How I Overcame A Lifetime Of Struggling With Chronic Dieting

To all my chronic dieters,

To start, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to define what a “chronic dieter” is, because it’s one of those things where if you think that kinda sounds like you…it probably is. And I want you to know that I’ve been there. For most of my life, I have tracked every calorie, lost weight, gained the weight back, and either gone back to counting/measuring/tracking calories or hopped on the new diet trend (I was vegetarian for a year in college, back when going meat-free for weight loss started getting its share of limelight). I was completely miserable, and if you’re one of us chronic dieters, then I want to venture a guess that you are unhappy too.

For most of my teenage/adult life, I forced myself to live within food “rules.” I used to eat ALL JUNK FOOD, just because it had nutrition labels and I could correctly track the calories in it. When you’re on the go, it’s easier to track calories in a Pop-Tart than calories in an apple. It’s easier to track calories in a McDonald’s meal than calories in a meal you cook yourself. (You just cooked, are you really about to start punching in numbers of all the ingredients?) I would bring Lean Cuisines to family dinners, guys. I felt insane and my diet, quite honestly, was sh*t. The only rule I often had was to stay under a certain number of calories a day. If  I went over that number, I felt like I failed. I didn’t care about the quality of the calories in the least. I couldn’t really eat out with people, because I’d freak out about not knowing the calories of the dishes. So if I had to eat out, I’d say “f*ck it, it’ll be a cheat day” and go crazy that whole day. And by “crazy”, I mean I’d eat it all. I would eat until I felt sick, just because it was “cheat day.”


View this post on Instagram


Can’t stop won’t stop! No I should probably stop. (tw: itsdjluigi)

A post shared by diet starts tomorrow (@dietstartstomorrow) on

This went on for almost a decade. My relationship with food was always a bottom line. It’s funny, because I went on to become a personal trainer with a master’s degree in kinesiology, and I used to preach everything health related—everything that made a lot of sense, and that is scientifically proven to work for people. But my own situation was so f*cked up. I knew better, but I didn’t know how to do better for myself. I was helping people achieve their dream bodies, but me? I was being controlled by food.

Eventually, I got so tired of it. So I remember setting a challenge for myself. I challenged myself to just stop counting for a week. I told myself to start approaching food as I would if I was suggesting it to a client. Before I ate, I’d ask, “Would I tell my client to eat this?” For such a long time, I was telling my clients the things I wanted to do for myself, but I was too scared to commit.

I’ll be honest. That first week was rough, and my God, I was so tempted to track everything. I felt like Bambi. I was learning to walk, but by “walk,” I mean trust my instincts and trust that I can treat my body better. I avoided temptation to quantify my food, and I began to FEEL (instead of just knowing in my academic mind) that all calories are not equal, and instead I started to look at the quality of food.How my body reacts to fresh, home-cooked food like baked chicken and chickpea pasta is MUCH BETTER than how my body reacts to junk food, no matter the difference in numbers.


View this post on Instagram


One long feast, three snacks

A post shared by diet starts tomorrow (@dietstartstomorrow) on

Day by day, I started to see the freedom in trusting my instincts. Despite the initial fear, I soon was able to eat at any restaurant I wanted and cook food for myself without reaching sky-high levels of anxiety. I don’t have to stuff myself to the brim anymore just because it’s a f*cking “cheat day,” because I didn’t need a “cheat day.” I didn’t have to eat yet another fast food meal just because it fit the calorie quota for the day. When all you’re used to is confining yourself to rules, leaving those rules behind is terrifying. That’s probably why I, and you, my dear reader, stayed in that cycle for so long. As long as we stayed within the rules, or under a certain amount of calories, we felt “safe,” like we did something right.

So, if you are a chronic dieter, my challenge to you is this: stop forcing yourself to live within these rules for the next 48 hours. Stop quantifying your food, even if it’s just for a few days. Trust yourself, and trust that you know how to treat yourself beyond the numbers at the end of the day. Stop letting these confines ever make you feel like you’ve failed your body, because nothing and no one should ever give you the power to feel like you’ve failed your own body. I trust you, and so should you. I know that it’s scary, because now your choices are literally endless, but once you re-establish that trust with yourself, it’s like a brand new world. And it’s super worth it.

