5 Reasons Why Chronic Yo-Yo Dieting is Self-Destructive

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Have you tried every diet, detox, and cleanse yet you still find yourself reaching for the next one? Do you wonder what it will take to finally learn to love or at least accept your body? What it will take for you to relax and not stress so much around food?

I did this for literally years, probably more like decades. It was frustrating, stressful, and exhausting. I was so afraid that I’d forever continue that desperate, endless search for the one diet or workout that would finally bring me peace with food and my body - that I’d never have a “normal” relationship with food; that I’d never learn to accept my body; that I’d never find the answer.

Well fortunately after years of torment, I did find the answer. It took time and a commitment to a journey of deep inner work to find it, but when I did, I realized it was much more profound than what my initial searches were looking for.

I’d like to share some important truths that came to light for me throughout my journey so that you, too, can begin to break free from the fruitless cycle of dieting. Here’s what I now know:

1) Dieting, restricting, and depriving doesn’t work. If it worked, it would have worked by now. Diets have been around since the 1950s and they are still going strong. Dieting may work for a while but not long term. My weight and my happiness were like a roller coaster going up and down. With every high I’d think, “Yes, I’ve got it under control” yet around the corner was another fall that brought more guilt, stress, and frustration. It became an endless cycle of self-destruction and led me to define my worth by my weight.

2) “For every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge” – this famous quote from Geneen Roth couldn’t ring more true for me. I think starving myself in my 20s put me in a constant state of hunger in my 30s. It all makes so much sense to me now. The dieting, restricting, and depriving cycle will only lead to binging. That cycle made me lose sense of my natural hunger and fullness cues.  

3) Punishing your body is a recipe for failure – whether it’s starving or over-exercising. I was always trying to undo what I ate the day before by skipping a meal and/or subjecting myself to a grueling workout. I was a “bad girl”, so I deserved to be punished. Physically this can put the body in starvation mode which causes it to slowly burn calories and hold on to weight. This physical abuse is emotionally toxic, and it seeps into our psyche.

4) Beating yourself up for failing to lose weight or stick to a diet has serious repercussions. This is the place our mind naturally goes – blaming yourself. I have no willpower. I need to be more disciplined. From this place, our mind only breeds more criticism, blame, and guilt which causes more stress and emotional turmoil – both of which are counterintuitive to weight loss. Self-compassion, the antidote to this, is actually the answer.

5) Losing weight will not make you love your body. No matter what I weighed, I still wasn’t happy with my body. Years into my journey after I healed my relationship with food, I got to a nice happy weight. I actually liked the number on the scale, yet I still wasn’t happy with my body. Only then did I realize – it wasn’t about my weight. It was about how I saw myself and what I was choosing to focus on – everything I didn’t like about my body and comparisons with others. This pursuit of perfection only fostered my body dysmorphia.

Everything I was doing had that same pattern of self-abuse – I was beating myself up physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The underlying message was, “I am not good enough. I need to restrict and deprive and if I don’t, then I deserve to be punished – both physically and emotionally.”

And not talking about it only makes it worse. Take it from me. I kept it private for way too long. This kept me feeling alone and more stuck in my head. Once I did talk about it, it was like this sigh of relief – finally letting it out and bonding with others who could relate. That support, emotional connection, and resonance made me feel better and helped me begin to heal.

Ultimately what I needed was sustainable, lasting methods to heal my relationship with food and start to change the way I saw my body and myself. Restorative approaches like self-compassion, mindfulness, holistic nourishment, and self-love. For more on self-love, click here.  

It may sound illogical or unscientific, but it doesn’t have to be so hard. It doesn’t have to be full of force, punishment, and hate. Because when we come from a natural state of ease, relaxation, and nourishment – then our bodies can find their natural, rightful weight and healing and health can expand. This is where the magic happens.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I cannot believe my transformation. Read more about my story here.

I now have a life that allows me to …

  • Have the freedom to enjoy foods I love without guilt

  • Feel comfortable enough to show off my body without worrying about how it looks

  • Have that confidence, freedom, and ease I’ve been longing for

  • Look in the mirror and actually like what I see 

This may sound too good to be true but it’s not. If I can do this, anyone can.  

Because of my experience, I am passionate about sharing what I’ve learned and helping women find peace with food and their body. If you’re done with dieting and want to learn how to make this change for you, let’s chat.