As someone who is fiercely passionate about spreading the anti-dieting message, I love seeing that there is a definite shift in media reporting about dieting. There’s of course a LONG way to go until the mainstream media will let go of the weight loss obsession, but it seems ever more apparent that the choke hold is loosening.

Just this week, my friend and colleague Fiona Willer, advanced accredited practising dietitian, anti-diet warrior, and my e-book co-author had this fabulous interview published. In this beautifully in-depth article, Fiona presents a compelling case for weight neutral care and focusing on healthy behaviours rather than weight loss. Don’t listen to the other guy quoted, who seems to really agree with Fiona’s weight neutral stuff, until he drops the (totally unsubstantiated) clanger that we should all only eat ‘during daylight hours’!

Late last year, in response to a myriad of articles on celebrity Casey Donovan’s ‘miraculous weight loss’, I was heartened to have a really frank chat with a journalist from Mamamia about why ‘my incredible weight loss’ stories are just not what the world needs right now. It was great to know that there is increasing recognition given to the harms, risks, and outright damage we do when we uncritically digest these stories, and to know that a media outlet with as much reach as Mamamia was thinking more critically is exciting!

Of course, with every step forward in anti-diet thinking there will be resistance, push back and flat-out denial of facts. Last year I was quoted in what was overall a pretty fantastic article on the failure of dieting and the predatory nature of weight loss companies such as Weight Watchers. But right at the end of the article, the journalist uncritically included a response from Weight Watchers in which they basically agreed that diets don’t work for people, and then proceeded to push their own diet – which of course they’re no longer calling a diet. The whole article ended with an embarrassing whimper, when it should have been a bang! And on top of that, the article included a very weird video about “The psychology of dieting” which basically contradicted everything the article was actually saying.

This is where media reporting on weight loss is at right now – it’s too often a bewildering word salad of diet-denial, accompanied by lip service to the failure of dieting, alongside a dogged determination to keep selling the diets anyway. But I intend to keep chip, chip, chipping away at the basic messages. I’ll be the squeaky wheel in these stories, demanding nothing less than the truth. I also encourage us all to look critically at the media we are exposed to. To really measure these stories up against our own experiences, and against logic itself. The only ethical, compassionate, and effective way forward IS, as Fiona Willer says, to stop the myopic focus on reducing people’s body weights, and to instead support people of ALL shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, and abilities, to look after their health in the best way for them. And we can do ALL of the above without going on a diet, detox, cleanse or lifestyle change!