Blog Post

The amazing results that happened when I quit yo-yo dieting for good

Jun 28, 2022

 My name is Heather McConochie and I was a Registered Nurse for 6.5 years and an online weight loss and nutrition coach for five years before becoming an Intuitive Eating Counselor.

I help women eat all foods without guilt or anxiety, stop overeating and obsessing over food and end yo-yo dieting by mastering the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating without focusing on the scale.

Today you will learn:

  • What exactly is "dieting"
  • 4 signs that dieting is hurting you
  • Expected challenges when you attempt to give up dieting
  • What you can create in your life when you ditch dieting permanently

Let’s start by defining what dieting is.

Dieting is any change or modification to your eating or your movement that is designed to shrink your body. 

Yo-yo dieting is trying a diet (keto! whole 30! macros!) for a period of time in order to shrink your body then reverting to your baseline style of eating, then repeating. This often involves losing and regaining weight aka “weight cycling.”

If you haven't noticed, we're pretty obsessed with shrinking bodies in our culture. And a lot of us don't even question that obsession. 

But dieting has a lot of potential negative side effects including worsening psychological and physical health.

Ever been on a diet only to regain all the weight you lost (and maybe even more?)

Ever felt like a failure because the diet didn’t work for you and you lost zero weight?

Ever felt anxious and trapped in your new thin body because you have to restrict food and move so much in order to maintain it? 

If so, then you have been personally victimized by dieting.

When I was working for five years as a weight loss coach, I would have clients lose weight (yay!) but then the same client would return one, two, three years later saying they’d regained the weight (boo.)

It's so easy to want to blame yourself and say something is wrong with you or your body instead of questioning the approach that you’re using in regards to your body and health.

When I was struggling with chronic dieting mentality, four symptoms presented.

Have you ever experienced these?

  1. Body dissatisfaction - This can manifest as body checking (looking at yourself in the mirror, looking at your reflection, judging your body, assessing your body.)
  2. Binge & overeating episodes - Eating the whole pizza AND that pan of brownies.
  3. Feeling obsessed with food - Thinking about food alllll the time.
  4. Missing food - Feeling like you are really missing out on your favorite foods.

After reaching rock bottom with dieting, I hired an intuitive eating coach to help me heal and grow.

She helped me return to my intuitive eating wisdom and break free from diet mentality but one of the challenges I experienced was weight gain.

Intuitive eating is not a weight-focused methodology and some people lose weight, others gain and the rest maintain following the principles. One of these three things will happen to you as you become an intuitive eater.

Focusing on your weight will delay if not outright sabotage the healing journey.

The goal of intuitive eating is to heal your relationship to body and food and return you to your innate intuitive eater, which is how you used to eat as a toddler before you were aware of societal expectations about your body’s appearance, before you knew about food rules and diets, when you simply ate what you wanted when you were hungry.

So I did experience some weight gain which was scary to me because I was still worshiping the thin ideal. 

I'm not gonna sit here and lie to you and tell you that I don't still struggle with those thoughts at times because I do.

Living in a culture that's obsessed with thinness is tough.

Dieting mentality deserves to be rejected everyday.

In addition to weight gain, I experienced body dysmorphia, seeing my body inaccurately, thinking it was much larger than it was. I also had a lot of anxious thoughts. That anxiety caused me to temporarily return to dieting behaviors during my healing journey. 

One of the things I've learned about intuitive eating is that it's not a linear process. You are going to bounce around. You're going to make progress and then feel like you went backwards, but it's all part of the healing journey of recovering from diet culture and returning to your innate wisdom about your body. 

One of the biggest challenges that I experienced learning to eat intuitively was eating my previously forbidden foods. I had made a lot of foods off limits in my mind without even realizing it.

Sugar. White flour products. Dairy. All were off-limits foods in my mind. 

Cookies. Cookie dough. Popsicles. Pasta. Bread. Bagels. Cream cheese. Cheese. Butter. Hummus. Full-fat alad dressing. The list goes on.

It scared me to eat these foods because I knew that my body was more likely to gain weight if I ate them.

One of the things that's so helpful to process and reflect on if you have a fear is to ask yourself what you’re really scared of underneath the first fear.

Scared to eat your forbidden foods. Why? 

Because you’re scared you’re gonna gain weight. 

Okay. Why, so what if you gain some weight? What are you scared is going to happen? 

When I did this for myself, I discovered that I was afraid I was not going to be able to attract a partner. What if I gain weight and can’t attract a soulmate?

I was afraid gaining weight would prevent me from attracting a partner but ditching dieting and allowing my body to flux up led me to meet my partner and fall in love just 4 months later.

Dieting was actually the behavior that was worsening my anxiety, increasing my isolation and inhibiting my confidence and courage. 

When you are engaged in dieting behaviors, it demands a huge amount of mental and emotional energy, not to mention time. (Author Christy Harrison calls dieting “the life thief.”) This is why dieting can prevent you from achieving your most important dreams.

What if you took all that time and energy you are devoting to thinking about your body and weight, managing your food, implementing food rules, overexercising and you redirected it towards the areas of life that mean the most to you?

I hope this was inspiring to you today and look forward to sharing more with you soon!

In the meantime, listen to the newest episode of my podcast The Positive Thread HERE (on iTunes, Spotify and my website)