No Wellness Wankery

6: Am I on a diet or eating intuitively?

May 24, 2022 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
6: Am I on a diet or eating intuitively?
Show Notes Transcript

Diets don’t work – 96% of them fail long-term. So why are more people on a diet than ever? 

Welcome to a brave new ‘wellness’ world where diets are dressed up and paraded as a ‘healthy lifestyle choice’ or ‘a way of eating’. 

This sly rebrand tricks you into thinking you’re doing the “right thing” for your body. But diets, like the Atkins Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet and Lemon Detox Diet to name a few I’ve tried over the years, were much less damaging when they said what they were on the tin (though still plenty harmful.)

But it appears even diet companies are realising that diets don't work and are rebranding to try and entice us back in.  So how do we know if we are eating intuitively or really just on another diet. 

Not across intuitive eating? Well, you know instinctively know when you are tired and when you need the bathroom. But did you know that a very similar mechanism can help you regulate your weight without you even trying? You may even be familiar with this system. It is called appetite. Getting back in tune with it can teach you how to stop yo yo dieting for good.

As more and more diet companies try and commercialise the principles of intuitive eating, we need to know the clear warning signs to look out for!


In my FREE 30-day challenge I’ll help you flip your middle finger to diet culture and find real health instead.  Click here to sign up.

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy

If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at

 Hello, this is No Wellness Wankery and my name is Jenna.

 And I'm Lyndi.

 And in this episode, we do one of these each week and we love these and we get to answer your questions that you send in. If you ever have a question, a nutrition issue, you're going through, something you're struggling with, hop onto Lindy's Instagram, mood underscore nutritionist. Send her a voice note in the DMs, if you know what any of that means. Send her a message and say, what do I do? And we'll let you know. You just send a little voice note talking a little bit about your situation and then we can play it on the podcast and get listening. Today we have a question from Jackie. Super excited about the podcast. Have to say I've followed you for a while now and I just love that I'm on a journey of feeling good within myself and really putting time and effort into myself. So that was a side note. My question for you is, I've seen a lot of commercialized intuitive eating programs that are really just diet plans rebranded. How do you think the industry, so dietitians, nutritionists, et cetera, battle the commercialization of intuitive eating.

 Thank you.

 Hey, Jackie. It's so lovely to hear from you. This is a really poignant question and I love it. So for anyone who doesn't know, intuitive eating is a bit of a movement that's associated with the non-diet movement, which is a whole bunch of health professionals and people who've realized that diets suck and it's time to move away. So instead of tuning into diets that tell us what to eat and when to eat it, the idea is that we tune into our appetite and our body will help guide us to eat healthily. I'm very much aligned with this kind of thinking. But one of the things that's happened as a whole bunch of people have realised that diets do suck is that weight loss companies and programs have realised that we don't want to buy another diet. So what they've done as well is they have started adopting these non-diet or intuitive eating messages just to sell more diets. And so it used to be that diets were quite easy to spot. You know the Atkins diet or the cabbage diet or the baby food diet, all the stupid diets out there. They used to be easy to spot. They had the word diet in them. But nowadays most diets are trying not to look like a diet.

 It's a healthy lifestyle.

 It's a healthy lifestyle approach and so it can be quite hard to spot them. I think it's very interesting that you have these major food companies who are now claiming to be like, you know, feel relaxed and have freedom around food and you don't have to measure everything that you eat but then you kind of dig a little bit further and you realize this is absolutely a diet. In fact, one of the world's biggest weight loss companies went through a rebrand where they removed some key words. They removed the words weight watchers. They removed the word weight, watching your weight from the title. Yeah, from the title so that it could be a bit more of an inclusive kind of approach. But then you dig a little bit deeper and it still is fundamentally a diet.

 Because it's still at the end of the day, they're saying it's not a diet but they're still promising you fast weight loss.


 And those two things don't go together.

 And promoting weight loss in general is like a goal that somehow you're meant to subscribe to that your life will be so much better if you simply weigh less. And that is not helpful for your health. So I think there are some dead giveaways to try and find people who are trying to commercialise intuitive eating, because it's not just the big diet companies as well. There is a whole bunch of healthcare professionals who are like, hey, this is also something that I could try and profit off. So if someone is using before and after photos, weight loss before and after photos, this is a dead giveaway that they are trying to profit off your insecurities and your desire to lose weight. What's another one, Jenna?

 I feel like another one would be any type of cutting out or demonizing any certain food. I feel like the dairy industry in the whole has copped a lot of slack for a lot of reasons. Maybe you do or don't like dairy. That's not really the problem, but the problem would be telling people they cannot have milk if they choose to because milk is terrible for you.

 Yes, exactly. You know what's really damaging around that is you're creating fear-mongering around food. There's nothing healthy about that. Another thing that can help you spot a diet in disguise is if they give you a meal plan. So if they say, all right, eat this at this time and this is how much you're meant to eat, and they're obviously encouraging portion control at the exact same time, that's in direct contrast with the idea of tuning into your body. So that's a diet.

