Why diets don’t work

Hi guys


In the preparations for our trip later this year, we have to deal with lots of decisions, changes, shifts and work. Next to the overload of things we all have to do on daily basis as a entrepreneur and mother of 3, I’m also organizing my house using KonMari Method. We need to rent out the place so everything has to fit in a container or sailing vessel.


Because I have so much to organize before we go, I’m guilty of not regulating food when I’m on the road these days. In the process of letting go of books, memories, clothes and more stuff, I also felt the itch of filling the empty holes with chocolate. So I let go in the health dept. and I’m feeling not so light, bright, or full of energy these days. I’ve  never tried any exclusive cleanses or detoxes. I’m sensing I need it now. The low energy is getting in the way. Time to say goodbye to chocolate for a while?


I do believe in a fresh start but I don’t believe in diets. Allthough I’m not a big believer in detoxing, in my head it is important to start over with some kind of natural detox while changing eating habits. Diets are not sustainable. They operate with a mentality of scarcity and deprivation. They force us to remove whole food groups that can actually be great for us when done right.


I reframe “diets” into changing eating habits.  What all successful “diets” have in common is that they ask us to reduce our intake of junk and increase our intake of real foods. Limiting our intake only increases our desire to eat more. So  get more out of your food and avoid the intake of nutrionally-empty foods.


Long term changes require us to break down old habits in new ways we can keep consistent. It’s a lifestyle and process. It just requires us to pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t… to be mindful and forgiving, and open to what our body asks for.


I never tried a detox or a diet. I don’t even know how much I weigh personally and I love food. I love the smell, taste, look, … of healthy real food but when I’m in overdrive I don’t eat so mindful. It’s not lack of knowledge.  I studied Ayurveda for 3 years. I have a basic pathology degree and I’ even took massage therapist courses. I know my genetic risks.  I’m familiar with my family medical history.  Heart and lungs.  My fathers mom and dad passed away when I was extremely young because of unhealthy life style.


What worked for me in the past was mindful eating:


1) Asking myself why I eat that chocolate bar? It begins with awareness.


In my case its always the same.  During the week if I leave early I don’t eat breakfast with the children, so I eat something during driving. During the week the children eat lunch at school.


a) I didn’t organize my food for the day when I’m on the road so I eat what I find
b) I don’t eat and then I’m so hungry that I eat what I find (so again organization). I never overeat.
c) Out of comfort
d) Had no time to eat or better I didn’t took time to eat…
e) I eat what they give me during day trainings, gigs,…
g) I eat to replace an empty feeling
h) I don’t drink enough
i) Big emotions like panic, like we experienced twice already during sailing.  After that I crave for chocolate.


2) If I come upon that reason.  E.g. I eat out of comfort, then I ask myself what can I do to replace that feeling some other way? Or what can I do to organize better?


3) Then I choose whether to eat it or not. I didn’t use this technique in the last 4 months and I feel it.


4) You can also look at the outcome of changing habits. In my case it doesn’t work. I have to look at the consequences of not changing my habits


Some more tips:


If you feel guilt or shame about neglecting yourself? If you play a recording in your head that goes something like this: “I misbehaved –  I feel guilty – I’m ashamed that I let myself go  – therefore, I deserve punishment.”

Is a radical diet actually a POSITIVE? Or is it just a way to punish yourself for your so-called “bad behaviour” or overindulgence?


  • Give yourself permission to clean the slate. If there’s anything that you’re feeling guilt or shame about, let it go. Start with a clean slate and refuse to feel like you need to punish yourself.
  • Focus on rest and recovery
  • Drink lots of water: Hydration is important if you’ve eaten a lot of processed foods, been drinking more alcohol or existing solely on coffee.
  • Focus on eating real, whole foods
  • Minimise sweets and sugars: It doesn’t mean you can’t have a treat! In fact, having a few smaller treats throughout your week can help minimise feelings of deprivation and punishment that often come with over-restricting what we eat.
  • Invite movement into your day
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to feelings of hunger, stress, energy, etc. If you can tap in to your intuition you’ll notice that your body will guide you towards what you really need, if you really listen.
  • Be kind to yourself!! Start with something small and do-able and continue to make improvements every day.


So I you ever feel the urge to try a diet.  Read this post again and start changing your habits. In the meanwhile I’m working on it!


 Take care!

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