Elizabeth Michael MS, RDN, LDN, CDE

Level 1: The Power of a New Perspective: Incorporating Weight Neutrality into Diabetes Management

Elizabeth Michael


Traditional Diabetes Self-Management or Diabetes Prevention approaches are weight-centric, encouraging participants to ‘safely’ lose a particular percentage of their body weight in an effort to reduce risk of complications. This appealing tactic often results in a caloric restriction that eventuates in metabolic derangement and regain over time, guilt/shame which are poor motivators for behavior change, and stigmatization which impedes engagement in healthful dietary choices and physical movement. The complexity of research indicating positive benefits from with weight loss is problematic. Education on the detriments of weight-centric approach, providing insight into the alluring draw with diet culture, assuring PWD of the multitude of weight-neutral resources available for diabetes management, redefining health in morally neutral terms, allowing space for ambivalence, and cultivating creative opportunities for problem-solving skill development empowers patients in ways that are sustainable. Removing weight as a central focus or a necessity to improve health outcomes allows people to focus on self-care behaviors in alignment with their true values. This is crucial to the cultivation of a balanced life in which physical, mental, social and spiritual health are optimized.

Why I Value Weight-Neutral Care

Speaker Bio

Elizabeth Michaels, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE currently works as a Program Coordinator of for a DEAP at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Southern IL. After obtaining her BS in Dietetics at Iowa State University, she completed her Masters in Food and Nutrition and internship at Southern Illinois University. Subsequently she was hired at the Hospital where she interned as an outpatient dietitian counseling patients. During that time, she also assisted with inpatient nutrition management, staff training and development of patient kitchen menus. After 8 years, she obtained her CDE and 2 years later was recruited to manage a clinic-based DEAP as well as provide nutrition counseling to patients. Through AADE leadership opportunities, she became increasingly acquainted with DPP and obtained program accreditation. After years of clinical experience unsuccessfully trying to help people lose their weight to manage their condition, she began exploring the evidence supporting a weight neutral approach and works to integrate these principles into her patient care.