The anti-diet movement challenges conventional beliefs about dieting, weight, and health. Proponents argue that the prevailing diet culture, which emphasizes food restriction and the pursuit of an ideal body size, can be harmful both physically and mentally. The anti-diet movement promotes mental health, liberation from oppressive diet culture, and acceptance of diverse body sizes.
In her newsletter, Virginia Heffernan wrote about the movement:
The work of the antidiet crowd asks anyone touched by diet culture to entertain the possibility that body weight doesn't, in itself, cause health issues. Some activists challenge dieters to exit the cult of food restriction by doing rad things like skipping the gym and eating salty, fatty, sugary fast food (including McNuggets)—whenever the spirit moves you. As rites of passage into freedom go, this one is pretty great and includes the jubilant breaking of a legitimate taboo. For chronic dieters like myself, it also demands a measure of courage. Because, let's face it, in eating trans fats you're not just preempting your chances of ever matching Balenciaga's beauty ideal. You're crossing the World Health Organization, which still maintains that fast and shelf-stable foods are unsafe at any dose.
Heffernan cites the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism (2014) and Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (2016) which released studies that show food restriction in any form can result in dangerous hormonal disruptions, "potentially setting off serious mental and physical health problems and, paradoxically, weight gain."