Stop Dieting and Start Losing Weight!

At 12 years old, I wasn’t a fat kid. As a matter of fact, I was pretty skinny (that’s me on the right in the blue jeans).

But, all the girls at school were on diets, and the women’s magazines were recommending diets, and my mom was on a diet as well.

I remember thinking, “I should really go on a diet.”

My chronic dieting began by eating “diet” food and drinking diet soda. I also ate low-fat and non-fat, yogurt and cheese.

And, an interesting thing happened – I began gaining weight and didn’t understand why.

By the time I was 15 years old I had created a warped idea about food.

I remember going to my best friend’s house every day after school. Omi, her German grandmother, would prepare us the most delicious meal – Braised pork or chicken with gravy, creamy mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. Twenty minutes after we ate, we would lock ourselves in the bathroom and force that homemade food out of our bodies.

I remember Omi knocking on the bathroom door asking, “Are you girls okay?”

We’d say, “yeah we’re fine,” and turn the radio louder so she wouldn’t hear us throwing up.

But, the truth is we were NOT okay. We were damaged. It was the 1980’s and we were brainwashed by the dieting industry to think eating food with fat would make us fat.

At 17 years old I attended Weight Watchers “fat camp” in Pennsylvania. It was sensible dieting. We ate meals that were very low in fat, drank diet soda, used artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, and slathered fake butter on our bread.

I remember one night at camp, I got stoned (hey… I was a teenager), broke into the food shack, and ate an entire jar of peanut butter.

Apparently, my body was craving fat.

After fat camp, I joined weight watchers and bought a food scale. I weighed and counted every fat gram and calorie that went into my mouth. Unfortunately, this made eating a laborious task.

Eventually, I grew tired of weighing, measuring, counting and scrutinizing every morsel that went into my mouth.

So, I joined Jenny Craig. They sold boxed food that was already weighed and measured. Whew! What a relief. It certainly wasn’t delicious, but it did the job and I lost a few pounds.

The interesting thing is with every diet, I initially lost weight but always gained it back…PLUS some!

I was not obese, but I was chunky. And, it seemed the more I dieted, the chunkier I became. At my chubbiest I was 149 pounds, which is not FAT. But, I’m a shorty. At 5’ 3” (and a 1/2), I was 25 pounds heavier than I am now, and I felt bloated and uncomfortable.

An interesting diet entered my radar when I was in my early 20’s. My mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. After her chemo and radiation treatments we tried something called Macrobiotics.

It wasn’t about counting fat grams or calories; it was about quality of food and how it affected the body energetically, physically and spiritually. This was an entirely new concept for me.

The diet consisted of whole grains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and fruits.  It was very low in fat, so it fit perfectly with my “dieting” mentality. Eating that food made my body feel good and helped me go to the bathroom – which, as a chronic dieter, was a rare occurrence. As a result, I dropped a few pounds… literally, right into the toilet.

After mom died, I kept some of the Macrobiotic principles and my weight leveled off at 139 pounds. But, mostly I went back to my unhealthy “dieting” ways.

Finally, a gift from the gods came. At 28, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a goiter. After watching mom suffer, and eventually die from chemo and radiation, I decided radioactive iodine was NOT an option for me (Radiate My Thyroid? No Freakin’ Way!).

I stopped the nonsense and finally STOPPED dieting!

Instead of dieting, I focused on eating the best quality food to help my body heal.

Within the first 4 months I dropped 18 pounds. To date, I’ve never gained back that weight (almost 20 years). I don’t ever think about dieting anymore. I just eat food, real food, with all of its nutrients intact, including the fat.

Below are some steps to help you break free from a dieting mentality and lose weight.

STOP dieting:

  • Dieting deprives us of physical and emotional nutrition
  • Dieting creates dysfunctional behaviors
  • Dieting contributes to weight gain

Eat Real Food: see pictures below. This is what food looks like.


Drink Water: there is no better beverage for your body.

Ditch Chemical Sweeteners: Chemicals disrupt endocrine function, lead to weight gain, contribute to depression, and destroy brain cells. Not only that, artificial sweeteners are so unnaturally sweet they compromise the delicate palate in your mouth. No longer will a fresh berry taste naturally sweet if you eat chemical sweeteners.

