Diet in Disguise

Are you on a Diet in Disguise?

Jan 10, 2022

If you can’t lose weight on a diet, it’s not your fault.

It’s not exactly front page news that diets don’t work. Numerous studies including The BMJ show that although diets can produce great initial results, most people put the weight back on within the year leading us to think “this didn’t work for me, I must be the problem” and because of diet culture we bounce from one failed diet to another. Initial weight loss, eventual weight gain Yo-yoing from Keto, to Paleo to calorie counting etc. 

A lot of people have great motivators such as health, fitness, aesthetics, confidence however we need to acknowledge first of all that our bodies can be healthy at any weight. To truly ditch the diet culture, we need to accept and respect the diversity of body shapes and sizes.  

Diets in Disguise
All diets do is make you obsess over food.

Recognise there are no good and bad foods.

Granted some foods are more nutritious that others, but none of it is bad. When we consider certain foods as bad we run the risk of rewarding or treating ourselves and then feeling guilty afterwards. Food is there to nourish our bodies but also to be enjoyed.

A lot of diets now are masqueraded as wellness plans but still have several rules to follow. You can only eat between certain hours, limit your carbs, cut out food groups. The first thing you need to do is ditch any food rules you may be following and learn to listen to your body without judgement.

It may feel strange at first, but all diets do is make you think about food all of the time and food takes up so much brain space. Without being weighed down by all of these rules, it frees up your mind to be more productive, to actually feel more in control of your day-to-day life and to be more present.


Watch out for these Food Rules which are really diets in disguise:

Calorie Banking

Perhaps you have an event coming up that evening so you decide to starve yourself all day so you can have extra food or drink at the party. This is restrictive dieting to the max. Restricting yourself all day can actually have the opposite effect by being so hungry that you end up being so famished you binge later on that evening.

Instead, listen to your body throughout the day, fuel it with what it needs and enjoy the food that evening still checking in with your hunger cues.

Cheat days

So many diets allow you to have 1 day a week where nothing is off limits. There are a couple of theories behind the benefits of this. One is that if we have one day we know we can eat indulgent foods, it’s going to prevent cravings the rest of the week. The other is that our bodies produce a hormone called Leptin, the hunger hormone. Research suggests that when we lose weight, our leptin levels decrease and with lower levels of leptin you’re more likely to overeat because you don’t have enough of this hormone letting you know when you are satisfied and full. Advocates of ‘cheat days’ feel that short bursts of high calorie foods trick your body in to producing more leptin to prevent overeating throughout the rest of the week.

In all reality most people who opt for cheat days tend to binge and eat significantly more calories in that one day to make up for the whole week.

Tracking your food

If you are entering every calorie, meal and exercise in an app then you are most definitely on a diet. It’s great to be mindful of what you are eating, but feeling anxious when you don’t take note can be a warning sign.

Delete the app and focus on self-compassion, finding activities you truly enjoy and eating mindfully.

Cutting out food groups

Whether or not it’s keto, paleo or the atkins diet, restricting yourself from certain food groups is just another diet. Diets only work whilst you’re on the diet and you can’t stay on the diet for the rest of your life. If you can’t live like this for the rest of your life then it certainly won’t be sustainable past that 8 week challenge. Perfect for a rebound weight gain.

Instead, eating a balanced meal with make sure you get the nutrients it needs whilst ensuring it won’t crave the foods you have cut out.


Nearly all diets are unhealthy, lead to long term weight gain and create an obsessive relationship with food. Get in touch now at richard@kellowhypnotherapy.com or www.kellowhypnotherapy.com if you would like to feel more in control, empowered and confident in your life.

Richard Kellow

Richard Kellow

Richard is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and Virtual Gastric Band Practitioner based in Rotorua in the gorgeous Bay of Plenty. With his personal experience and training from the UK, US, and New Zealand, Richard is a living testament to the power of hypnosis.

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