intuitive eating, principle one: reject the diet mentality


In my first post on Intuitive Eating, we introduced this proven-effective way of eating that integrates instinct, emotion, and rational thought. The foundational theory is that by paying attention to the messages of your body and meeting your physical and emotional needs, you can honor your health and live without the perceived need to constantly “manage” your health and appearance. 

While it sounds simple in theory — listening to the body and taking care of your physical and emotional self — it’s actually a process that is a far cry from the way most of us operate within our societal diet-culture. To break it down into actionable steps, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole created the 10 principles. 

The first principle is incredibly important because the diet mentality is so ingrained in our society and manifests in our everyday lives. This principle, Reject the diet mentality, is the topic for this weeks’ blog post. Read on to learn what it means past the headline, how to implement it into your own life, and an exercise to try out today.

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

- Intuitive Eating Workbook, Elyse Resch and Eveleyn Tribole

The belief that dieting is the solution to weight management is widely believed and reinforced by health & wellness professionals, but is actually entirely unfounded. It’s estimated that upwards of 95% of diets fail to result in lasting weight loss, and studies have proven that dieting actually leads to weight gain in the long run. 

There is also significant evidence emerging that disproves what our society has long believed about weight - that it is indicative of health. Lastly, dieting is psychologically damaging and increases the risk of eating disorders. It contributes to body dissatisfaction, food and body preoccupation, food cravings, distraction from other personal health goals, reduced self-esteem, and weight stigmatization and discrimination. To learn more about the realities of dieting, check out the blog post I wrote for The Balanced Collective here.

“Even when you are not on a diet, your mind may still have the insidious mentality of dieting - the shoulds and should nots of eating. This mental construct creates an obstacle to intuitive eating.”

 - Intuitive Eating Workbook, Elyse Resch and Eveleyn Tribole

Holding on to the belief that the next diet will be the one to finally rid you of the weight and bring you freedom from the chains of eating is typically perpetuated by the memory of losing weight on a previous diet. You might think, but when I did XYZ diet, I lost 15 pounds. Though it’s likely that you gained that weight back, you might be choosing to remember only the weight loss and not the eventual “failure” to keep it off. 

Try out this exercise from Elyse and Evelyn on your dieting history. It will help you to realize the realities of the role dieting has played in your life in terms of time, effort, and results. 

Answer the following questions for as many diets as you’ve tried in your lifetime. Upon finishing, ask yourself honestly, has dieting done anything positive for me?


Reason for starting the diet:

Type of diet:

Duration of diet:

Weight lost:

How long did the weight stay off?

Was the weight regained?

Was the weight regained, and then some?

My next blog post will focus on the second principle of Intuitive Eating, Honor your hunger. I have had success in my approach, called Intuitive Nutrition, in helping clients learn how to use food to their individual advantage without the restriction of diets. To book your free consult today, reach out today!

kiara tchir