Sit Down to Meals: Do NOT walk or stand and eat. Digestion needs relaxation to function properly. If you are stressed out, or walking and eating, stress hormone rises and digestion shuts down.

Move Your Body: A simple 35-40 minute daily walk can help. You don’t need to pump iron, you just need to move your butt EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you find you are stuck, here are some common dieting mistakes:

  • Eating cold foods and/or too many salads – dampens digestive fire and slows metabolism
  • Forbidding foods – the dieter becomes obsessed with what they cannot have
  • Eliminating fat – creates wild cravings and the dieter is never fully satisfied
  • Emotional eating – what are you really craving? Love? Companionship? Inspiration? Creativity?
  • Impatience – it took time to gain the weight, it’ll take time to take it off. Relax.
  • Lack of self love – if we don’t love ourselves exactly as we are, in the body we have right now, we will continue the self abuse and chronic dieting behaviors.

Stop the nonsense, stop dieting, and start loving yourself and the food you eat. You’ll achieve your ideal weight in no time!






  • Linda

    I switched to non processed foods and lost 40 pounds. I would like to lose more but I will let my body tell me how and when. I have been and done all the diets also never ever thinking that processed foods were the enemy. Quick and easy was for me but now I am seeing that whole food is just as quick and easy. Love it!! You got me going lady and helped me see what I can do. For this I thank you with all my heart! I hope someday more people will understand the foods we eat can kill or save our health!!
    Thank you again!!

  • Miriam Rosenthal

    I LOVE you Andrea Beaman. Great blog post and I love the pictures; it’s interesting to compare them.

  • dana

    LOVE this Andrea!! I JUST posted my “Meet Dana” on my site and it’s sooooo similar to yours. I did not have hyperthyroid and I commend you on your healing, you are so inspiring but I did do the dieting, restricting and gained due to it. I called it “weird weight”… It wasn’t until IIN and IPE that I TRULY started learning what “healthy” whole foods are and how much spirituality and our emotions are involved. Thank you so much for posting this, I’m definitely sharing this one on my page!! I also LOVE you wrote (5’3″-1/2)…and added the (1/2) in there…. I am also 5’3-1/2 LOL =)

  • Angie Bee

    Thanks for this post 🙂 I remember drinking diet drinks and wishing they didn’t taste like crap! It took me getting away from my family in order to change many of my dis functional behaviors on many levels and not just food. I am reversing my MS with diet, life and attitude changes, and exercise. Keep up the good work! You are appreciated!

  • Deborah Miles

    Andrea, loved your story and those adorable pictures. I eat fish, and organic chicken. I never really liked red meat and I will not eat pork. I never wanted to be a vegan, but with all the movies, how can we really help the animals without giving up chicken and so on? I know we can buy from local farms if they are local, but how does that help change the way animals are treated in slaughter houses? Everyone says if we go vegan or vegetarian that will help, but how? I know you were vegan for a while right? I eat clean, no sugar, love water, but I do like to lift weights. Love you books.

  • Liz

    Great article, Andrea. Makes so much sense! I think I would have paid money to see you high!

  • Tori Quisling

    wonderful article Andrea!!! xo Tori

  • Thanks for sharing your story Andrea! Love that you’re encouraging that people eat real food that tastes great, deprivation is no way to launch a healthy lifestyle!

  • thank you for the inspiration. I have hypothyroidism and was just put on dessiccated thyroid same as Armour at my request. Was taking natural products but emotions ran so deep I needed to endocrinolgist. I will certainly go back to my better eating habits

  • Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

    Excellent article! I always crack up at these imbeciles who are promoting their products at Whole Foods, saying “Fat free!” like it’s a good thing. I always put them in their place and tell them, “Fat is not the enemy!” and point out on the product label all the artificial ingredients and excess sugar. They just roll their eyes and continue selling, without a guilty conscious.

    Hopefully someday everyone will “get it.” And I’ll tweet your article to move the process along 🙂

  • brit

    I have hashimotos auto immune hypothyroid. I have read to avoid iodine in this case but I am wondering if taking it in food like nori sheets would be ok (nori contains the least iodine of the seaweeds).

