to weight loss, weight is not used as an indicator of health. Instead of focusing on weight, the goal is to respect your body and learn how to cultivate healthy habits and behavioral changes that will help you improve your health and reach your goals.

Jones shared that, within the conventional approach, the main focus is achieving a thinner body with a majority of diets not working in the long-term. A 2016 study comparing a weight-neutral vs. weight-loss approach found that there are numerous health benefits to using a weight-neutral approach that are achievable and sustainable in the long term.

No matter where you're at on your health journey, the weight-neutral approach is a great reminder to spend less energy worrying about the numbers on the scale and to instead focus on things that will help you achieve your health goals and feel good doing it.


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