How to Stop Dieting

by | Intuitive Eating

Do you feel like you’re stuck in the never-ending cycle of dieting? If the idea of intuitive eating sounds good to you but you don’t know where to start – keep reading! We’re here to help you learn how to stop dieting! But first, let’s discuss why it’s important to stop dieting, and then finish with some tips to stop dieting for good. 


Why it’s Important to Stop Dieting

  • 95% of diets fail (keyword – the diet fails, not you), and most people gain back the weight they lost on a diet 
  • Dieting puts emphasis on weight alone and discounts true factors of health
  • Yo-yo dieting is harmful for your body and can lead to a strained relationship with food 
  • Dieting leads you away from your own intuition and body cues 
  • 30-45% of dieters develop an eating disorder [1]


Tips to Stop Dieting

1. Ask yourself what dieting has taken away from you

Have you missed out on social events with friends, suppressed your hunger, or skipped out on your favorite seasonal treats? Diets have a lot of strict and rigid rules that can take a toll on you mentally and physically. You might not realize how much dieting has negatively affected you until you stop and think about it. 

2. Ask yourself what food rules you have formed from dieting

A food rule is something that you feel like you have to follow, and can feel guilt or shame if you don’t follow the “rules.” For example, “I can only have carbs once a day.” (P.S. – that’s not true! Carbs are your body’s preferred source of energy and should be incorporated at each meal). 

These rules often come from external sources and force us to go against our own intuition! It is important to identify these food rules and then challenge them. The more you can push back against these rules, the more you’ll begin to trust your body. It might feel scary at first, but eventually, your mind and body will adjust and it will become the norm to no longer have these rules. 

3. Surround yourself with a good support system 

Surrounding yourself with good support is so important when you stop dieting. Maybe you were bonding with friends over the latest diet, but then you wouldn’t have anything to talk about when you weren’t dieting? If that’s the case, you might want to think about distancing yourself from these people. This might involve setting boundaries and advocating for yourself. 

4. Clean up your social media 

If you are following accounts that talk about diet foods and trends, take some time to unfollow these accounts. That way you’re not bombarded with see these negative messages when you get online. Also, you can go a step further and follow accounts that promote positive messages around food and body image

5. Eat regularly throughout the day

Despite what some diets might have you think, it’s important to eat regularly throughout the day. If you are experiencing hunger cues, honor them and give your body the fuel it is requesting. If you have been dieting for a long time, your hunger cues might be suppressed. Eating every 2-3 hours can help your hormones start functioning properly again so that your body sends you cues. 

6. Incorporate fear foods 

Dieting might have led you away from foods you used to love. If you have formed fear foods, start incorporating them again. Sometimes your “diet voice” might convince you that you only like certain foods – think back to a time before you started dieting and make a list of foods you used to enjoy. This might feel overwhelming at first. If so, start by purchasing one or two new foods a week from the grocery store. 

7. Eat foods that satisfy you 

Eating food that fills you up is different from eating food that actually satisfies you. For example if you really wanted french fries as a side at a meal, but ordered vegetables instead you might feel physically full after but not emotionally satisfied. Ask yourself what you truly want to eat, and allow yourself to have it. 


Final thoughts 

Navigating away from dieting is hard, especially if you have done it for a long time or heard diet messages growing up. Hold some compassion for yourself and recognize it takes time to form new thoughts and habits. Working with a non-diet dietitian can help support you in this process. 


  1. Tribole, Evelyn, and Resch, Elyse. Intuitive Eating A Revolutionary Diet Approach. New York. St. Martins Essentials. 2020. 

About Us

Courage to Nourish is a group of eating disorder specialized dietitians. We have in-person locations in Alexandria, VirginiaColumbia, Maryland. and College Park, Maryland. We offer virtual services across the state of Maryland. VirginiaWashington DC. Pennsylvania, and Colorado. We offer individual nutrition therapy. As well as support groups. We would love to guide you in building a better relationship with food.

Contact us for more information. And to schedule a discovery call. Also, sign up for our client or clinician newsletter!

Leslie Bobo-Kiesel, RD, LD

I have experience working at PHP and IOP levels of care in eating disorder treatment. I have seen how harmful messages can impact eating habits, and I joined Courage to Nourish to work with clients to heal that relationship. I meet clients where they are and support them on their journey. My values align with Health at Every Size and I am in the process of becoming a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Above all else, I want my clients to be seen as humans and treated with inclusive care.


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