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  • Great post, Andrea! I too did the Weight Watchers, the NutriSystem, drank lemon water and cayenne pepper, etc etc. It wasn’t until I pointed love at myself and stopped eating frankenfoods that I found myself shedding weight like winter clothes!

    I’m at IIN right now just listened to your lesson on Macrobiotics. I loved it and it really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing!

    • Love is the greatest food of all 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story!

  • rachel short

    Thank you Andrea for this great article. I am a child of chronic dieters and it’s taken me a long time (and going through the IIN program) to figure out what works for me. Your article was a great reminder. You are a great inspiration and keep the great articles coming!

  • Oh, how I relate to the diet madness. I had full fat yogurt this morning and I was more satisfied with a smaller portion than I ever was on the fat-free stuff. I remember my health coach looking at my food diary and asking, are you hungry every day around 4 pm? I said “yes, I’m eating carrots on my way home.” She replied, “there’s no fat in your diet. Add some olives, avocado and nuts or cheese in and tell me how you feel.” It was a revelation. Now I’m health coaching too.

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  • Jeanette

    Your story is so similar to mine that it is eerie! Same height, although I say 5’4″ 🙂 same weight, same hyperthyroid issue (Grave Disease), although I am a few years older than you. I was trying once again to lose weight when diagnosed but managed to gain even with a hyper-thyroid! Long story short, I am done dieting. After almost 40 years of yo-yo-ing, gaining & losing the same 30-35 pounds over & over again, I am not going to do it any more. You have great advice here. I have been reading as much info as I can on how to stop and I am ready.

    • You can do it, Jeanette! Remember to be patient and loving with your beautiful body.

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  • snow-white

    Hi Andrea! I stopped all thoughts about dieting by trying to eat normally. Like you I was never fat, I was at a “normal” weight when I was 15 and there started my diet and battle with food. Anyway, after 13 years, I have stopped dieting and started HIIT. I actually look thin and the other day noticed I have started developing abs. I also refer to Gwyenth Olwyn’s site for help with my ED. You may find some new information there too.

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  • KC1126

    Hi Andrea – I just came across your post this morning. I am in a very similar situation as you have described during your late 20’s. I began with a diet/exercise regimen back in 2010 to shed the additional 30 pounds I gained in college (154 when I graduated). I was able to lose about 20 of those pounds and felt great but of course wanted more weight loss (I’m also 5’3 1/2). I basically embarked on a journey of starvation in order to get down to about 122 lbs. Fast forward to now, I am about 143 lbs. and despite efforts that have worked in the past to lose weight, nothing seems to work. I even went to an endocrinologist to get put on thyroid medication and birth control pills because I had lost my cycle. In a nutshell, I’m so sick of dieting. But honestly, I’m terrified of gaining even more weight if I “stop”. Do you have any suggestions on positive thoughts that helped you get through this time? This is much appreciated!

    • @karacorso:disqus Hi KC, yes chronic dieting can totally screw up metabolism. I’m so sorry to hear you had that experience as well. I would suggest, first and foremost, that you stop fretting about your body and start loving it right now, exactly as it is. The more you love yourself, the more you’ll be able to care for yourself. I would also highly recommend Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. One of my favorite books for positive thoughts:

  • love this post! thank you. i’m ending my diet after reaching my goal weight and i don’t want to go back to calorie restriction again. i love exercise and thru the months it took to lose weight on my diet, i finally learned how to listen to my body with particular foods. the right ones help keep everything running smoothly without issues and i have plenty of energy. the wrong foods make me feel bloated, sick, tired and i get digestive issues. healthy living is the key! really enjoyed your post because it gives me hope that i can maintain without depriving myself on ridiculously small amounts of great foods.

    • @sadikalen:disqus great job taking care of yourself and listening to your body!

  • Leila

    Omg I LOVE this article too! To be honest I’m not confident enough to suddenly drop my diet now but I can tell that there are so many truths in this article. Thank you so much for giving me motivation and courage. I love you for that! And the way you descripe things and tell your story is so fun to read!!

    • @Leila – Thanks for reading! When you’re ready… stop that crazy dieting and start eating real food. Your body will love you for it!