Images: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash; dietstartstomorrow / Instagram

5 Unhealthy Diets You’ve Probably Thought About Trying, But Shouldn’t

In America, the diet industry is a billion dollar a year industry. It’s an amazing contradiction that obesity rates are steadily increasing while so many of us are on diets and following food “rules.” If these diets really, truly worked… why is it that this country is still considered the fattest in the world?

I hope by now we all know diets such as the Grapefruit diet or the Cabbage Soup diet or the Cookie diet are bullsh*t and so very early 90’s. If you’re on any one of these diets, get off them immediately. There is a reason why these diets are no longer relevant, and it’s because they don’t work. But it’s 2019, we don’t diet like that anymore, we know so much better now. Right? Wrong. There are still plenty of diets out there, that your friends and family might even be following, that are not helping you lose weight. I’ve ranked the top 5 unhealthy diets of today. Read on to find out what’s wrong about them and why they’ve set you up to fail.

5. Keto Diet

According to Google, this is the most searched diet of 2018. I guess it’s for good reason—everyone from Kourtney Kardashian to Vinny from Jersey Shore were singing its praises. Aside from being a reality star’s weight loss strategy of choice, the diet does not sit well with personal trainer Jillian Michaels. And I agree.

Keto, for anyone who does not know, is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet to put your body into a state of ketosis (which is when the body runs out of its primary energy stores and begin to burn fat). The average carbohydrate intake is capped at anywhere between 20-50 grams a day. For reference, a cup of rice is roughly 45 grams of carbohydrates. When a diet suggests replacing carbohydrates (even healthy ones) with fat, I begin to question it. I believe that the reason this diet could help weight loss is because by making people cut out whole food groups, it automatically reduces the energy intake of the person. For example, 200 kcal of fat is 2 tbs butter or coconut oil (any type of oil, really) and 200 kcal of carbohydrates is a cup of rice. But because for most people, the carbohydrate is much more palatable than fat, it is more likely than they’ll go back for second helpings of rice rather than second helpings of oil. By cutting out the food group completely, those on this diet are automatically “banned” from these foods. Now of course, how long a person is able to resist the temptation to fall off the keto wagon is up to them.

People in a cult always seem weirdly happy, which is how I know the keto diet is not a cult.

— Laura Marie (@lmegordon) March 18, 2019

Restricting carbohydrates will be easier or harder depending on the person, and while I advocate reducing sugar (a carbohydrate) intake for everyone, keto or no keto, I would advise anyone that wants to begin keto to look at the big picture. If this isn’t a diet you can see eventually developing into a lifestyle, please don’t start.

4. Dubrow Diet

When a reality TV star co-founds a diet with her doctor hubby, you should do a lot of research on its credibility before you start it. This diet builds off of intermittent fasting, which basically allows you to eat only at certain times of the day. The fast is anywhere between 12-16 hours (usually overnight). This diet has three phases, all based on varying time restrictions. The first phase has people fasting for 16 hours and is designed to help you curb cravings, apparently. The second phase incorporates a “cheat” that could last up to an entire day. The third phase is basically you continuing the second phase forever, but you can do 12-hour fasts five days a week and 16-hour fasts two days a week. The Dubrow diet doesn’t have any calorie guidelines but they do have suggestions for how many servings of each type of food you should eat a day.

What a crock of sh*t, to be honest.

First of all, if you’re going to intermittent fast, then do it knowing that that all this does is that it gives your body a break from digesting food. It’s not the magic solution to weight loss. If you eat 500 calories four hours after waking up, it’s the same damn calories that you would have consumed 30 minutes after waking up. The healthy way to intermittent fast is to consume roughly the same amount of calories as you would that day, in a different time frame so you’re not stuffed right before bed or you’re not forcing yourself to eat in the morning simply because we’ve been taught we “need breakfast.” It is DEFINITELY not fasting for certain periods and cheating for a whole day like this diet is saying. That sounds like a setup for a f*cked-up relationship with food. Which reminds me… if you’re an individual that will likely take a 12-hour fast to a 24-hour fast or if you have a complicated and negative relationship towards food and eating, please be very, VERY careful with doing any diets related to fasting.


