Stop dieting and eat normally: 5 strategies to embrace a healthy relationship with food

Why you’re struggling to stop dieting and eat normally

In a world obsessed with diets, weight loss, and poor body image, it’s no surprise that you’ve found yourself trapped in disordered eating.

Your quest for health and a “better” body has distorted your relationship with food.

Thankfully, it’s possible to break free and learn how to eat normally again.

You can relearn how to nourish both your body and mind. Finally break free. You can stop dieting and eat normally.

In this blog, we will explore 5 practical strategies and mindset shifts to transform your eating.

You can embrace a more intuitive and happy relationship with food.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

How to stop dieting and eat normally

1. Reject the diet mentality:

The first step towards ending dieting is to reject the diet mentality altogether.

Diets are typically restrictive, unsustainable, and often focus on short-term results.

Instead, shift your mindset towards nourishing your body with a balanced and varied diet.

Remember that food is not the enemy; it’s a source of energy, pleasure, and vital nutrients.

It feels like you’ve been in battle with food and your body forever. But dieting and restriction aren’t the only way.

Reflect on how you want your life to be:

Do you want to be consumed by food? Do you want to spend every day thinking meticulously about what you’re eating? Probably not if you’re here.

Start rejecting the dieting mindset by simply noticing when your brain turns to dieting thoughts. Over time, you will start to notice triggers or situations that bring this up. Then you can begin to change how you respond.

2. Commit to a new approach:

Intuitive Eating is a powerful tool to help you reconnect with your body’s cues.

It’s about satisfaction and choosing foods based on taste, texture, and what would be most enjoyable. It’s about saying no to the food police (that voice that’s judgy about food) and saying yes to trusting yourself with all foods.

Allow yourself to enjoy all types of food without guilt or judgment. Remember, there are no “good” or “bad” foods; this takes time to master but you’ll get there.

We recommend reading this starter blog on Intuitive Eating to learn more.

3. Explore how dieting has harmed you:

Let’s be honest. You started dieting and/or restricting your food for a reason.

It’s often for weight loss, to maintain weight, or for some other reason like to have control in your life.

But, you’re at the point where it’s harming you.

It’s taken control of your life.

And disordered eating is not how you want to live anymore.

You’re done with how it makes you feel, right?

Another piece of the puzzle is to know in your bones that you can’t bear to diet anymore.

We recommend using this worksheet to explore how dieting has impacted your life. You can refer to this whenever the desire to restrict rears its head again.

4. Address emotional triggers:

Many turn to food as a coping mechanism for stress, boredom, or emotional discomfort. Every now and then, emotional eating and using food to feel better is normal.

But when it becomes your only coping mechanism, that’s when it becomes disordered.

In this case, it’s essential to explore alternative ways of managing emotions.

This might be with activities that bring you joy. Such as hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or self-care routines.

Womans hands writing in a diary about wanting to stop dieting and eat normally.

Can you think of five different ways you can soothe yourself when you feel the need to emotionally need?

There is a caveat. These are usually temporary fixes; perfect for stressful days at work or as one-offs. So we recommend unpacking and processing anything deeper that’s going on, such as in 1-1 nutrition and therapy support.

5. Seek professional help:

If you’re struggling to break free from disordered eating patterns, seeking help is crucial.

Who better than specialists who have helped 100s?

Our person-centred support transforms lives. We are a team of nutritionists, dietitians, and eating disorder recovery coaches, ready to support you.

We work with you to develop a healthy relationship with food and overcome your troubles with dieting and restriction.

You can explore support with us here.

Summary:

Ending the cycle of dieting and embracing normal eating is a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and perseverance.

By rejecting the diet mentality, practising intuitive eating, addressing emotional triggers, and seeking professional help, you can develop a healthy relationship with food.

You can have a healthy balance that brings you nourishment and joy with food.

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