Healthy Family  >  Why Diets Are So Last Year and What To Do Instead

Why Diets Are So Last Year and What To Do Instead

Karen SchachterOnce in a blue moon, you meet someone and forge a deep connection right at the outset. You wonder how you could’ve lived so long without their friendship, insightfulness, and positive influence in your life. You feel like you've known that person forever, and you can’t remember what it was like before they became an integral part of your day.

Has this ever happened to you? When I met Karen Schachter, our guest blogger and founder of Dishing With Your Daughter, she seemed familiar. We spoke the same language and definitely had that “where do I know you from” conversation. We bonded over green smoothies and our philosophy on real nourishment, and we geeked-out on mind-body nutrition.

Not only is Karen a true friend and respected colleague, she also brings with her 18 years of wisdom as a psychotherapist and 5 years as a certified health counselor. We both knew that we connected for a reason, and with our instant friendship, a delicious concept was born… we’re so excited to share all the details with you next week. (Such a tease.)

In the meantime, enjoy Karen’s post that will likely strike a chord with many of you, and don’t forget to share your comments below.

Embrace The Non-Diet Mentality

By Karen Schachter

If weight-loss dieting were a drug, it would have been taken off the market a long time ago.

Not only is its success rate shockingly low (95% of dieters gain their weight back within 1-5 years), but its negative impact - its ability to cause harm -is depressingly high:  35% of "normal dieters" progress to pathological dieting, and of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. (Thank you to for these stats).

And worse yet, some of those who fall victim to these statistics are our children:

49% of 9-11 year olds are "sometimes" or "very often" on diets.  This does not bode well for their future, given the statistics. (Yes, even if they are overweight. More on that in a minute). And despite all this dieting, we as a culture are getting heavier; eating disorders are epidemic; and our health problems continue to escalate.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  ~Albert Einstein

It's time for a new paradigm. Do you agree?

Now, don't get me wrong, if weight-loss diets WORKED  - if they promoted health, happiness, peace and well-being, I'd be their biggest fan.

In fact, it's not the "diet" itself that I hate.  The word "diet" comes from the Latin word "diaeta" which, literally, means: "a manner of living."

I'm all for choosing a healthy "diet" (a healthy "manner of living").  For some people, that may mean low-sugar, vegan, macrobiotic, Paleo, Weston A. Price, gluten-free, GAPS, and so on.  I'm even a fan of cleanses and detoxes for some people, some of the time. These "manners of living (and eating)" can be life-saving and life-enhancing. Great.

What I do have a problem with, and what I am on a mission to change, is the DIET MENTALITY. The constant cycling of dieting and deprivation and self-disgust and shame that seem to accompany so many people on weight-loss diets.  The way so many girls and women feel that their body size or weight on the scale determines their worth.

The diet mentality is a way of thinking, behaving and believing that perpetuates feelings of deprivation, shame, guilt, and disconnect from our bodies and our lives.  The DIET MENTALITY keeps us "small" in our lives, in an attempt to get "small" in our bodies. Not fun.

And for our children?

Don't even get me started. 90% of my adult clients (who have struggled with weight issues, disordered eating, chronic dieting or full-blown eating disorders for years) started their dieting as pre-teens or teens. (And I'm convinced that my first diet in 7th grade triggered my own eating disorder).  20 and 30 and 40 years later, many of these women are still struggling. With shame and hiding and guilt and a bunch of other feelings mixed in.

"But, Karen," you may be wondering, "what if I really am overweight? Or have 5/10/15 pounds I want to lose? What if my child needs to lose weight?"

My answer: Let's find a nourishing (and sustainable) way of eating that supports who YOU are.

Let's figure out what works best for your body and brain, and help you make choices from a place of love and kindness and health, rather than guilt and fear and hate.  Let's enhance your connection to your own body so the wish to treat it lovingly far outweighs the wish to continue to judge, criticize, and over-stuff.

Let's make sure it's well-nourished and well-balanced, and that your life is filled up with tons of goodies too.  Doesn't that sound so much better? And maybe, just maybe, we'll have a better success rate than the diets do!

Question of the Day: Do you have a non-diet mentality when it comes to food and body?  Share your experiences & insights below.


  • Lynn Weisenfeld says:

    Thank you for sharing this insight. Karen’s thoughts express the reason why I am so excited to begin my own journey to become a Health Coach.Elise you and your blog inspired me to begin a new journey for myself, my family and Sophie.<3

    • Elise says:

      Thanks, Lynn {big smile}. Congratulations on your decision to become a health coach. I cannot wait to hear about your journey and all the positive changes for you and your family, including your four-legged member.

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