The 4 Types of Dieters

The Dieting Trap & the 4 Types of Dieters

It always seems to happen in an instant, you bend over to tie your shoe and you have to hold your breath. You put on your “loose jeans” and they no longer need a belt. A Facebook memory pops up and you see a picture of yourself from 2 years ago and think “Holy Shit, I don’t look like that anymore.” Your kid pokes at your belly and says, “Daddy or Mommy has a belly.”

“Holy Shit. I gotta get my fat ass in shape.”

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The weight just popped back on like that. Maybe it was because you’ve been stressed at work, or your kids have taken over your life, or you haven’t gotten to the gym as often as you should, or you’ve been eating out more than usual.  All very real and valid reasons. 

Enter “Diet of the moment.”

  • It has “NEW REVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE.”
  • It has “FOODS YOU SHOULD NEVER EAT.”
  • It has “FOODS YOU CAN EAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT OF.”

 This diet has been all over the news. Beyonce is doing it, your Mom is talking about it and it’s on the cover of every fitness magazine. So, what the hell, you give it a shot. You lose the weight and then………. you put it back on, AGAIN.

“Shit! Why can’t I get my life together? Why am I such a $&^%*? Every time I go on a diet I always put the weight back on and it seems to get worse and worse every time. What is wrong with me??”

Stop. You are not a $&^%*!

Dieting is a trap. It makes you think and act CRAZY. You are suddenly entirely pre-occupied with food. You can’t stop thinking about food. You feel out of control around food. You feel scared around food. You feel anxious just thinking about food. Where did all of these emotions suddenly come from? You were fine before this diet and now suddenly you feel, well kinda crazy.

Through the years we have found that dieting usually creates 4 types of dieters;

  • The Depriver
  • The Binger
  • The Info Hoarder
  • The Calorie Counter/App Tracker

You’ve probably been at least one of them, but maybe you have been multiple or even all of them.

Let’s dig in..

Dieter #1: The Depriver

For some reason it always starts here. I would guess it’s because if you believe you are eating “bad” food then logically if you take away the “bad” food then the problem will be solved, right? Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

To get rid of the bad food you first do an inventory of all the bad food in your house and throw away all the “crap.”  The more “good” food you eat and keep around you the better.  You separate food into one of two categories: “Good” food or “Bad” food.  You try to eat only the “good” and stay away from the "bad.”

The “Good” Stuff

The “Bad” Stuff

Fruit

Pizza

Veggies

White Bread

Egg Whites

Burgers

Chicken, Lean Steak, Turkey, or Lean Pork

French Fries or Chips

Fish or Seafood

Cookies, Cupcakes, Muffins

Sweet Potatoes

Candy or Chocolate

Brown Rice

Sugary Drinks

Nuts & Seeds

Cheese

Avocados (Of Course)


For a while, you are a machine from morning until night. Meal prepping and salads on the regular and you start to feel great. Even the scale goes down. But you notice that when you eat something on the “bad” list you instantly gain weight and you start developing this fear of eating anything on the “Bad” list.

You even start to say things like “I’m being good today” or “yesterday I was really bad.”

Here’s the worst part – if you have to go out to dinner on a Tuesday night – you start to PANIC.  What are you going to eat? What if everyone else gets a burger? What do you get? Will the restaurant have anything you can eat? You spiral into such a deep panic that when you get to the restaurant you order an appetizer and sip water.  Something about this feels wrong, it doesn’t feel natural.

But how else do you lose weight without sacrificing?

Dieter #2 - The Binger

I mean come on, it’s really hard to eat chicken, broccoli and sweet potatoes 3x per day, 7 days a week. The stricter you are the more massive your cheat day gets to be.  Even the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson needs a break.  If you peak his Instagram, he eats like 7 pizzas on his cheat day.  I mean seriously, look at this “well earned” cheat meal.  


Cheat Meal Image of Pizza and Doughnuts

But if the Rock eats 3 pizzas, a dozen of donuts, 4 pastries and 4 muffins then you should be able to have a bagel and a few slices of pizza, right?

Sure! Of course!

But your “cheat day” isn’t just a few small cheats. It turns into a full-on binge. It starts innocently with a bagel in the morning. The second that you bite into that bagel you realize what you have been missing! “HOLY CRAP, bagels are soooooo damn good. God, I miss bread!” So, then you grab a few doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts – and you eat them all.

“HOLY SHIT! DOUGHNUTS ARE GOOD. OH MY GOD. WHY CAN’T MY DIET INCLUDE DOUGHNUTS AND BAGELS??”

You think, “I gotta get this all out of my system before Monday. So, I’ll have pizza for dinner and then I’ll be good.” So, then you have 4 slices of pizza for dinner and then dessert. All the while thinking to yourself – “I’ll get back on it on Monday.” But then on Sunday you feel soo crappy that you don’t even want to leave the house. Netflix goes on and it becomes one more bagel and then a ton of Chinese food for dinner. By Sunday night you feel like a bag of garbage. You are tired, lethargic and soooo full you feel like you are waddling around your house.

Something about this doesn’t feel right…You are not eating normally, you are eating with a vengeance. You are not eating because you want to eat, you are eating because on Monday you CAN’T have it. So, you need to get it in while you can.

There is something you need to know about the human brain, we want what we can’t have.  And if we feel like we can’t have something we want it 2x as much.  When it comes to food, emotions are more raw and primitive.  If we can’t have a certain food on Monday, we will eat 8x as much as we normally would on Saturday. Then you are caught in the diet cycle of death.  You ride the high of clean eating from Monday to Friday and the low of binge eating on Saturday and Sunday. 

Cycle of Binge Dieting

This rollercoaster is like a drug.  It’s so addicting.  But how the hell do you get off?

Dieter #3 - The Info Hoarder

You learn some stuff about Keto, then you read about Paleo, then you read a few blogs.  You go through a few Facebook posts and then you are on Instagram and read about this guy who only eats 1 time per day, but eats 8 pounds of bagel bites or a cheese fry hot dog pizza or a tower of fruity pebbles and ice cream.  (Yes – that guys exists. You can find him here).

Every single thing you read seems legit, so you read more and more hoping to find clarity or the “best” thing to do. So, you just figure you’ll do some of each. You try Paleo for 5 minutes and you like some of the stuff but don’t like others. So, you try a Keto-Paleo mix and you do that for 5 mins and then you try Intermittent Fasting with your Keto-Paleo Hybrid. What’s better than one diet? How about 3 mixed together. Duh!

Then you start traveling for work or just have a busy week and everything goes to shit.  You are back at square one and reading. What do you do next? Do you do like Instagram guy and eat mountains of food? Or maybe Reverse Diet? Or Zone? You read and read and read and read and read but you are paralyzed, and you have no idea what to do. There is just so much info!

The only thing you know is that it seems that every food causes cancer.  You are terrified and scared.

Dieter #4 - Calorie Counter/Tracker

It starts with an innocent and free download of an app called MyFitnessPal.  You can track every single nutrient you eat.  You can track the amount of protein, carbs, fat, fiber, vitamins, salt, and calories. “Holy Crap, this is so awesome!” This is a modern way to keep yourself in check and make better eating decisions.  Well….Kindaaaaaaaa.

1 of 3 things end up happening:

  1. You get anxious about having to track.
  2. You don’t enter what you REALLY eat (Out of embarrassment, shame, or forgetfulness).
  3. You end up becoming obsessed with every little calorie.

Don’t get me wrong, a food journal is an excellent thing but if tracking your food causes a huge amount of anxiety then it won’t work. No matter how cool it is to see every calorie you consume it can easily make you obsessive over everything you eat.  Counting calories or tracking just feels like one giant mirror reflecting your bad eating or feeding into your OCD. Who the hell wants that?

But, I dunno wanna diet anymore

When you realize you’ve gained weight, it sucks, it’s uncomfortable and you want to feel like you are doing something to change it right then and there. Immediately and diets do just that. They make you feel like you are doing something, right then and there. They make you feel like you are sacrificing and suffering, so it must mean you are accomplishing something, but in reality diets are complicating your relationship with food making eating less fun, which creates a constant fear and shame around food.

Diets are the same thing as cleaning up a mess in your room by throwing it all in the closet. Yes, the room will look clean on the surface but inside that closet is a giant mess that you will eventually have to clean up. Weight loss is not about calorie counting or restricting and it is not about demonizing one food and putting another on a pedestal. It’s not about more info.  It is about your relationship with food and 99% of nutrition professionals miss this point.

Eating, whether anyone wants to talk about it or not is intimate. You interact with food 3-10 times per day. The way you eat effects every part of your life. Losing weight has very little to do with the food you eat but has more to do with how you make eating decisions. This is the exact root of the problem and where it has to be addressed.

We are all different. We have different reactions to stress, different reactions to deadlines, different reactions to the hustle of everyday life. Why doesn’t a diet ask how or why you make certain eating decisions instead of just telling you that you are wrong and shaming your for not eating more Kale. It seems foolish that there is no professional who shows you how to eat in a way that respects your individual psychology, respects your body and that is attuned to your body's natural signals. How is this not a thing?

These are not just words

This is my life. I have had body image issues my entire life. Every person in my family has a very complicated relationship with food. When I realized how complicated my relationship with food was and I started to change it, I didn’t need to diet. I lost 50 pounds and have kept it off for 4 years. For every single person food is not just substance or nutrients. Food means a lot more. 

Food can be:

  • Control
  • Love
  • Joy
  • Celebration
  • Alleviating Stress
  • Alleviating Anxiety
  • Nurture
  • Wealth
  • Poverty
  • Tradition
  • Ritual
  • Religion
  • Family

How can a diet compete with such raw and primal emotions?

Free Guide: Take Eating Back

Restrictive Dieting is sooo 1995. Join an underground movement of people who have taken off the weight and never looked back.

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