Dieting: Expectation vs. Reality- According to an Intuitive Eating Counselor in Ann Arbor

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

The Expectation vs. Reality of Dieting

It’s time to breakup from dieting…for good.

When I think back to all the years I spent yo-yo dieting, I am now able to recognize how much it truly interfered with me LIVING my life. I would fantasize about having “the perfect body” or wearing the “perfect outfit”, so starting each and every Monday- I’d have a new plan and new found inspiration to start tracking, counting, and OBSESSING about calories.

It wasn’t until I worked through my own Intuitive Eating Journey that I was able to look back and recognize how small my world truly was, when I was chasing the “thin ideal”…

The Expectation vs. Reality of Dieting

The Expectation: a thinner body would give me the confidence to be more social.

The Reality: I backed out of social events because I feared being tempted by the food served.

The Expectation: the weight will come off as easily as the last diet.

The Reality: my basal metabolic rate was now slower BECAUSE of the last diet, and I needed to restrict even more than the one before.

The Expectation: I’d have energy and feel good in this body.

The Reality: I was chronically tired, even when sleeping 9+ hours a day. Caloric restriction results in increased apathy and depression, loss of ambition, decreased mental alertness, low sex drive and decreased capacity to work.

The Expectation: I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as it “fit my macros”.

The Reality: I had constant anxiety over my food choices, worried about what others would think, and spent so much time calculating and manipulating my food intake.

The Expectation: Forbidding Foods would keep me “safe”.

The Reality: Forbidding Foods lead to heightened cravings, increased food preoccupation, binge eating and feeling out of control when around them.

The Expectation: Losing weight will make me healthier.

The Reality: I was approaching pre diabetes from the swings in my blood sugar from restricting and binging; I had elevated triglycerides, digestive issues, disordered eating. My weight constantly fluctuated up and down, increasing my risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Expectation: Weight loss would give me the life I always wanted.

The Reality: Maintaining weight loss below one's natural set point can only be done with disordered eating behavior, self isolation, and constant thoughts about food and body.

Here’s the truth: Dieting may look all bright and shiny. You see the before and after all over social media; it’s a normal topic of conversation amongst friends and family and it seems like everyone you know is trying a new diet.

What you don’t always see?

  • The constant preoccupation with food and body thoughts

  • The overwhelming guilt and shame for “falling off plan”

  • The unending rules and restrictions

  • The binge eating

  • The avoidance of physical intimacy

  • The strain on relationships

  • The slower metabolism

  • The psychological consequences

Aren't you tired of putting your life on hold?

Are you beginning to wonder if there is more to life than trying to lose weight?

The irony here is, dieting actually contributes to:

  • A slower Metabolism

  • Weight Gain

  • Intense Cravings

  • Disconnected Eating

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Mood Swings

  • Increased Stress and Inflammation

  • Destroys your relationship with food

Hitting Diet Rock Bottom and realizing that they don’t actually work (it’s a $72 billion a year business for a reason) can be overwhelming.

First, you may deny it. After all, dieting has been the “magic solution” for weight loss by many different industries- including medical treatment.

Then, as you learn the truth- that diet culture is actually used as a way to oppress people and stems from fatphobia and racism. That 95-98% of people who pursue intentional weight loss gain the weight back (plus some) within 3-5 years- you get angry. Rightfully so! The business of weight loss products and "solutions" is just that- a business. If the diet worked the first time, there would be no money to be made...

Eventually you may learn to accept what is- that it's is a business that disproportionately harms women and those on large bodies. That our weight, just like our height, shoe size, eye color and hair color- is genetically predetermined. That we all have a weight set point that is maintained with balanced eating (eating when hungry, stopping when full, and including a variety of foods), regular movement and rest.

So now what? How do you recover from the

damage done by dieting?

It took me YEARS to figure it out. It wasn’t until I discovered Intuitive Eating that I was able to get my life back, and reject diet mentality. I was able to identify what parts of weight loss and dieting were really about my health (spoiler alert: none of it) and what was about achieving an arbitrary number and aesthetic.

I decided that I needed to trust my body. Trust the very thing I spent many years hating.

I decided I had to respect my body. Respect the body that allows me to move through life and live out my purpose.

I decided I had to accept my body. Accept the many stages of change, growth, adaptation, aging- the natural progression of simply being human.

I decided to care for my body. Care for it by listening to it, nourishing it, moving, and resting.

Are you ready to put the weight focused fears aside and begin to truly focus on your physical and mental health?

I understand that making these changes on your own can be overwhelming, confusing, time-consuming, and intimidating, especially when there might be unresolved emotional eating and body image issues.

That's where I come in.

In just 12 weeks, I will guide you through The Food and Body Confidence Project to help those who have been confused by dieting trends to eat intuitively, pursue TRUE health, & feel confident in their own unique body.

You can learn more and apply here.

The Food and Body Confidence Project with Katie Valley Wellness

Intuitive Eating Counselor in Michigan

Katie Valley is a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor whose goal is to dispel the myths of diet culture and reinforce a holistic, health-focused approach to wellness. After her own experience with disordered eating and poor body image, Katie found true healing by practicing Intuitive Eating and Body Acceptance.

Now she has her own practice, Katie Valley Wellness, where she helps women who feel out of control around food learn to eat intuitively, pursue TRUE health, & feel confident in their own body.

In addition to her private practice, she is an adjunct professor at Monroe County Community College, and frequently speaks at events and for other health professional on the topics of Women's Health, Body Image, Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating.

After overcoming her own battle with eating and body image issues, it was clear there was a need for a different kind of conversation around health. She began her virtual wellness practice in 2019 with the goal to spread the truth about taking care of our bodies, regardless of weight, and dispel the myth that health "looks" a certain way. Katie is Health at Every Size Informed® and is ready to change the conversation from eating to control body size and shape, to eating for nourishment & well-being.

She is now accepting new clients for 2022. Apply here.


Are You a Professional interested in learning more about the Non-Diet approach and how to incorporate it into your practice? Learn more from my mentor, Stephanie Dodier Non-Diet Clinical Nutritionist, from the link below:

Non Diet Mentorshipe