3. All Liquid “Cleanses”

I got some hate for talking about celery juice in one of my previous posts. Listen, if you’re somebody that is on a juice cleanse’s d*ck, then by all means, if that’s what’s working for you, gets your skin glowing and mind racing or whatever the f*ck. To me, I tell my clients this is called nutrient starvation. I don’t advocate any kind of cleanse, even for a day, but anything beyond a 24-hour liquid cleanse is NOT a good idea. If anyone close to me did that, I would snatch the green juice out of their hand, stuff a snack in their mouth, and drag them to the gym. It’ll do them a hell of a lot more good.


View this post on Instagram


Sunday brunch vibes

A post shared by Basic Bitch Foundation (@basicbitchfoundation) on

Don’t believe me? Read the label of your bottle of green juice next time. It’s all calories from sugars. There is no protein, no fat, no fiber, and all sugars. And some juice cleanse “plans” have you drinking up to 1,200 calories a day of SUGAR. It’s soda’s virtuous friend, but that’s not saying much, is it? Yeah, there’s vitamins in the juice, but there’s the same amount of those vitamins if you hadn’t just turned a whole salad into sugary water. Plus, if you drink up to 1,200 calories of sugars and vitamins you’re probably getting like 300% of your recommended daily amount of vitamins, which is going to end up in your pee. And you’d probably be a lot more full if you had actually eaten the food. And you’d probably be less of an irritable monster because the sugars will have less of an impact on your blood sugar levels and mood. But if you’re still not convinced then have fun, babe. Save some celery for the rest of us!

2. Military Diet

This diet was going to be number one. But because this dumb-ass plan only has you starving yourself for three days, I figured it was less unhealthy than starving yourself chronically. This diet comes with a specific three-day meal plan that amounts to approximately 1,000 calorie a day. It’s considered to be an extremely low calorie diet. In the three days you’re eating varying combos of food, such as hard boiled eggs, canned tuna, hot dog links with no bun, toast, some fruit, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I can see why you would lose weight with this meal plan in three days, considering you’re not eating very much. I went hungry looking at the meal plan. I can also see why you would gain it right back on day four. I find it hard to believe this is what the military eats, because if you incorporate a strenuous workout while on this meal plan, you could very well pass out.

1. Extremely Low Calorie Diet

To be clear, an extremely low calorie diet is considered to be anything less than 1,200 calories, which is a bare minimum for a sedentary female. If you exercise, even mildly, I do not suggest eating any less than 1,500 calories per day. You don’t want to make your body kick into starvation mode and begin to hang onto every single morsel of food.

But there can be more serious consequences to following an extremely low calorie diet. When done over long periods of time, it may result in hair loss and loss of your period, because you’re f*cking with your hormones. You’re also going to look and feel super unhealthy. What makes this diet the most unhealthy diet of all is that over time, an extremely low calorie diet can morph into disordered eating. If you or anyone you know starts to exhibit signs such as excessive hair loss, irritability, loss of menstrual cycle and a tendency to avoid eating or social situations revolving around eating, please get help or assist them in seeking help. Call (800) 931-2237 to contact the National Eating Disorders hotline, or text “Connect” to 741741 to reach the crisis textline.

Images: Mark Zamora / Unsplash; Giphy (3); basicbitchfoundation / Instagram; lmegordon / Twitter

I Tried Intermittent Fasting For 10 Days & It Was Not At All What I Expected

As I’m sure many of you can relate to, I did not enter January feeling the best I’ve ever felt about my body. Honestly, forget holiday weight gain—I hadn’t successfully lost weight since a stomach bug last May, and the whole thing was starting to feel hopeless. In 2019, I’d already tried a juice cleanse (painful, results gone within a week), and macro counting (exhausting! very difficult without professional advice on what to eat). So finally, I turned to intermittent fasting. I am in no way a nutritionist, and I cannot tell you whether IF is “good for you,” or give you a scathing review of whether or not the science behind it is legit. What I can tell you is that I had a tough 10 days, and a surprising set of results. If that’s enough for you, read on for my experience with intermittent fasting

