How to Break the Diet Cycle and Make Peace with Food

8 actions to take to make peace with food and stop dieting.jpg

New Year, New ME diet talk

Happy New Year!  Wow, what a year 2017 was. Mindful Eats Nutrition came into existence in 2017, and I'm so glad you found us and are reading this blog.  Inevitably, every new year comes with lots of "New Year, New Me" mantras.  Usually, those mantras are focused around weight loss and dieting.  I have a challenge for you this year.  What if we were to re-frame "New Year, New Me" in a non-diet, self-care context?  What would it look like for you?  

If dieting is out, what should I do instead?

I've spent a lot of time talking about the WHY diets don't work here and here, but now it's time to get to the good stuff.  If dieting doesn't work, what the heck are you supposed to do instead?

Practice Mindfulness

Yes, I can see the eye rolls now.  You mean that mindfulness is the answer?  That sounds way too hippy dippy trippy for me.  Don't worry, that's what I first thought too.  However, we know that mindfulness is an INCREDIBLY powerful tool.  So powerful that I chose to include it in my business name. :) It helps with everything from pain management, anxiety, depression, improved focus, improved relationships, and so much more.  I think the first thought most people have about mindfulness is that it means you must spend hours a day in meditation or yoga.  This is definitely not true.  

Here is what mindfulness is:

  • Being present in every moment without judgement.  That's it.  You can practice mindfulness while eating, brushing your teeth, driving to work.  Mindfulness can be something you work into your every day life.  It's committing to being curious instead of critical about your thoughts and actions.
  • Reconnecting to your body’s internal wisdom, aka Hunger and Fullness Cues.
  • Working through the levels of the food hierarchy mentioned in blog post #2
  • Focusing on behaviors that promote physical and emotional health, not the number on the scale.

Actions You Can Take Today to Break the Diet Cycle in 2018 and Make Peace With Food

1. Toss the scale

If seeing a number on the scale evokes emotion, no matter if it’s better or worse than what you expected, it’s time to toss the scale. The number is merely a number and will prevent you from being able to be mindful and connect to your internal wisdom.

2. Eliminate “good food” and “bad food” talk, adopt a food neutral approach.

Start to challenge all the diet rules you may have been holding on to, and instead see food in a more holistic way.

3. Practice reconnecting to your hunger/fullness cues

Sometimes reconnecting to your hunger fullness can be difficult. If you’re someone who has been skipping meals and ignoring hunger cues for a long time, sometimes the first step needs to be to give your body the message that food is consistently available. This means eating enough food often enough.

4. Practice being aware of your feelings

If you have a craving for something, ask yourself: What is this craving telling me? Sometimes it’s a true physical craving. Often, it is a metaphor for an unmet need or underlying emotion.

5. Find joyful movement

Find a way to move your body that isn’t about punishing yourself for the dessert you ate last night. Move your body out of self-love and appreciation, not to achieve a number on the scale.

6. Challenge judgmental thoughts about food and your body

Practice body compassion instead. Start challenging your negative/judgmental thoughts about yourself and others. Challenge should statements.

7. Don’t delay your happiness

Make a list of everything you’ve been waiting to do once you lost the weight and start doing it today.

8. Consult with an expert

If you’re struggling with chronic dieting or body image dissatisfaction and want to make peace with food – schedule a consultation with dietitian and/or therapist who specializes in a non-diet, intuitive, mindfulness eating approach.


Resources for the Non-Diet Approach

Intuitive Eating Book
Intuitive Eating Workbook
Body Kindness
Body Respect

Love, Food – Julie Duffy Dillon
Body Kindness – Rebecca Scritchfield
Food Psych – Christy Harrison

Health at Every Size Movement
Ellyn Satter Institute:
Sandra Aamodt, Neuroscientist video and TED Talk

Non-Diet Dietitians to Follow on Instagram: