How to Not Diet in 2021 Stress Free, Using Intuitive Eating

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A pile of smashed and broken bathroom scales lies on a concrete step in an urban park.

Are you tired of dieting? 

Yes, starting a new diet can be exciting. There’s the anticipation of success and all the possibilities. Soon after, though, reality starts to set in. You find the diet is hard to stick to, you can’t go out to eat with your friends, and that you’re not getting the results you hoped for. 

You end up “failing” the diet. Ugh.

In reality, you didn’t fail the diet. The diet industry failed you.

There is an alternative to dieting: Intuitive Eating. We’ll talk more about intuitive eating in a minute. First, let’s clarify what dieting is.

What is dieting? 

A diet is any way of eating that involves three things:

  1. Restriction: Dieting is when you restrict your food. You give up fat, carbs, protein, meat, dairy, etc. with a focus on losing weight or reshaping your body. Restriction can also involve giving up workouts or movement that you love because it “doesn’t burn enough calories.” For example, you enjoy walking but decide to start running because “it burns more calories.”
  1. Focusing on calories: Dieting tunes your focus, and energy, on calories. The calories you’re eating and those that you’re burning.
  1. Moralizing food, workouts, and yourself: Labeling food, workouts, or yourself “good” or “bad” is when we moralize things and ourselves.

What is Intuitive Eating? And, is not dieting a thing?

Yes, not dieting is a thing. 

My preferred approach for stopping dieting is Intuitive Eating. It is an evidence-based methodology with 10 guiding principles to help you on your journey of becoming someone who just eats. 

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating are:

  1. Reject the diet mentality.
  2. Honor your hunger.
  3. Make peace with food.
  4. Challenge the food police.
  5. Discover the satisfaction factor.
  6. Feel your fullness.
  7. Cope with your emotions with kindness.
  8. Respect your body.
  9. Movement – feel the difference.
  10. Honor your health with gentle nutrition.

The purpose of the 10 Principles is to empower you to trust your body and give your body what it needs. When you practice the principles you also develop a relationship with food that helps nourish your body and get pleasure from eating. 

Yes: it really is OK for food and eating to be pleasurable.

What does it look like to not diet?

We are so entrenched in diet culture, sometimes it can be hard to even imagine what the alternative looks like.  As a dietitian, our traditional training is diet focused, so some of the principles of intuitive eating were also surprising to me!

But, there are some amazing advantages of not dieting. Not dieting lets you connect or reconnect with your body. 

Here are a few ways “eating” vs. “dieting” look different.

Intuitive EatingDieting
Realizing you are hungry and eating until you are full.Realizing you are hungry and not eating because you just ate, or it isn’t time to eat, or maybe you’re thirsty so you’ll drink some water first.
So much wasted mental energy!
Feeling that you’re full and choosing to stop eating. 

Or, feeling that you’re full and choosing to eat more because you know one meal won’t make or break your health or weight.
Feeling that you’re full and keep eating because you won’t get to eat again for a few hours. 
Or, feeling that you’re full and keeping eating because you don’t know when you’ll get to have this food again. 
Or, feeling that you’re full and keeping eating because you’ve already blown your diet so you might as well keep eating anyway.
When you start to notice your hunger, you stop and think about what you’d really like to eat then eat that.When you start to notice you’re hungry and really want something in particular, you eat something else because it has fewer calories. 
When that isn’t satisfying, you eat something else. When you’re still not satisfied, you may eat something else. Then, you give up and eat what you really wanted in the first place. What’s next? Shame and guilt. Where is the pleasure in that?

But, wait …what about losing weight?

Losing weight is one of the main reasons people go on a diet. Not dieting means that you may not lose weight. You might, but you might not. Let me explain. 

Your body’s weight and shape are determined by so many things – not just what you eat and what workouts you do. For example, your DNA plays a huge role in how your body looks. You may want to be 5’9” tall, but if your family on both sides are all under 5’5” it is unlikely you’ll be 5’9”. Let’s be honest – trying to achieve and maintain a body shape that is not in your genes is like trying to fit your size 9 feet into a size 6 shoe. It may work for a little bit but you won’t be wearing those shoes for long….we all know how it worked out when Cinderella’s sisters tried to force the wrong size shoes on to her feet!

Just like trying to get your feet to fit into smaller shoes doesn’t work for long, neither does whipping your body into a shape it isn’t meant to be. 

You may be able to hit that number on the scale, or have that “ideal” figure for a short period of time. To maintain that for the long term, is a whole other, long-term battle. 

And really, do you want to feel like you’re in a battle all the time?

How much time, energy, and money do you spend dieting?

Dieting isn’t free. 

Usually, starting a diet takes time and energy to learn about the diet and plan what you’re going to do. Dieting takes money to buy the food and, often, involves throwing out food that isn’t allowed on the diet.

Take a moment and think about how much time, energy, and money you spent on your last diet? 

Is that how you really want to spend those things?

Is Intuitive Eating code for “giving up”?

This is a common misconception. Many people, and the diet industry, would love for you to think that if you embrace Intuitive Eating, that you’re giving up. In a way, you are giving up. You’re giving up on the diet industry that has failed you time and again.

Intuitive Eating is not all about the myths. It is about developing a constructive and joyous relationship with your own body and with food.

Where else would you spend that time, energy, and money if not on dieting?

Learning to be an intuitive eater frees up the time, energy, and money you would normally spend on dieting. Would you like to keep going around and around on the diet roller coaster? Do you want to keep dealing with the physical and emotional ups-and-downs?

Or, would you rather learn how to not diet and learn how to just eat? Would you like to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re ready? Would you like to be one of “those people” who “just eat” and not worry about it?

I would love to help you with that. 

You deserve freedom from dieting. 

You deserve to just eat.

If you are ready to learn how to just eat, all you have to do is set up a call to talk with me. I have a limited number of spots for you to be one of my one-on-one clients. We can work together and you can learn what it is like to be one of those people who just eats and doesn’t stress about it. You can also learn more about working with me.

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Dr. Penny



My goal is help you take control of your triggers so you can lead a normal life. I’ve had Irritable Bowel Syndrome for over 14 years. I’ve been told, “It’s all in your head.” And, “You just need to figure out what’s causing your symptoms” without being provided any help to figure it out. I’ve finally gotten my symptoms under control. I want to help you do the same thing. I want to help you get your life back.


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