What I Expected From Intermittent Fasting

If you’re interested in learning more about the science behind IF (intermittent fasting), or the different ways you can do it, I used these three articles as guides. Like I said, I’m not a nutritionist, and I truly don’t want my advice here to be the last word on whether or not you embark on a major diet change. Please believe me—it is a MAJOR change. I understood the merits of IF in two ways before starting. First, I learned that periods of fasting decrease insulin production and boost growth hormones—both of which mean nothing to me, but they apparently help boost metabolism, burn fat, and gain muscle. Second, by limiting your “eating window” (a term my friends would literally pay me to stop hearing at this point), you’re meant to limit overall calories (e.g. you can’t eat breakfasts anymore; you skip seven breakfasts’ worth of calories per week).

Have some objections to that second point? Yeah, me too—don’t worry, we’ll get there. But just to be clear with my intentions for IF: I wanted to lose weight. Not a drastic amount, especially not in 10 days; I know all too well that that weight just comes right back. But losing maybe 1, 1.5 pounds? If nothing else, just to prove that my body was still capable of weight loss after all the weird diets I’d put it through. So, I decided on a 16:8 routine (16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window), and set off on my 10-day journey.

Actual footage of me putting together diet plans and not shutting the f*ck up about it:

View this post on Instagram

Gluten is something every girl becomes allergic to when they go to college. @fatcarriebradshaw

A post shared by diet starts tomorrow (@dietstartstomorrow) on

How Fasting Actually Felt

Despite most recommendations for 16:8 suggesting eating 12-8pm (or even earlier), I set mine from 2-10pm. First of all, I struggle way more with snacking at night than I do during the day, and I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. Second of all, I have a standing Bachelor date Monday nights, and no way in hell was I sitting through Colton’s journey for love without a healthy dose of wine and pizza. The first few days were mostly the same: I showed up to work around 10 (usually when I eat breakfast) and had unpleasant but bearable waves of hunger until 2pm. This included stomach cramps (worst when I woke up, or when someone ate a delicious-looking bagel near me), and a few headaches. Water and black coffee helped, but honestly more in terms of keeping me awake than making me feel better.

The first mistake I made that week? On Day 3, I went to a spin class at 8am (a disgusting habit I picked up in LA). Not only did I nearly die from hunger that morning, I forgot the parameters of my eating window and ate until 10:30pm that night. While I worried I’d messed everything up, and was starting to question how healthy it was anyway, I woke up on Day 4 “feeling LIGHT” (per my detailed notes). My stomach felt flatter, my digestion was good, and my hunger cramps were clearing up sooner. Everything seemed good. And then, as must happen to all diets, the weekend came along.

View this post on Instagram

But ya know what, we had fun, right? New episode is here!!! Link in bio or @notskinnybutnotfat

A post shared by diet starts tomorrow (@dietstartstomorrow) on

I was spending that particular weekend in Salt Lake City, crashing some friends’ ski trip. (I don’t ski, I just wanted to drink in a cabin for a weekend.) In preparation, I switched my eating window for the weekend to 4pm-12am. After all, if I was going to make IF my long-term eating pattern, it had to be something I could do while maintaining a social life. And my social life right now involves ingesting calories after 10pm. (I say “involves,” but really that’s all my social life is.) I also weighed myself Friday morning, but both of the scales turned out to be broken, and both told me I’d gained 16 pounds in the past two weeks.

So, even though I’d woken up Friday feeling light and lean, I spent most of that day questioning reality and trying not to eat my own hand. By the time I could eat at 4pm, my body went into full animal mode, terrified I would fast for another 18 hours at any moment. Basically, I filled the day with airport snacks, a pasta dinner, and bags of Cheetos and mini Oreos the Airbnb host had left behind. Yes, right up until midnight. Saturday and Sunday, I accompanied the non-skiing group to two massive brunches and fasted through both, for which I would like several medals. (Insta proof below.)

