The Path to Peace with Food

Filed Under: Anti-Diet

23 February 2024 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

The path to peace with food is not always peaceful. In fact it’s full of obstacles to overcome. The first step is to make a decision to do things differently. To recognise that dieting and restriction have not worked and to take the road less travelled. Once you are on that road, what will serve you well on your journey to peace with food are three key elements:

Patience, Persistence and Perseverance.

More than half my life was spent in a constant battle with food. From the age of 13, I was on and off various diets. Hating my body no matter my size and obsessing about being thinner. My life was a series of diets – I was either on one or off one and when I was off a diet it was one big binge. I spent so many years out of control with my eating and miserable with my body. I was beating myself up all the time. Going to bed promising to be good the next day, waking up full of motivation that this was the day, only to be in a full blown binge later that afternoon.

I honestly believed that restricting foods and dieting was the answer to my problematic eating and body. I consulted numerous experts from doctors administering dangerous pills and injections, dieticians with eating plans, slimming clubs to psychics and hypnotherapists. This cycle lasted for almost 30 years. It didn’t help that my mother monitored my weight like a hawk, she would often say to me thinking that this would motivate me “you have a pretty face, such a pity you can’t lose weight and keep it off”.

Eventually, very late in my 30’s, I came to the realisation that the things I was doing to “fix” my body and eating were keeping me trapped in this painful cycle of guilt and shame about my “lack of control” and my body.

Intuitive Eating saved me. It restored my sanity around food and gave me back my freedom. It was like winning the lotto. For a while, I did turn it into the “only eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full diet” and the “you are not allowed to eat emotionally diet”. It took a while to get out of diet mentality. Diet culture is everywhere and for many clients this is an ongoing struggle. Yes, during the process, I was tempted to go on another diet, and in fact, I did, but it backfired so badly that I recommitted to Intuitive Eating. It was in moments like these that persistence, patience and perseverance paid off.

Intuitive Eating helped to put me in charge of my body and my food. I learned to trust my body and myself. I took back my power over food rules and dieting. The work I did on my relationship with food through Intuitive Eating so changed my life that I decided to leave a successful career in tourism to become a certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor and later added Mindful Eating to my tool belt. Since then I have helped hundreds of people gain their freedom around food.

I can now go on holiday and not worry about food. I can leave food on my plate. I am able to have a few squares of chocolate without finishing the slab. (Never thought I would be able to do that!) Buffets don’t stress me out anymore. Some nights I eat salad, some nights I eat chips for dinner and it’s okay.  I am better equipped to deal with difficult emotions. I am not as critical about my body anymore (this is ongoing work) And most importantly, I am so much kinder and more compassionate with myself.

You can do this too. Freedom and peace with food is possible.

It’s not always easy – it can take time. Patience. Persistence. Perseverance.

The process is not linear. But so worth it!

You really don’t need to struggle. Peace with Food is Possible.

Intuitive Eating works.

Wishing you peace,

✨ 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