Concurrent Sessions

C1- Challenging Weight Bias in Diabetes Management: The Development and Implementation of a Group Integrating HAES and Intuitive Eating Principles

Theme 1. Mental health and addictions

Presentation Details

  • Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
  • Concurrent Session C
  • Time: 8:45- 9:30am
  • Room: Marine
  • Style: Workshop (session is structure for interaction and/or hands-on learning opportunities)
  • Focus: Practical (e.g. Presentation on how to implement programs and/or practices in the team environment)
  • Target Audience: Clinical providers

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to integrate and facilitate psychotherapeutic approaches such as self-compassion and mindfulness into a group for the management of diabetes
  • Learn how to incorporate Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size (HAES) principles into the facilitation of the group
  • Learn how to collaborate with allied health professionals such as social workers, doctors, nurse practitioners, and dietitians in order to optimize the facilitation of the group
  • Learn how to overcome barriers that come with facilitating a group that challenges weight bias in a medical setting


Collaboration between social work and dietitians (diabetes educators) in a group setting is a novel and innovative approach to diabetes management education. Currently, there is a gap in diabetes care as patients do not receive the adequate mental health support required to thrive. For example, many patients in diabetes education clinics struggle with stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression. Also, many patients with diabetes experience guilt and shame around their weight. All of these issues are barriers to diabetes self-care and unfortunately are not addressed in traditional diabetes education clinics. As a result, we brought dietitians and social workers together in order to develop and implement a group for diabetes management that incorporates nutrition science, mental health support, and an underlying philosophy that challenges weight bias.

This workshop will provide you with the tools needed to develop and implement this type of holistically-oriented diabetes management group. Through a combination of psychoeducational material and en vivo exercises, you will learn how to:

– Collaborate with other professionals to develop a multidisciplinary group for people living with diabetes
– Guide patients to challenge behaviours and patterns of thinking and that are at the root of their eating difficulties
– Help patients develop an accepting and self-compassionate approach to living with diabetes so they can improve the effectiveness of diabetes management education provided  – Teach patients how to be more mindfully aware of their bodies and to be able to distinguish between thoughts physical sensations and emotions
– Overcome the barriers faced in facilitating a Health at Every Size-based group in a weight biased culture


  • Jessica Zupan, Registered Dietitian, Ce, rtified Diabetes Educator, Taddle Creek Family Health Team, Diabetes Education Program
  • Martin Vera, Registered Social Worker, MSW, MCISc, Taddle Creek Family Health Team, Mental Health Team