Leanne Nalani

{January 28, 2014}   Rejecting the Diet Mentality

Rejecting the diet mentality is one of the first things you read about with intuitive eating. This principle goes against pretty much everything I’ve ever done and learned in my little “health/diet/weight loss/weight maintenance/whatever” bubble. The idea is that you should not be thinking or doing anything related to dieting including but not limited to: following specified diet plans, listening to those ads in the magazines, allowing for false hope on the multitudes of diets out there that don’t actually work, weighing in all the time, and tracking food.



If you’d asked me in 2013 if I was dieting I would probably have denied it. I would have said that I always allow myself to eat any and all of the foods I love and that I was maintaining my weight, not dieting.

What is dieting, anyway? People probably have a lot of definitions. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to say that it is any kind of plan that contains rules and restrictions regarding food. Something like that. And the truth is that I was doing it all the time last year. I didn’t want to believe that, but it is what left me gasping for food when I went into binge-mode.

Last year I would have said the only way I believed that I can maintain my weight loss is by tracking every bite I eat for the rest of my life and weighing in weekly. I had accepted those facts as truths.

I was scared of eating bad foods because they caused weight gain and because I was sure that the moment I got my hands on it I wouldn’t stop eating it. I planned ahead for every outing, strategizing what to eat and how much exercise to do beforehand in order to ingest the fewest calories possible. I tracked my food the day before actually eating it. I didn’t wait until I was hungry to eat – Rather, I ate at the scheduled time and made sure to eat the foods I had planned for the day before. Whether or not I wanted it wasn’t really relevant. It fit into the calorie budget, was healthy, and met the correct percentage of carbs/fat/protein ratio.

The problem with that was how strict it all was. It was over-controlled. It ended in several uber-binge-modes that lasted weeks on end and made me gain weight. I was gasping for the foods I wasn’t allowed to have so I ate them all in large quantities because who knows when I was ever going to get to have them again? After the damage was done, I had to go back into diet mode to get it all off as quickly as possible. So the cycle repeats.

*I’m not saying that I don’t believe in these things anymore. It worked for me for a good long time and it’s also how I lost all the weight in the first place. I give these dieting techniques a ton of credit.


Now I’m experiencing enjoyment of foods that I love including the “bad” foods. I get to eat whatever I want when I’m hungry, until I’m full. I know that I can have anything so there’s no worry about when the next time I’m going to get a Blizzard is. In fact, this weekend, I had the opportunity to get a Blizzard but instead wanted a caramel sundae. Funny how that works. I’ve also learned that some of the foods I used to crave all the time really aren’t as good as I thought.

Something else I learned is about taste hunger. It’s when you’re not actually hungry but you still want to have something tasty, like for me it’s sweets. Every once in a while I’ll crave something and I’ll have a bit of it. A cookie here, some ice cream there. It only takes a few bites for me to be happy and done with it.

I stopped tracking food this week. I had been practicing intuitive eating while still tracking food for a while and have gradually gotten to a stopping point. Now I only track my fitness and water through FitBit.

I haven’t stepped on the scale in a couple of weeks, too. I’m gauging how my clothes fit and how I feel while getting more in touch with the way my body feels. I will still be weighing in probably twice a month just to see how things are going.


*This step of Intuitive Eating comes from:








I love your new perspective!

Thanks! I’m really enjoying not thinking about food constantly. It turns out that being obsessed with food and numbers takes a lot of energy!

You have me absolutely convinced that I need to read this book!

It’s worth a read! Although I’d say it might not be the best choice for people who are trying to lose a certain amount of weight, especially if they are trying to meet a deadline. It’s perfect for weight maintenance, though!

I think you hit the nail on the head there! When you have a lot of weight to lose, intuitive eating probably wouldn’t work because you don’t have any concept of how to self-regulate after years of bad habits. There probably wouldn’t be much progress and that would be frustrating. It would be a great to start incorporating after you’ve made some headway and are starting to figure out hunger signals and portion control, though.

[…] as “slip” – where everything truly was okay and I could honestly say I never had the “diet” mentality, but I know I’m not there and I suspect a lot of us who have lost weight or who […]

I’m a bit late in replying, but I LOVE this post! I think for now while I’m losing, I need to be in the diet mindset, but this gives me hope that maybe I won’t always need to think like this. Kudos to you!!

Thanks! Yes, I think that completely discarding the diet mentality isn’t for everyone, especially those trying to lose a certain amount of weight. I think it’s perfect for maintenance, though. I’m loving how intuitive eating is working out for me!

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