The alternative to dieting

My tip today is “Ditch the diet”!

How many diets have you tried during your lifetime so far? How many days have you woken up thinking “Today’s the day the new diet starts!”? How many days have you found yourself making excuses to delay it, or let yourself ‘be naughty’ (it’s your Mum’s birthday afterall), or just that you can’t be bothered?

Well let me let you into a secret – Diets Don’t Work!!!!

Plenty of research studies have found that while you might lose weight in the short term by ‘dieting’, over a five year period people who diet are likely to pile the weight back on AND THEN SOME (when compared with people who didn’t diet).

My life totally changed when I realised this – ditching the dieting mentality is probably THE MOST powerful thing you can do for your body and your PCOS. Unconvinced? Read on…

Although the research studies refer to eating a ‘low GI diet’ as an effective way to help manage your PCOS symtoms, I want to encourage you to reframe how you think about this …. in my head I never ‘diet’, but I AM committed to the ‘low GI way of life’. For me, the word ‘diet’ conjures up a picture of something temporary (you too?). People are either ON or OFF a diet … but PCOS-friendly eating has to be different.

You need to commit to doing this for yourself INDEFINITELY, because PCOS doesn’t just go away. You need to make PCOS-friendly eating your ‘NEW NORMAL’. End of story.

 That’s why it is SO important to work out how to make this way of eating work for you and your lifestyle. If you feel you have to be ‘good’ and use willpower, then the chances are that will-power will fail you at some point and you’ll feel like you’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’. This often results in a binge … and then a long struggle to get back on track. I’ve seen and heard about this pattern again and again – it really isnt’ helpful.

One of the best things you can do for your body (and your PCOS) is to banish this ‘dieting mentality’.

Get out of the the mindset of ‘being good’ and obsessing about calorie counting. We’ve become so brain-washed into weight loss as the be-all and end-all goal. But this actually misses the point! Weight loss is a SIDE EFFECT of eating well.

A happy body will naturally find its best healthy weight.

By obsessing over the numbers on the scale and how to shift them downwards, there is a tendency to get too focused on the amount of energy in food (ie. the calories) and you are at risk of totally  ignoring the stuff that’s good and useful!

Instead, I recommend adopting what some people call a  “Nutritarian” approach to eating: look for the choices that are going to give you the best value in terms of nutrients rather than for things claiming to be ‘low calorie’ or ‘low fat’. These are just clever marketing messages designed to keep you trapped in a cycle of yo-yo dieting. Look for real, simple whole foods. Real food doesn’t need fancy packaging or wiley marketing messages to sell it. Don’t be a victim to advertising.

If you get into the habit of focusing on nutrients you will automatically eat more healthily (most nutrient-dense foods are plants). So if you fancy eating rice, by choosing brown rice or wild rice instead of polished white rice, you will give your body a whole package of extra vitamins and minerals along with the basic carbohydrate that gives you the calories.

By adopting this approach to food, you’ll begin to learn to listen to what your body needs.

Remember we are all different – we are different shapes, sizes and have differing body types. Do you have a fast or slow metabolism? Do you tend to use up the food you eat quickly (and get hungry quickly)? Or are you a bit of a ‘camel’ – can go for hours without needing anything? Do you feel better when you eat a diet that is higher in carbs or one with more protein? (You may find these questions tricky and could benefit from some one-to-one support or group coaching to help you to get clear about these).


So rather than today being the day that the new ‘diet’ starts, make today the day that you commit 100% to finding a PCOS-friendly lifestyle that works for you.

It won’t happen overnight – just make a start – start taking baby steps in the right direction. Find ways of eating good, healthy, whole-foods that you genuinely enjoy (this might take a bit of time and effort but is well worth it). Stop the excuses and the procrastination and start moving in the right direction towards a PCOS-friendly way of eating and living that WORKS for you. That you stick to because you actually enjoy it and you like how it makes you feel …. and not just because you’re being ‘good’. You can do this!!


This blog is based on an excerpt from my ebook “PCOS-friendly Eating – The Ultimate Do’s and Don’ts”. Get your free copy here.

Struggling to make PCOS-friendly eating habits stick? My online “PCOS-friendly Eating Kickstart programme” could be the answer … spots are limited – sign up here to hear when registration opens.

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