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