• Su-Nui Escobar, MS, RDN

Are you ready to ditch the diet? How I did it using mindful eating.

Updated: Jan 13

Today, I woke up feeling peaceful and inspired. As I walked to the kitchen to pour myself a nice cup of coffee, I started thinking about the wonderful and powerful step I took when I ditched dieting.

Don’t get me wrong, deciding to stop dieting was a hard thing to do. It was very scary to let my knowledge about food, my mom’s teachings and my body guide me through my food choices. I thought I was going to gain weight and feel unhappy.

As predicted by research, the opposite happened. I now have a better body weight, a better body image and I am much happier. It was liberating to stop the constant struggle with myself about having the perfect eating day or the perfect body. I also see my kid developing an ability to self-regulate his own eating behaviors. It is wonderful when he says: “no more, thank you. I am full.” I know this lesson will stay with him for a long time and will make his life easier.

After all, the Institute of Medicine Early Childhood Prevention Policies states that respecting hunger and fullness cues prevents and treats childhood obesity.

Letting go, instead of controlling, changed my life. I had to learn to trust myself. It is incredible but took me a lifetime to reach this point. It took a lot of learning, a lot of mistakes, and lots of failures. It took a doctorate degree in nutrition to learn to trust myself. Now, you DON'T need to go as far as I did. You can trust yourself now, you already have a lot of what you need. Get some guidance, there are tons of good information available. Start with simple steps, such as the three actions below.

Top 3 things you can do today to get you to your goal:

  1. Focus on your food during mealtime. There is a Zen proverb that says: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” Simple concept: be mentally present during mealtime. People who pay attention to their food, tend to eat the perfect amount of food (often less) and enjoy more.

  2. Choose foods based on nutrition and food preferences. Explore new items, bring back your old favorites. Choose foods that nourish you and that you actually enjoy. This will let you feeling satisfied and will make you less likely to overeat later.

  3. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Rate your hunger before, during and after your meal. Basic concept. Yet, if you are used to bypass these cues to honor the “diet” it will take some time to regain such skills. However, once you relearn to listen to your body it will be much easier to eat just enough to keep your body in shape.

So, how can you stop the dieting cycle? A great option is to work with a Registered Dietitian specialized on mindful and intuitive eating. She/him can teach you what healthy/mindful eating looks like and techniques to achieve success. You can also learn on your own, I recommend to start by looking at the wonderful free resources at The Center for Mindful Eating website.

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