Set Yourself Free from Diet Prison: 18 Reasons Not to Diet in 2018

28 December 2017 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

The New Year has begun and with that comes the idea of losing weight and going on another diet. Are you thinking of starting another diet in 2018? Think again!

Here are 18 reasons WHY you should NOT diet this year or any year:

  1. Dieting has a 95% failure rate. Only 5% of dieters keep the weight off, most will gain it back in 1 – 5 years. It is not sustainable – it creates a yo-yo effect and that is far more unhealthy than carrying a bit of extra weight.
  2. Severe diets that eliminate many food groups or that are very restrictive slow down our metabolism, so if you go back to old eating patterns or simply increase your food, the weight will eventually pile back on again.
  3. Do you want to buy into an industry that is worth over $60 Billion in the USA alone? An industry that has a 5% success rate? It’s not the dieter that fails but the diet method. Don’t buy into it! Dieting is the biggest predictor of weight gain.
  4. Forbidden foods create cravings and a preoccupation around food. What to eat, what not to eat. This can lead to a binge – restrict – binge cycle.
  5. This emphasis on restriction, control and willpower leads to binge eating out of feelings of deprivation.
  6. Diets take away our freedom. Often we are accountable to a dietician, doctor, weight club or personal trainer who weighs us and this can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment if we have “failed” or “cheated”. This often leads to rebellion around food.
  7. Dieting does not address coping mechanisms for emotional eating. Read more about this in my blogs – “How to Eat Emotionally – Mindfully” and “52 Ways to Comfort Yourself Without Eating”.
  8. Repeated dieting can create eating disorders such as binge eating disorder and bulimia because of the desperation to be thinner.
  9. Dieting creates judgment around food using words like: “good”, “bad” “naughty”, “sinful” “right” or “wrong”. Food is neither good nor bad. Food is morally neutral, it just feels differently in our bodies. The new fad is to demonise sugar as evil and addictive. Whilst sugar does stimulate the pleasure centre in our brain, it is not the most nutritious food – but it’s not evil. The poison is in the dose. When we label foods, we internalise these labels and make it mean that we are “bad, naughty or wrong” for eating these foods.
  10. Dieting promotes “all or nothing” thinking. We are either ON a diet or OFF a diet. When we are on a diet – it’s restrictive and rule based and when we are off the diet we overeat. Neither of these behaviours is sustainable for a healthy relationship with food.
  11. Dieting takes the pleasure out of food so we end up feeling guilty when we eat foods like cake, sweets or anything we have judged as forbidden. Eating is one of life’s pleasures and the 2 main reasons we eat are to nourish and fuel our bodies and for the pure pleasure of the experience. We need to allow for that pleasure some of the time.
  12. A very important reason why dieting often results in weight gain repeatedly is that dieting only looks at what to eat, how much to eat and it does not address why we are eating more than we need or why we are eating when we are not hungry. There are many reasons both emotional and habitual that cause us to eat when not hungry. Read more about this in my blogs – “The 8 Types of Hunger” and “Why Do We Overeat?”.
  13. Very often dieting leads to withdrawal from social events when we are on a diet – a feeling of dread to go away for the weekend or to be around a buffet table.
  14. When we go on diets, we stop trusting our bodies, that trust is lost because we are focused on following a set of rules. Diets disconnect us from our internal body wisdom. Our bodies are wise and can tell us what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat if we listen closely.
  15. Diet culture promotes sizeism – thinking that thin bodies are more worthy than fat bodies. It emphasizes the idea that if you are fat you have failed, that you are lazy and unhealthy whilst being thin means you are self disciplined, organised and healthy. Diet culture is not inclusive – it does not promote size diversity and body diversity.
  16. Diets often encourage us to eat as many “free” foods as we like, so we end up eating mindlessly (even when we are not hungry) on celery or carrot sticks because they are free and we are “allowed”.
  17. Dieting also creates feelings of not deserving to eat. I have to be good to “deserve” this or if you have exercised you can “afford” to eat more.
  18. Dieting breaks down our self-worth and value. We define ourselves as hopeless or a failure because we have not succeeded on a diet, we blame ourselves instead of blaming an industry that is inherently ineffective and does not have a long term success rate.

Wishing you a diet free year!

May you find peace with food and your body!

Love,
Xen

Extra reading:

Here is the link to Dr Linda Bacon’s message to people considering another diet.

Read the USA study of why dieting does not work.

✨ Are you feeling stuck with food? Book a free mini session. 

✨ Find out more about what my clients say about our work together.

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