Throughout the weekend, I felt like the bloating and general gross-ness I’d kicked during the week was back—but mostly I blamed the type of food I was eating (processed garbage and desserts, yum), and it was more of an internal “yuck” than an “oh sh*t, these pants are not fun to button.” The final few days I focused on drinking sh*t tons of water, eating more real foods and fewer snacks, and bringing my eating window back to a reasonable range. (AKA Monday I ate 4-11; Tuesday I ate 3-10; Wednesday I could eat at 2 again.) But honestly, I never quite kicked the bloated feeling from the weekend and I was still freaked out by the scale disaster Friday. By the time I went back to regular eating, it didn’t come a minute too soon.

Pros & Cons I Felt On Intermittent Fasting

I would need a licensed professional to confirm or deny this, but I suspect that I messed up by making my eating window so late on the weekend. Like I said, I am a chronic night-snacker—which means I’ve read all the advice on how it’s the worst thing you can do for your body and how you’re meant to give your body 2-4 hours of not eating before bed. I’ve also been a yo-yo dieter for years, and heard rumors of starvation mode (when your body’s metabolic rate slows down bc it thinks you’re dying and need the food) if you deprive your body of calories irresponsibly. Again, IDK for sure what happened, but once I started eating from 4pm-12am it felt like my body panicked, shut down any fat-burning processes, and held onto whatever calories I did consume for dear life.

In other words, with a later eating window, my digestion slowed, my usual bloated feeling returned, and it quickly seemed like a terrible idea. And while my 2-10pm eating window had made me feel lighter after a few days, it had also allowed me to stop thinking so carefully about what I was eating. I would try to break my fast with a big, healthy meal, but I was way more relaxed about carb content, afternoon snacking, and eating desserts. As long as I stopped at 10pm, I was still technically on a diet—right?

View this post on Instagram

these are my terms | @jessiejolles

A post shared by diet starts tomorrow (@dietstartstomorrow) on

Yeah, I wasn’t right. People who promote IF assume that you’ll eat fewer calories if given less time, but they’ve clearly never been to a timed buffet. I can’t say for sure whether I was eating more calories while I did IF, but I really doubt I was eating fewer (and definitely not on the weekend). And overeating with 16-hour breaks isn’t a diet: it’s just eating the same amount and giving you a better shot at digesting it properly. By the time I found a less f*cked up scale that Friday, I found I was two pounds heavier from the whole experiment.

BUT—and again I have no way of proving this—I felt like it was possible that part of that weight gain was muscle. I’m the kind of person who can (and has) temporarily gained two pounds from a large meal, and I’m very familiar with what that feels like. This weight gain, however, felt different.

To sum up my very scientific impression of how my body changed during this process, I felt like I was roughly the same size but less jiggly—like my pants were maybe a little tighter in the legs, but looser in the waist. It wasn’t my goal, and I still have five pounds I’d like to lose, but I’ve experienced worse results on more painful regimes.

Overall, would I recommend intermittent fasting, or ever do it again? Kind of! I would recommend trying a few different eating windows and seeing what works best for you, for sure. I might try incorporating a 24-hour fast once a week, since I’d had good short-term results with a few days of fasting. Ultimately, I think incorporating a couple fasting periods helped me shed some bloat and regulate digestion—but extending the fasts and confusing my body on when to expect food backfired. As much as I hate to say it, I have to accept that this wasn’t a “weight loss hack” by any means. If I actually want to see a lower number on the scale, I will have to consume fewer calories. Until then, I’ll be accepting tips on how the f*ck I’m supposed to enjoy an evening at home without eating until the second I fall asleep.

View this post on Instagram

water does not make me full ?? | @jaredfreid

A post shared by diet starts tomorrow (@dietstartstomorrow) on

Images: louisabhaus, dietstartstomorrow (2), betches / Instagram

4 Healthy Foods That Are Surprisingly High In Fat

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been tracking macros on MyFitnessPal. Initially, I was doing it to try and get back on Keto. (By “back on,” I mean I did it for two weeks before a vacation once.) Unsurprisingly, I bailed on Keto (nothing is low-carb enough!!!). and I then decided my #newyearnewme would be about counting macros instead. I’m currently using this calculator, which I found via this highly reliable fitness Instagram. I’m not even being sarcastic—there’s very good advice on there. My biggest challenge with macros so far has definitely been keeping my fat content in check. Within a week, I realized I knew way less about which foods are high fat than I thought. For example, I had a day of what I considered very healthy eating (salads! oats! grain bowls!), and then discovered my diet had been 60% fat. And this is why I have trust issues. So, I did some research into which of my “healthy” choices were causing that high fat content. I’m not talking about obvious fats—you should all know that baked goods are full of bad fats and avocados are full of good fats. These are the sources of fat you’re not as likely to guess as, say, a fried chicken sandwich or a BLT with mayo.

