10 Reasons Why You Need To Break Up With Crash Dieting

10 Reasons Why You Need To Break Up With Crash Dieting

If you’ve read my post about Intuitive Eating, then you know I’m a fan of this eating style. And you also know that I’m not a fan of crash dieting. 

This post would be pretty dang short if I simply told you that I don’t believe in crash dieting for one main reason: because it doesn’t work! But, luckily, I have 10 more reasons to back that up. Today’s post will cover 10 reasons why you need to break up with crash dieting, in hopes of cultivating a healthier relationship with your body image and eating patterns. 

10 Reasons Why You Need To Break Up With Crash Dieting

10 Reasons Why You Need To Break Up With Crash Dieting

Look, I get the appeal of crash dieting. And I’ve been on my fair share since I was a freaking teenager. So, trust me when I say there’s no judgment here for those of you still struggling to hop off the crash dieting train. It’s hard!

The truth is, breaking up with crash dieting often also means learning to fall in love with yourself and your body. Which makes the process doubly as hard for those of us who are dieting in an attempt to change our bodies out of self hate, rather than self love.

As hard as it is, remember, we can do hard things. 

And, above all else, you deserve to feel at home in your body- rather than trying to escape or change it all of the time. 


First things first, crash dieting is not sustainable. To put it even more plainly, crash dieting won’t work long term. When we think about the way we eat, we want to work on creating eating patterns that can be maintained for a long period of time. 

We want to learn how to eat in a way that sustains us nutritionally. And also satiates us on a deeper level. That soul-level craving that you get when you eat something really delicious, even if it’s not the most nutrient dense choice. Eating in a way that satisfies all of our needs is the most sustainable way to fuel ourselves. 

Loss Of Confidence

Now that we’ve established that crash dieting is not sustainable, you might understand how it can actually lead to a loss of confidence. When something doesn’t work long-term, it can feel like a failure when it comes to an end. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they “failed” at their diet, because they chose to eat…well, normally….again.

The truth is, you didn’t fail your diet- your diet failed you. Crash diets make grandiose false promises that they can’t keep. And we internalize this as our wrong doing when we can’t see these ridiculous rules through for a lifetime. All of which leads to a loss of confidence overtime.


One of the biggest issues with crash dieting is the restriction that comes along with it. Restriction is telling you all of the things you can’t have. It’s also all of the rules that are placed around order of food, timing in which you can eat, so on and so forth. 

Restriction in our diet often leads to the unsustainable nature of it. Because it’s simply not a way we can function all of the time. The space that these rules take up in our mind is a huge problem, as it creates more stress. And often, limits our ability to socialize without this underbelly of panic about being able to eat or drink all of the “right” things. 


Restriction causes binging. When we tell ourselves we can’t have something over and over again, oftentimes this can create a psychological effect that makes you want it even more. Other times, the binge from restriction comes from a very physical sense as your body actually needs more food. Or a specific nutrient that it’s been deprived of for so long. 

One of the most detrimental things about binging is the shame that ensues in the aftermath of it all. It’s not that binging it bad because it makes you gain weight, it’s more about the yo-yo swing of reward and punishment happening that keeps your mind, body, and heart stressed the hell out that really matters. 

Disconnection From Body

When we create rules around what or how we eat, we’re essentially telling our body that we don’t trust it to let us know what it needs. Many diets train us to override hunger cues, and overtime, we learn to forget how our body actually feels when it’s hungry or full. This can perpetuate the restriction-binge cycle even more so.

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Fear Of Food

Crash diets often create a deep fear around food. There’s almost this nervousness that comes with eating when we’re in that crash diet cycle, because there’s so many rules around the foods we can or cannot eat, as well as so many rules around how, where, or why to eat them. 

This increased level of fear tends to add to that building internal stress. And I think we can all agree that stress isn’t healthy, right? It’s funny, because people usually go on diets to get “healthier,” but when you factor in the stress, anxiety, or straight up fear of food- you have to wonder if it’s actually unhealthy in the end.

Labeling Food Good Or Bad

Crash diets tend to tell us which foods are “good,” and which foods are “bad.” This goes hand in hand with fear of food, because we’re obviously scared to even be around the “bad” food at all. The reason this method is detrimental is simply because it’s not accurate. There might be some foods that are GREAT for you, but horrible for me. Generalizing entire categories of foods as one or the other is just not true. 

Additionally, because crash dieting cultivates the restriction-binge cycle mentioned above, we learn that we cannot be trusted around the “bad” foods. Like we can’t even control ourselves around them. When, in fact, the healthiest relationship we can have with all food is to be around whatever, whenever, and trust our body’s innate ability to tell us when it wants more, and when it’s had enough.

Mental and Physical Health

Crash dieting can have an extremely negative impact on both our physical and mental health. On a physical level, extreme restriction can seriously impact your metabolism, thyroid, and hormonal levels. Plus, there’s all that stress we’ve been talking about, and guess what- it has to go somewhere. For some people stress can stay on as added weight, or result in breakouts, rashes, constipation, hair loss, and so much more. 

On a mental level, stress also takes a toll. All of the rules in crash dieting take up a lot of space in your mind that could be put into your relationship with yourself or others, into your work, or your creative outlets. It can also lead to more critical mental health crises like depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, or eating disorders. 

Disordered Eating

I sort of fell in love with the term disordered eating when I first heard it, because it just felt so much more accurate to what I’d been experiencing for the bulk of my life- as opposed to calling it a full blown eating disorder. Especially as women, I think most of us can look back at some point in our lives (or maybe even right now), and recognize a time where your relationship with food was disordered. 

Crash dieting is the perfect recipe to make disordered eating stick around, because of those darn rules. All of the sudden you’ll only eat between certain hours, even if your stomach is rumbling. Or, your counting macros, calories, carbs…whatever. Disordered eating can look so many different ways. I essentially classify it as anything other than eating intuitively

Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are a mental health crisis, and if you suspect you have an eating disorder I strongly urge you to reach out to someone for help. Remember, eating disorders don’t always look the same for everyone, and they certainly don’t look the same in every body. Your body doesn’t have to be a certain size in order for you to have an eating disorder. 

Crash dieting perpetuates eating disorders with the everpresent undertone that tells us you’re not good enough as you are. The guilt, the shame, the fear, the loss of confidence- combined with the ability to control something (your food) is a great way to unveil an eating disorder. 

Are you ready to break up with your crash dieting ways yet? I hope so!

If you’re looking for more support along your way, I highly suggest finding a therapist. Or, reading the Intuitive Eating book, or Intuitive Eating Workbook to help bring you back to you along the way.

You’ve got this, my friends. 



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