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

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

Filed Under: Anti-Diet

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!


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.

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