A Tale of Three Eaters

Filed Under: Holiday Eating

27 December 2023 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

A Christmas story of false promises, good fortune and common sense.


Beth spent most of the year on and off a diet. Feeling motivated and on high because she was “being good” followed by despair and disillusionment because she ate chocolate and she “blew it”. Most nights she went to bed assessing what she ate that day. Her eating determined whether she would feel proud or guilty. As the end of the year approached, she thought she would focus on losing weight before the holidays. She thought about all the parties and family gatherings with dread and fear. She worried that she didn’t have enough willpower and control. She decided she would resist and be strong. The December holidays began with a series of year-end parties, lunches, social gatherings. At some point, it all became too for much for her, so she thought – “what the hell, this is too hard, I am going to start again in January.” So her December holiday was spent in a series of “last suppers” alternating between feeling guilty at overeating and rebelliously reacting …“who cares, I am going to be good in January”. When she felt guilty, she would exercise as penance for eating. In the end she even gave up on exercise. Beth didn’t always enjoy the food she ate, she ate things she didn’t even want or like, simply because she knew this would be her last time. In January, she would be “back on the wagon” sadly, only to fall off again. The saddest part about Beth’s story is that she blamed herself. She didn’t know that 95% of people who diet, gain the weight back and can’t stick to diets. Not because there is something wrong with them but because diets are inherently faulty.


Anna is one of those few women who has never ever been on a diet. She spent the year eating what she wanted. Her focus was not really on food. She enjoyed it and only ate what she liked, but food and eating did not occupy her thoughts much. As the holidays approached, it was a busy time. She thought about food and the meals her friends and family would enjoy. She looked forward to Christmas at her sister, who is a fabulous cook. She knew there would be deliciously prepared meals and that she would probably eat too much of the Christmas pudding or roast potatoes, but it was not a big thing for her. During her holiday she went on walks and when she felt tired, she lay on the sofa and read her book. Anna had no specific food plans for January and did not fear that there would be any restriction or forbidden foods.


Natalia used to be a chronic dieter like Beth. After many years of yo-yo dieting, she realised the negative effects of dieting on her life and that over the years the weight always came back. The previous January she decided to change her approach. She took a big brave step and committed to DITCH DIETING. It wasn’t easy. She had been dieting since she was teenager. Natalia learned about Intuitive Eating and started integrating this approach into her life and over the year, she transformed her relationship with food into a way more peaceful one. This was not a quick and easy process, but she persevered. As the holidays approached, she noticed all the diet talk. People eating as much as they could, because in January they would get “back on track”. Instead, she let go of these old ways and she spent the Christmas holidays applying the non-diet tools she learned throughout the year. Natalia mostly ate when she was hungry. Most of the time she stopped eating at a comfortable point. And yes, there were times she overate but she didn’t beat herself up for it. She ate what she wanted with no guilt. There were times she ate because she was sad or lonely or bored, but she was kind to herself about it and understood that emotional eating is not a sign of weakness, it’s a way to soothe. There was no last supper eating like all the previous holidays. No binge eating because she had blown it by “cheating” – in fact words like “bad and cheating” didn’t exist in her vocabulary with food! There was no stress around what she could or couldn’t eat. She didn’t lie in bed at night doing an audit of what she ate and promising herself to be “good” the next day. She felt great freedom that diet prison was not waiting for her in January. She felt free and peace around all foods.

Who are you?

Beth*, Anna*, Natalia*?

*Beth, Anna and Natalia are not real people but I know many Beths, Annas and Natalias. In fact, I was Beth for almost 30 years. I can never be Anna because, sadly, I am a woman who has a long history of dieting and recovering from that can take a long time.

If Natalia’s story appeals to you and you would like to start feeling free around food in 2024, book a free 30 minute session.

Wishing you freedom and ease with food!

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