Intuitive Eating

How to Break Free From Diet Culture With Intuitive Eating

May 16, 2024

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

Are you wondering how to increase your odds of binge eating and gaining weight?

Read that again.

You’re probably thinking, ‘Why on earth would I WANT to increase my odds of binge eating and gaining weight?’


These are two of the biggest fears I hear over and over from my clients—that they will fall into binge eating or gain weight back. Let’s take a look at some of the things you might be doing that are actually increasing the chances of binge eating and gaining weight.

I often share strategies about how to find peace with food and your body. But today, let’s chat about what NOT to do and things you can stop doing to reject the diet mentality. If something’s not helpful, let’s stop doing it and make our lives easier. I am all for ease and efficiency, focusing our energy on things that matter and are effective.

Increasing Your Odds of Binge Eating and Gaining Weight

Here’s the vicious irony: The things we do to try and prevent ourselves from binge eating and gaining weight often cause us to have increased hunger, binge, and gain weight. Dieting is the #1 predictor of binge eating and weight gain. This all comes down to our relationship with food and body image. The endless cycle of diets is really unhealthy for our physical and mental health.

Most of us go on a diet to control our food, prevent overeating, and lose weight. Initially, it feels like it’s working. You stay away from certain foods, and the scale starts to go down. You feel proud and in control.

But dieting is like a rollercoaster. The initial excitement and weight loss are thrilling, but then the twists and turns come. Your weight climbs back up, you start eating “forbidden” foods in secret, and the cycle continues. It’s time to honor your health and get off the dieting rollercoaster by becoming an intuitive eater. Not only is an intuitive eating journey pure freedom, but it’s also better for weight loss!

Why Dieting Doesn’t Work

Dieting is scientifically shown to be the #1 reason people gain weight. It’s deceiving because initial weight loss makes you feel in control, but it’s almost always temporary. If a diet existed that could make you permanently as skinny as you want, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

After reading how dieting doesn’t work, I hope you will be even more empowered in breaking free from the dieting rollercoaster!

Using Food as Punishment

The cycle of dieting begins with restriction, which often leads to a sense of deprivation. Our bodies are wired to protect us from starvation, so our hunger signals intensify when we restrict our food intake. This can lead to intense cravings and, eventually, binge eating. The guilt and shame that follow a binge can drive us back to another restrictive diet, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

Rediscovering the joy of eating is just one way intuitive eating serves us on a mind, body, and soul level. Make food choices that honor your health. Intuitive eating encourages us to be in tune with our body’s needs far better than dieting does. If anything, a diet can really hinder your ability to recognize your needs.

How Dieting Negatively Affects Your Metabolism

Dieting can slow down your metabolism. When you drastically reduce your caloric intake, your body adapts by conserving energy, making it harder to lose weight over time. This phenomenon, known as metabolic adaptation, means you have to eat even less to maintain the same weight, which is unsustainable and unhealthy.

Psychological Effects of a New Diet

Psychologically, dieting creates an unhealthy relationship with food. Labeling foods as “good” or “bad” sets up a mindset of guilt and virtue around eating, which can lead to disordered eating patterns. This black-and-white thinking can make you feel like a failure if you eat something “bad,” which only fuels the cycle of restriction and bingeing.

Ask yourself how the food you eat makes you feel and use answers like “satisfied,” “full,” or “lacking.” The benefits of intuitive eating are numerous, but one of the main perks is a newfound approach to food. A positive relationship with food develops when we see food as fuel and not morally “good” or “bad”.

The Social Damage of Diet Culture

Furthermore, the social and emotional impacts of dieting can be significant. Constantly focusing on food and weight can lead to social isolation and anxiety. It can make you miss out on enjoying meals with friends and family or create stress around eating in social settings.

In the long run, dieting doesn’t address the underlying issues related to eating habits and body image. It’s a temporary fix that often leads to greater weight gain and emotional distress. The key to lasting change is to develop a healthy relationship with food through intuitive eating and self-compassion rather than through restrictive diets.

