Re-orientating Dietetic Interventions for Adults with Eating and Weight Concerns: A Qualitative Study of the Well Now course – Part 1

Lucy Aphramor, Nazanin Khasteganan

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Abstract

This research examines the impact of attending a Well Now course on participants’ wellbeing and contrasts this with their reports of previous experiences of seeking support with weight concerns. The Well Now course teaches health-gain and body respect. As such, it offers people a way of making sense of their experiences around food and eating that is premised
on criticality, compassion and respect. This is the first of two articles discussing research findings. This was a qualitative,
community-based study using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The participants were women and men who had completed a 6 session Well Now course. Interviews and focus groups were recorded and transcribed verbatim and data were
manually sorted. Coding categories were developed and participants’ quotes were assigned to these using thematic analysis.
The study had ethics approval*. Participants described how engaging with the Well Now philosophy in a supportive group
had benecially impacted their health and sense of self-worth. The reorientation made available through Well Now enhanced
psychosocial variables and behaviours known to impact on health, such as mood, self-esteem, eating/exercise habits and interpersonal relationships. They recounted instances where recommendations to follow a weight-corrective approach, and attendant size bias seen in health practitioner’s attitudes, had had a detrimental impact on their wellbeing and sense of self-
worth. A professional commitment to socio-politically aware practice is recommended as a means of advancing equity, helping
people heal from body shame and meeting our ethical responsibilities as health practitioners.
* Equivalent to Institutional Board Review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Critical Dietetics
Volume3
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2016

Bibliographical note

The Journal of Critical Dietetics is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that is FREE to readers and authors.

Lucy Aphramor is a UK dietitian with a PhD in Critical Dietetics and a passion for spoken word poetry. She is committed to nding ways to meaningfully link self-
care and social justice so that nutrition practice helps people make sense of their experiences and regain a sense of agency in their own lives and as empowered communities. To this end Lucy developed and advocates Well Now, an approach that is compassion-centred, trauma informed and justice-enhancing. She is widely published across disciplines, often collaboratively, and performs her poetry as The Naked Dietitian.

Nazanin Khasteganan has a background in sports science. She holds a PhD in behavioural medicine and is a researcher at Coventry University. Nazanin’s PhD study used meta-analysis and systematic review to compare the effects of ‘health not weight loss’ (HNWL) programmes with those of conventional weight loss programmes on cardiovascular risk factors. She also undertook a cross-sectional survey to identify the attitudes of a working population towards the concept of HNWL focused programmes.

Keywords

  • Well Now
  • Compassion
  • Social determinants of health
  • Weight-equity
  • Shame,
  • HAES

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