Filed Under: Anti-Diet

10 January 2024 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

We’re well into January and I am sure you have noticed all the adverts promoting weight loss, diet plans, detoxes and “lifestyle changes”.

What if this year you chose a different approach? An approach that will help you focus on how you can feel better in your body, heart, mind and soul?

Here is ONE thing to consider doing that doesn’t involve weight loss and will definitely improve how you feel.

Focus on Wellbeing versus Weight Loss

Our culture equates weight loss with health. What if we shift the focus from weight loss to overall wellbeing? Here’s the problem with focusing on weight loss… When losing weight is the focus, it is difficult to make peace with food and eating. Why? Because when the number on the scale is not shifting, we immediately start thinking of making adjustments to our food. Perhaps by cutting out sugar and carbs, fasting for hours. In other words, restriction, elimination and food judgement. This deprivation mindset is not sustainable and results in backlash eating. The alternative is to focus on wellbeing – emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

Part of physical wellbeing is examining your relationship with food and movement. Are you eating enough during the day? Is your food satisfying? Are you eating for both nourishment and pleasure?  So often we think of exercise as a way to lose weight. Instead of linking exercise to weight loss, can you shift your view to seeing movement as a gift you give to your body and mind? Find a way to move your body in a way that is enjoyable – let go of how many calories you have burned and embrace a way to move that is easy and sustainable for the simple joy of moving your body! Look after your “here and now” body. That means resting, moving and nourishing your body. It means dressing in comfortable clothes. Your body deserves your care and attention at any size.

Emotional and mental wellbeing is examining what your triggers are for binge eating and emotional eating. Are you needing more rest and “me time”? When our needs are not met, we are more likely to turn to food. Explore your needs – what are they? Connection, variety, belonging, adventure, rest, play, quiet time, creativity? Do you need to establish boundaries at work and with friends? Does perfectionism and procrastination get in your way?

When we are focused on losing weight our mind is often racing with negative food thoughts. Judging and shaming ourselves for “cheating” or breaking the rules. This is a lot of mental clutter. We think we can change our habits by judging ourselves, by being hard on ourselves. When we judge ourselves, we tend to shut down and feel shame. How about trying curiosity instead? By practising curiosity, we can get to the bottom of why we behave in a certain way. Cultivating the attitudes of mindfulness such as non-judgement, compassion and curiosity are more useful when trying to change your relationship with food.

For the benefit of your emotional and mental wellbeing, embrace imperfection. There is no such thing as a perfect eater or a perfect diet. Very often this quest for perfection is what keeps us stuck. Perfectionism with food perpetuates feelings of guilt and shame. Perhaps try embracing imperfect action? Taking small steps in the direction you want to go.

On a deeper level, what is your soul hungry for? If you weren’t pursuing weight loss, where would you be investing your energy?  What more meaningful things could you pursue? What are you being called to do? What are hopes and dreams you have forgotten about? What else needs your attention at this time in your life? What would you like to create?

If you would like extra support with your eating, I invite you to book a free 30 minute mini session.

May 2024 be the year where we work together to heal your relationship with food. Together let’s examine what’s preventing you from finding peace with food and your body.

I hope this year you’ll choose to break free from dieting and take care of yourself from a place of love.

Wishing you well,

✨ Ready to get coaching around changing your relationship with food? Book a free 30-minute mini session and let’s explore what challenges you’re facing and see how the coaching and courses I offer can support you.

“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