Dieting is not a sustainable or healthy solution for weight management. It often leads to a cycle of restriction, binge eating, and guilt, slows down your metabolism, and creates an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead, focusing on intuitive eating and holistic well-being offers a more effective path to achieving peace with food and your body.

How to Get Off the Diet Culture Rollercoaster

Getting off the dieting rollercoaster can be scary. You might fear losing control without dieting. Ironically, dieting is what makes you feel out of control. By stepping off, you take back your power from the fad diet and embark on a path to intuitive eating. Then, fueling your body is from a holistic approach and not a restrictive point of view.

To help with the transition from the diet roller coaster to a journey towards intuitive eating, I’ve created a mini-course called Stepping Off the Dieting Rollercoaster. It’s designed to help you break free from dieting and embrace intuitive eating. The course is less than $100 and packed with strategies to help you find peace and neutrality around food.

Remember, intuitive eating is a personal journey. I have taken my clients’ most common issues and put them in this program just for you. Everything from guilt associated with eating to freedom is found in the eating experience.

Other Diet Behaviors to Stop

Even if you’ve quit dieting, you might still be doing things that increase your odds of binge eating:

– Not keeping certain foods in the house

– Making “healthified” versions of food

– Restricting calories

– Thinking of food as good and bad

– Eating certain things in secret

– Weighing yourself and using the scale as a measure of self-worth

– Equating weight with health

The Root of Diet Mentality: Shame

Our desire to diet and control our food is rooted in a deep sense of shame. We feel unworthy of love and acceptance if we’re not thin enough. We’ve been taught that weight determines our health and worth. Society’s narrative on weight isn’t to accept your genetic blueprint but to conform to an ideal of health. A person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to squeeze into a size six! But, we are willing to put our bodies through the wringer in hopes we can somehow conform to a “better version.” If you want to make one step in an intuitive eating journey today, tell yourself that you can’t (and shouldn’t have to) “squeeze” into any preconceived notion set before you!

Intuitive eating encourages individuals to break free from the shackles of shame and fear.

This fear is built on false promises and lies about health, wellness, and worthiness. The things we do to be healthy and control our food often lead to the opposite results—being out of control with food, damaging our health, and gaining weight. 

Your Invitation to Make Peace With Food

This is your invitation to choose to get off the rollercoaster. The Stepping Off the Dieting Rollercoaster mini-course is designed to help you achieve peace, neutrality, and freedom with food. Stop eating when you feel shame. A mindful approach to eating is the foundational concept of intuitive eating. Pause in the middle of your next shame cycle and proudly tell yourself, “I don’t have to eat a particular food to be worthy. Healthy eating is determined by my body’s needs, not diet culture.”

Ready to stop the behaviors increasing your odds of binge eating and weight gain? 

Principles of Intuitive Eating Recap

Let’s recap the behaviors to stop so you can have a peaceful relationship with food:

✖ Dieting

✖ Not keeping certain foods in the house

✖ Making “healthified” versions of food

✖ Restricting calories

✖ Thinking of food as good and bad

✖ Eating certain things in secret

✖ Weighing yourself and using the scale as a measure of self-worth

✖ Equating weight with health

By shifting away from these behaviors, you open the door to peace and freedom with food and within yourself. It’s a beautiful thing.

Real change happens when: 

→ You honor your hunger and discover the satisfaction factor

→ Get off the diet roller coaster and break free from diet culture

→ Challenge the food police mentality

→ Recognize and begin to address emotional eating

→ Respect your body and stop deprivation 

→ Move your body (joyful movement)

→ Give yourself unconditional permission to eat

→ Trust your health and taste buds

→ Tune into your hunger and fullness cues

Remember that intuitive eating isn’t another diet fad. It’s a new, free way to trust your taste buds while making healthier food choices. Also, remember that you don’t have to do this alone! 

If you have questions or ah-ha moments, slide into my DMs on Instagram. I love connecting with you. Catch the The Rebuilding Trust With Your Body Podcast for encouragement, practical tips, and to connect with others in the community!

Until next time, be kind and gentle with yourself and be free from diet culture.

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Search for Episode 129: How to Increase Your Odds of Binge Eating and Gaining Weight

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