 A diet that I've done recently, which at the time, again, I didn't think it was a diet, but then I was actually watching maths and I could see one of the brides contestants on the show in the kitchen doing something and they were talking about what she was weighing out and then I could see from what she was doing that she was on the same diet that I was doing. What was it? She was like, you know like all the macro accounting people, they really love this stuff because it must fit in well with those type of counting. And she was like weighing the Biscoff on maths and I was like, I already know you're on the same diet that I am, but I didn't even realize it was diet until obviously when he's watching her do it, like, why are you weighing the spoon?

 So macro counting, that didn't feel like a diet to you?

 At the time, it didn't feel like a diet because I feel like it's promoted as like you can eat whatever you want and I could. I could eat all these different foods that I probably had said I wasn't being allowed


 The mentality of where you could have more calories than you used to think you'd be able to. So all they've done is up the calories from when we used to think we were allowed 1,200 to say 2,000, which is obviously a lot more food, but you still need to portion out that food. And I felt like it got so exhausting by the end of it every night or every morning I have to plan out my entire diary of food for the day because you need to make sure you get the right amounts of everything in.

 That's so exhausting. And yes, maybe someone could do that for a few weeks or a few months, but you can't live like that. That's not fun. So I'm glad you ditched it. Well done.

 I'm proud of you.

 Thank you. And so I think more to your question, Jackie, is you're talking about how the everyday healthcare professional, person, business owner is trying to take these intuitive eating principles and they're probably doing it imperfectly. Now, if someone is promoting weight loss and they're promoting disordered eating and dangerous ideas, I'm not about that. But I also feel like in the industry, there's a lot of people who were previously a diet professional, who was like trying to help people lose weight, who are now starting to realize that intuitive eating, maybe that is the right way to go. And they're slowly coming on their journey, learning about intuitive eating. And I think there's a bit of a culture at the moment to go, if someone's not practicing it perfectly, then we should shoot them down and we should kind of like yell at them, even though they're doing like 90% of it well. What if we flip that? What if instead of seeing these people who are doing intuitive eating imperfectly, what if we were like, these could be potential future allies. You know, this is not a chance for us to tell them how awful they are and how much they've screwed up. We could be like, hey, what if you try doing this and this is maybe a new approach for you to consider. And then that way we're helping to like build the movement in a much healthier way, where more people are practicing intuitive eating and it becomes the norm as opposed to diet culture.

 What would you say is like to kind of spot them? Because I think the big diets are very easy to spot, but these people that are in the middle that you say are probably doing 90% of their things right, what would be the things that they're doing that maybe aren't so aligned with non-dieting that would stand out?

 Okay, so they might be talking about explicitly telling you how to lose weight. I think that would be quite mal-aligned. Or they're showing you a photo of their bodies and talking about how much better their body looks now, or you might sign up to an app and they're encouraging you to measure your waist circumference or telling you to weigh yourself, but then at the same time promising that it's not a diet. And just because someone tells you to tune into your hunger doesn't make that intuitive eating approach. It just means that they're telling you to tune into your hunger, which is a lovely thing to do. But unless you're being helped to break down all of those diet rules that you have buzzing around in your brain that makes healthy eating so much harder, then that's just like one part of the puzzle. At the same time, I think intuitive eating can become its own rule of itself, where you're like, okay, well, if I ate past my fullness, I've ruined it, and now I'm not doing intuitive eating correctly, or you go away on the weekends and you totally forget about your hunger. It's a numb thing. You're like, well, I've fallen off the bandwagon. You haven't fallen off the bandwagon. The beautiful thing about intuitive eating is you can't really screw it up. All you have to do is you come back to your hunger and you're like, hey, am I hungry? Am I full? What is it? You can't really do it right or wrong.

 And that's probably the overall goal. If you actually go away for the weekend and you're not thinking about food, that's the


 That's the magic.

 If you're not worried about the food or how much you've eaten and you're just enjoying your holiday or night out, that is the entire goal.

 Absolutely. I'd encourage anyone in the intuitive eating space who's working like I am to keep our eye on who we actually think is the problem here. I think the villain in all of this is big diet culture. I think it's the fact that we think that we need to aspire to look a certain way in order to be healthy. So it's all the images that someone uses to display what a healthy person looks like. It's all these things. But I think rather than attacking people who are perhaps still on the journey, let's go for, let's create a united front and go after the people who are promoting macro-counting, keto, and intermittent fasting, just glorified starvation. Let's be honest about that and really help to build up the intuitive eating community. Thank you so much for your question Jackie, and always please

 nude underscore nutritionist on Instagram if you have a question and we'll answer it next week.

 Do you feel like you know what you should be eating but like you feel

 completely out of control with food? You're either eating perfectly or you're face planting into the fridge? Well if you've got binge eating or you're struggling with emotional eating, I can help. Check out my program, Keep It Real. I've got lots I can teach you and hey, you don't have to be a binge eater for the rest of your life. You can get 20% off Keep It Real when you use the code podcast when you check out via the website. And because I don't want this to be just another failed attempt for you, I'm offering a 30-day money-back guarantee because you know what? You've just got to give these things a go, no risk. You've just got to give these things a go, no risk. Give it a try.