A non-diet app to help your relationship with food

A non-diet app to help your relationship with food

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Diets don’t work.

In our diet-obsessed culture, this fact can be terrifying.

That may not seem right. After all, there’s a $150 billion industry that promises to “help” us lose weight, and it can feel like everyone from doctors to smartphone apps to well-meaning relatives is trying to prescribe weight loss as a panacea (1).

But it’s true, and Bentley Adams knows it. That’s why he is the co-founder and CEO of Health methodA mindful eating app designed to help you break the diet cycle.

“We ask questions to get into the thoughts, feelings, and feelings behind the relationship with food and behind the relationship with the body,” Adams told Healthline.

Unlike some nutrition apps that use the language of anti-diet frameworks while still promoting weight loss, Way Health is not prescriptive, according to Adams. It is not rooted in changing your body. Instead, it’s supposed to help you respect your body.

“It’s a true anti-diet. Never step on the scale, never count calories, never track macros.”

Instead, Adams said, the app challenges users to ask themselves, “If you woke up tomorrow and your relationship with food could be what you want it to be, what would it look like?”

Using Way is intended to be the first step in helping users achieve that perfect relationship with food. People answer several series of self-reflective questions to get to the heart of their emotions and begin to reveal how diet culture affects them – and how to begin to break free.

It is estimated that about 55 million Americans attempt a weight loss diet each year. And while some diets initially prove effective, these results usually don’t last over time (2).

Research shows that most people regain more than 50% of the weight they lost within 2 years of starting a diet and more than 80% within 5 years (3).

In addition, a review of 121 studies analyzing 17 different diets found that weight loss and improvements in indicators of cardiovascular health — such as blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels — typically slowed after 6 months and reached a steady level after a year on all diets. Approximately (4).

Many factors influence weight changes and maintenance, but studies show that dieting may actually be Encourage Your body to maintain its weight. A weight loss diet appears to increase appetite, reduce feelings of fullness, and slow down metabolism (3).

In fact, it’s suggested that for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight lost, your body burns 20-30 fewer calories per day as your appetite increases so that you eat about 100 more calories per day than you did before dieting (3).

This is part of what causes weight cycling, also known as “yo-yo dieting” – dieting to lose weight, gain weight back, diet again, and repeat the pattern over time (1).

Weight cycling has been linked to increased depression, poor cardiovascular health, insulin resistance, and other negative health outcomes, such as eating disorder and low self-esteem (5And the 6And the 7).

This is where Way Health hopes to come in, according to Kara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD. She’s an application consulting partner and a non-diet dietitian based in Kansas City.

“We’ve really learned the idea that health is synonymous with thinness,” Harbstreet told Healthline. “This diet cycle is only very harmful in terms of the physical and the damage to your body, as well as your mental and emotional well-being and its impact on your soul, relationships, and identity.”

Harbstreet said chronic dieting reduces food intake to numbers rather than allowing it to be an intuitive and enjoyable experience as it should be. Diets hamper your ability to read the natural cues of hunger and fullness and can cause you to emphasize thinness over health.

Prioritizing the aesthetics championed by our fat-phobia society over individual needs is part of the reason diet is associated with eating disorders — and it seems that people in large bodies are more likely to develop eating disorders (8And the 9And the 10).

Even the negative psychological effects of the diet and the lack of evidence that it provides long-term health benefits have led some researchers to suggest that the diet does more harm than good (9).

Wai hopes to defy cultural norms that celebrate dieting and applaud thinness. Rather than asking you to follow a particular dietary pattern or telling you how you feel about food, he suggests thinking about how you feel when you eat in ways that feel authentic to you.

“We don’t see ourselves as something trying to compete with these old diets that have been around for decades or any of the new fads and trends that are emerging,” Harbstreet said. “We really want to stand apart and get on our feet as an option for people who are ready for an alternative.”

To achieve its goals, Way Health offers more than 60 activities across 3 tracks: emotional eating, feeling the body, and mindful transformations.

The Emotional eats The Pathway turns the traditional concept of “emotional eating” on its head. Rather than demonizing pleasurable foods, the activities in this section simply ask you to think more deeply about the role that emotions play in your eating habits. without reprimand them.

After that, file body feel The Pathway asks you to think about your body image, as well as how the foods you eat and the movement you participate in can affect your mental and physical state.

finally , conscious shifts The track questions the way you talk to yourself, yourself, and others when it comes to food, exercise, and bodies. The goal, Adams said, is to help you reverse the diet culture mindset that prioritizes being thin and sticking to the diet.

Questions are open so that users can craft responses in their own words based on their unique experiences and identities.

Clara Nozick, MS, RDN, is another partner and non-diet nutritionist based in Modesto, California. She said the activities are meant to help you learn to trust yourself and your ability to know which foods are right for you.

“The app really works to expose and de-know those behaviors that lead to ‘health’ in terms of this aesthetic goal, rather than an individual feeling of wellness and wholeness,” Nosk told Healthline.

What is the health method? no What it’s meant to do, though, is to replace working with an R&D specialist, licensed therapist, or other professional. Instead, it helps you gauge the standing of your relationship with food today and determine where you may need support.

“The Way is a stepping stone to opening up that new space for ‘what if?'” Nosek said. “What would life look like if you were moving your body not as punishment for what you ate last weekend but for heart health? [or] The way it makes you feel? “

It’s not something you should rush into. The app is intentionally designed to explore over time, which limits the number of sessions a user can complete in a day to help avoid burnout.

Nosek recommends spending about 5 minutes per day on activities.

She said, “One feature I really like is that it limits the number of interactions, so there’s really a practice of putting an end to ‘How much information do I really need now? “

Harbstreet said that one of the most important differences between the Way and other nutrition apps, aside from the rejection of tracking, is the consideration of enjoyment in the eating experience.

“One of the biggest commonalities across different diets is that there is little explanation for individual taste preferences for what feels satisfying and enjoyable to eat,” she said.

“Because we didn’t focus on measuring, tracking, or counting, it opens up a whole new language and vocabulary to start saying, ‘That’s what I enjoyed about this meal. That’s what I’d like to try again.”

– Kara Harbstreet

Way has room for fun, body diversity, and a whole host of cultural foods in your dining experiences — and at a monthly subscription price of $6.99, it’s a lot cheaper than many popular tracking apps.

According to Adams, it doesn’t take long for users to start applying the lessons from the app in their daily lives. He said early data shows that 73.5% of users reported “thinking differently about how to eat” during the first week of using Way Health.

“The big difference between us and everything else is the feeling of a safe, non-judgmental environment to go through with self-exploration,” Adams said.

“You know what your body does and doesn’t need, and this is how you can heal your relationship with food and with your body: by learning how to listen to it.”


Rose Thorne is associate editor of Healthline Nutrition. Rose graduated in 2021 from Mercer University with a degree in Journalism and Women and Gender Studies Secondary lines For Business Insider, The Washington Post, The Lily, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and more. Rose’s proudest professional achievements include being editor-in-chief of a university newspaper and working for Fair Fight Action, the national voting rights organization. Rose covers the intersections of gender, sexuality, and health and is a member of the LGBTQ+ Journalists Association and the Trans Journalists Association. You can find Rose on Twitter.


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