The Non-Diet Approach to Health & Life | Special Guest Interview With Fiona Willer

I couldn’t wait for the long weekend to be over!


Well because it’s time for our next interview. If you have missed the last few interviews, then you will really need to flick back and read what some fabulous inspirational health professionals and foodies have had to say.

Our next special guest is WELL RESPECTED amongst the Dietitian community in Australia and has recently been running workshops educating and facilitating Aussie Dietitians to incorporate this Non-Diet Approach into their everyday work. Take a look at the background info in my last interview with Dr Linda Bacon and you will see why so many Dietitians (like myself) have found it difficult to get off the “weight loss caper”!

You will also see why today’s guest is a bit of a trail blazer in the making :)

Introducing Fiona Willer…

Fiona Willer, APD, is the author of ‘The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Dietitians’, and co-author of ‘The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Psychologists and Counsellors’. As well as running a private practice and lecturing at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Fiona runs non-diet approach workshops for dietitians around Australia, including at the 2013 Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) national conference. Fiona is engaged in active research of adoption of Health at Every Size ® approaches by Australian dietitians. As an advocacy leader in this field, she recently represented Australia in contributing to the HAES graduate curriculum for the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). Fiona is a proud member of the DAA and ASDAH.

Was there one moment you decided you would work in nutrition – and start to use a non-diet approach to health?

Reading Rick Kausman’s book while a dietetics student was a real turning point for me. The tricky part was figuring out how to marry this paradigm with dietetics practice – at that time there wasn’t any clear guidance for dietitians and it certainly wasn’t taught at uni.

What does a positive body image mean to you?

Appreciating the body for all of it’s quirks and abilities, inside and out.

nurturingA big part of mindfulness and avoiding a dieting mentality is self-love and nurturing. Can you tell our SOL friends your favourite way to nurture yourself?

I have a young family so sometimes it seems like I don’t belong to myself anymore – I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way :-) I find a little solitude in a picturesque outdoor place to be wonderfully restorative.

Why is it that diets don’t work for many people long term?

Humans are hard-wired to prefer it when they have agency in their own lives. Apart from all of the biological reasons that weight loss is difficult to sustain in the long term (which are many and powerful), ultimately humans are not into being told what to do.

Do you ever struggle with ‘mindless eating’ yourself? What strategies help you?

I gave up the ‘struggle’ a long time ago, now it’s just a matter of acknowledging the many distractions that occur in eating situations. It is what it is – posing it as a struggle makes eating seem like it could be a ‘bad’ thing sometimes – sure, eating too much sometimes is physically uncomfortable but it doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt.

That’s a great point :)

Who do you respect (or who is a trailblazer) in the non-dieting approach to health field?

Rick Kausman of course, also Linda Bacon, Lucy Aphramor, Tracy Tylka, Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch, Michelle May, Jane Hirschmann, Carol Munter, Deb Burgard, Louise Adams, Ragen Chastain, Kerry Beake – there are so many wonderful people doing wonderful things!

Many women (and men too!) struggle with busy lives and creating a good work life balance. With this, comes difficulties being organised with food. This can lead to ‘mindless eating’ for many of us. Can you give us your best practical tip for someone to get more organised with shopping and meal preparation?

Planning enough time to shop properly (or ordering groceries online), and making a list can help to make sure that the basics of a tasty meal are available when you want them.

What’s one thing we don’t know about you?

I took up classical ballet when I was 31 and getting en pointe when I was 34 is one of my proudest moments.


What are you working on in 2015 – what exciting things should we look out for?

I’ve got my head down, working hard on my (non-diet approach) PhD this year, with a few non-diet approach workshops planned as well. If you see any surveys come around from me – please complete them :-)

Big Thanks..

Thank you very much to Fiona Willer for taking part in our Non-Diet Approach to Health & Life interview series.

Another busy lady taking the time to share her thoughts on this important topic.

 - psst for all Dietitians (in Australia and overseas), if you have been living under a rock and haven’t checked out Fiona’s website then get on it TODAY. Do yourself a favour and buy her non-diet approach guidebook and share with your psychology and counselling colleagues as well – pretty please.

Wait to see who we have next time….another cracker!

Keen to read more?

We have had some really lovely thought leaders and idols take part in our interview series. If you are keen to learn more on this non-diet approach topic, then you might be interested in past interviews with:

  1. Dr Linda Bacon
  2. Stephanie Alexander AO
  3. Sarah McMahon
  4. Kerry Beake
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4 thoughts on “The Non-Diet Approach to Health & Life | Special Guest Interview With Fiona Willer

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