‘Non-diet dietician’ preaches breaking food rules

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids-based dietician Colleen Christensen is fighting diet culture head-on. 

She calls herself a “non-diet dietician.” She has picked up quite a following with more than 19,000 subscribers on her YouTube page and 173,000 followers on Instagram.

She encourages people to find food freedom by rejecting societal pressures and diet culture. Instead, she promotes “intuitive eating.”

“It (intuitive eating) means learning to listen to your body’s cues to kind of guide what you’re eating. So not following diets or these food rules to kind of decide what you’re going to eat,” Christensen said.

She said all of us are born intuitive eaters. Babies give cues when they’re hungry and stop when they are full.

“As we go throughout our lives and we’re influenced by diets and society and the media, we start to fall for these diets. It really takes away from our ability to listen to our bodies and to understand what’s satisfying, what feels good and that’s really where ‘No Food Rules’ comes from. It’s all about getting away from the external reasons of eating and getting back to listening to your body’s cues and doing what feels good,” she said. 

Christensen encourages her followers to break their food rules. She says the first step is taking a close look at the social media you’re consuming.

“We truly are our environment. Society and the messages we receive are one of the reasons it’s not as easy to listen to our bodies anymore. Using that in your favor and stocking your feed with accounts that are going to show you this new way of learning how to eat and that we don’t need to follow these food rules or fall for these fad diets,” she said. 

As a registered dietician, Christensen said she never saw what she’s doing now as the career path she was going to follow. After struggling for years with dieting, exercising and several food rules she had made for herself, she decided to change the way she was eating and living.

“I just got to a point where I thought ‘I can’t keep living this way. I feel like I’m not living.’ My main focus is food and I’m missing out on so much of life. I finally got to this point where I’m now an intuitive eater, I understand this stuff, and it’s just second nature,” she said. 

Christensen says intuitive eating has exploded on social media during the pandemic, and she loves helping people navigate all the advice and information. 

“I felt like I needed to step into the role and be the person I didn’t have that could guide others and make this journey a lot easier because it is so worth it,” Christensen said. 

In addition to her blog, Instagram stories and YouTube videos, Christensen has a membership group called “The SociEATy.”

She calls the group a community where people are never alone, can find support and there’s never a stupid question.

“We have a long way to go as we’re fighting diet culture and this thin ideal that we have in society today, but I think we’re getting there, and it just makes me really excited,” she said. 

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