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“Anti-Diet” 101: The Dangers of Dieting and the “Yo-Yo”

What is a “Diet”?

Oxford Dictionary Definition: To restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.

Weight Loss by “The Numbers”

1. Almost 70% of Americans reported dieting at some point in their lives.

2. 90% of people who lose weight intentionally gain it back within five years.

3. 66% of said dieters end up gaining more weight than they lost.

With this in mind, we are led to the question posed by the “anti-diet” dietitian Christy Harrison: “If dieting is so clearly ineffective, why are we so obsessed with it?” (The Anti-Diet, 2019)

As exposed in previous posts from Marianne and Sarah, pop culture appears the likely culprit. (See: &

What is “The Anti-Diet”?

Christy Harrison Definition: “Anti-diet means anti–diet culture.. Being against diet culture doesn’t mean being against health [and] does NOT mean anti–medical nutrition therapy.”

This thought process recognized that the pursuit of intentional weight loss is a failed paradigm which often elicits further stress and can actually lead to concerning health problems such as weight cycling.

The “Yo-Yo Effect”

Yo-Yo dieting is the pattern of losing weight and regaining it. Despite being rooted in attempts to lose weight, evidence shows that such weight cycling may actually lead to long-term weight struggles and a greater risk of obesity. So if dieting and weight loss isn’t the cure-all solution we’ve been “fed” to believe, what do we listen to and who can we trust? How about… you. I’d like you to meet your intuition… Enchanté!

What is “Intuitive-Eating”?

Defined by Originators - Dietitians Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch: Intuitive Eating is a self-care eating framework integrating instinct, emotion, and rational thought (Intuitive Eating, 1995).

Now that you’ve been introduced, it’s time to get acquainted. This is not as easy as you might think, or as we would like, but these 10 principles are here to help us start listening to us.

The 10 Principles:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality

  2. Honor Your Hunger

  3. Make Peace with Food

  4. Challenge the Food Police

  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

  6. Feel Your Fullness

  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness

  8. Respect Your Body

  9. Movement - Feel the Difference

  10. Honor Your Health - Gentle Nutrition

Grounded in an appreciation of the integration of both physical and mental health, intuitive eating aligns well with the progressive Health at Every Size movement. Hey, HAES, there’s plenty of room and lots of fun here with us and our intuition, come join the self-love party!

What is “Health at Every Size”?

Definition: Believing that health is a result of behaviors that are independent of body weight and that favoring being thin discriminates against the overweight and the obese... Recognizing that health outcomes are not merely a consequence of choice but more often driven by social, economic, and environmental factors. [The peace movement] supports people of all sizes in adopting healthy behaviors and recognizes that our social characteristics (size, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, disability status, and other attributes), are assets, and acknowledges and challenges the structural and systemic forces that impinge on living well” (Bacon, 2008).

*Always remember - take what you hear with caution and try to act on your intuition - Live well!

Resources for further Interest

- The Health at Every Size® Pledge:

- Food Psych Podcast with Christy Harrison:


Bacon, L. (2008). Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight [Book].

Harrison, C. (2019). ANTI-DIET Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating [Book].

Tribole, E & Elyse Resch. (1995). Intuitive Eating: Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works [Book].

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