Disclaimer: Everyone’s dietary needs are different, and many diets may call for higher fat content. I am not advocating for a universal low-fat diet, so do not come for me. Rather, I am hoping this information may be illuminating to some of you (read: I don’t want to be the only one who didn’t already know all this).


I’ll be honest, I’ve never really known a lot about the nutrition content of falafel. It felt like a kind of dietary gray zone. Not as healthy as a vegetable, but probably better than cheese. Right? Not really. While trying to design a low-fat grain bowl at Tender Greens, I was pretty shocked to see that the steak topping was lower in fat than the falafel option. While falafel can be a healthy dish (the ingredients themselves are nutrient-rich), I’d somehow forgotten that it’s typically deep-fried. This adds, in scientific terms, a sh*t ton of fat to your meal. FWIW, the “baked falafel” option at Tender Greens was way healthier—but unless a menu specifies “baked,” you should assume it’s deep fried, and therefore higher in fat.


Tofu is a similar deal to falafel—it’s all about how it’s prepared. While tofu isn’t deep-fried quite as often as falafel (though still more often than you’d think), it’s really good at soaking up whatever it’s cooked in. And given that tofu on its own has just about zero flavor (it’s okay, we can all admit that), it’s usually cooked in a bunch of oils, sauces, etc. So tofu on its own? Low-fat, healthy option. But the way it’s usually prepared in restaurants can make it a higher-fat option than something like chicken.


Okay, this one errs more on the side of “foods we knew were high in fat.” But take a minute and actually consider how many “healthy options” feature nuts as a key ingredient. Protein bars that pride themselves on not adding sugar? Full of nuts. Overnight oats? Probably filled with nut butter (or WTF are you doing). Even a lot of salads and bowls will add nuts as a topping, plus, almonds are constantly touted as the ideal mid-afternoon snack. We also all know the problem with nuts—they are impossible to portion for how calorie-dense and fat-dense they are. And anyone who says they’re full after 6 almonds is a dirty liar.

So, while nuts are full of technically good fats, it’s still super easy to go over on your fat content goals if all the healthy options you’re choosing are nut-heavy. So if my breakfast included 2 tbsp of almond butter (18 grams of fat and it never feels like enough), maybe I don’t also have have a nut-based Lara Bar at 4pm (9 grams of fat), and snack on nuts at 6pm (19 grams of fat). That brings my fat content from nuts alone (not even the fun fats, like sauces and cheese and sugar) to 46 grams, when my daily goal is 48. (Let it be known that my total fat content for that day wound up being 90+ grams. This sh*t is hard!!!)

Olive Oil/Butter

I know! I said this list would be about non-obvious sources of fat. Yet here I am basically listing the liquid form of fat and saying “surprise! This is fat.” Sue me, but also listen because this is probably the #1 thing that people forget to count in their diets. One tablespoon of olive oil has 14 grams of fat. One tablespoon of butter has 12 grams of fat. (The type of fat they offer is different. Here is a long article on different fats and how they affect you.) Even at home, I struggle to cook something edible using less than 2 tbsp of one of these. It can be super tempting to just log the one chicken breast you cooked in there, but unless you’re using a cooking spray, you have to account for the fats it absorbed.

Well, that’s the end of my tirade on fat, and now I never want to look at a nutrition label again! Remember, the worst thing you can do with your diet is eat in a way that makes you miserable, because you know that sh*t won’t last. My fat content is still way too high most days, but I’m figuring out what a low-fat day I can live with looks like. At least it’s not Keto!