Ending The Diet Roller Coaster Once And For All

Filed Under: Anti-Diet

8 October 2014 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Every day there seems to be a new magic product, diet, programme or food that promises the dream of weight loss. This is even more noticeable at this time of the year! Promises of losing weight by the Christmas holidays. I used to believe those promises for 27 years, but they are false and empty promises…

If you follow a diet, of course you will lose weight but as Geneen Roth says “for every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge” and after some time, the weight usually comes back on again. So we look for another diet or programme and the cycle continues.

This is what it typically looks like:

Step 1
You decide to go on a diet and it (always) starts on a Monday. The weekend before you have your “last supper” and eat everything that is restricted on your chosen diet.

Step 2
You follow a programme that restricts quantities of food and eliminates food groups. You are told how much, what and when to eat.

Step 3
You lose weight and the diet ends.

Step 4
You return to old habits and eating patterns.

Step 5
The weight comes back on again and despair sets in! Then we repeat steps 1 – 5 over and over again.

Does this look familiar to you?

So, how do you get off the diet roller coaster? Well, the first and most important step… Make the decision NEVER to go on another diet again. Scary I know, it was terrifying for me but I have never looked back!

Now, I am going to share with you 7 steps on how to end this roller coaster ride once and for all!

Step 1
Let go of the hope, wish, idea that a diet is going to save you. Decide and commit that you will never diet again.

Step 2
Give yourself permission to eat what you want! So now you are probably thinking “WHAT? I will never stop eating chocolates!! I will never stop eating.” You may eat everything you denied yourself for a while but eventually you will stop. What I have noticed with my clients is that when they have permission to eat what they want, they tend not to go for the chocolate, pizza or cheesecake because they can have it whenever they want it! So much of our overeating is driven by “I shouldn’t be eating this” followed by “Oh well what the hell, I am going to eat it anyway”. For further reading, have a look at Why 30 Day No Sugar No Whatever Challenges Don’t Work.

Step 3
Listen to your body and trust your body. Eat when you are hungry (not starving) and stop eating before you are full, when you are satisfied or no longer hungry.  This process is about building trust between you and your body. Learning to identify hunger and satisfaction is key to this process. You are probably asking how the hell can I trust my body when all I do is overeat? Your body never lies, your mind will make up all sorts of stories the trick is to listen to your body and not your mind! Explore this step more in my blog — Eat When You Are Hungry and Stop When You Are Full.

Step 4
Learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Physical hunger builds up slowly in your body and the message goes from your belly to your brain saying “I am hungry – time to eat”. Emotional hunger is normally faster and it starts in the brain with a thought and then travels down into your body as a feeling. Then the urge comes to numb that feeling – be it boredom, frustration, irritation.

Step 5
Get to know your triggers to overeat. What causes you to eat when you are not hungry? What makes you overeat? This is one of the most important steps, if you don’t uncover these reasons, the weight will most likely not stay off. We really need to uncover why we turn to food. The most common reasons are: tiredness (by the way, I say this over and over again, food does not cure tired – only rest does! The only problem food solves is hunger.) Other common triggers are: frustration, anxiety, boredom, irritation, anger, sadness and loneliness. Further reading about this in my blogs Overeating At Night and The 7 Most Common Thoughts That Trigger Overeating.

Step 6
Acknowledge your progress and take it one meal at a time. Let go of “all or nothing” thinking. Coming to peace with food this way is about baby steps. Here are some ideas about What To Give Up.

Step 7
Accept that this is a long journey with twists and turns, it is process with relapses along the way. It is during the relapses that we can learn more about ourselves. Cultivate patience, acceptance and kindness to yourself. You can explore this further by reading Self Compassion.

Be Well and Eat Mindfully!


“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah, Illinois, USA

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy, London, United Kingdom

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating