How to Ditch the Diet: A Balanced Eating Approach

Can you believe summer is less than 2 weeks away?

Not only are we on the verge of another season, but we’re half way through 2019. Umm seriously, where did the time go?!


If you’re a So-Cal native, I’m sure you have a special place in your heart for the summertime.

Life seems to slow down, beach hangouts and bonfires are priority, and the fun summer to-do list is crafted.

The summer has always been one of my favorite seasons, but if I’m being honest, I used to have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.

Before I discovered intuitive eating, I was a chronic dieter. I’d cycle on different diets year-round, which involved cutting out food groups, using fat burners, counting calories, and over exercising. Every time the month of May rolled around I knew it was time to diet and get my body “bikini” ready.

But, I’m happy to report, that this summer is going to be unlike any other summer before.

How so?

I’m 100% committed to ditching the diet. Just enjoying my summer AND life by eating balanced.


Low key… I’m hoping you’ll want in on this too.

If weight loss is your goal for health reasons, I totally get that. But, if your dieting because you want to look like Adriana Lima, please think twice love!

Trust me when I say, I know how you feel. When I hit my goal weight with a flat and toned tummy, it brought me temporary gratification. I looked skinny in pictures, but that was it. My worth and value didn’t change. And on top of that, I was hungrier than ever! Dieting wasn’t sustainable and I eventually gained the weight I lost back.

Maybe you want to feel comfortable in your body, which is such a valid reason to get your health on track. But, before you consider dieting, I have a proposition for you.

Pledge to read through the facts about dieting in this post and genuinely consider balanced eating.

The Facts About Dieting

You’re not alone if you’ve dieted for weight loss. Today, 40-50% of U.S. women are trying to lose weight.It’s obvious that most women believe dieting will help them reach their health goals, but in the long run dieting can actually cause more weight gain.In addition, dieting can send your body into starvation mode and cause it to miss out on vital nutrients, which are critical to your daily health and energy.2

Instead of consuming healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, young adult women have adopted erratic eating behaviors. For instance, a study discovered that most college women engage in frequent “snacking,” skipping meals, unhealthy late-night eating, and the consumption of fast foods.For the record, fast foods fit the bill when it comes to convenience. But, this type of food is typically high in calories and saturated fat with little nutrient density.3

Let me lay this out, plain and simple. Spontaneous eating habits, physical inactivity, and poor food choices can lead to weight gain and even obesity.Not your occasional cheeseburger lunch. Continual poor food choices, like a cheeseburger with fries every day, will likely lead to weight gain, especially if you’re not active.

Nevertheless, dieting for weight loss and personal body satisfaction has become a normalized habit amongst young adult females as 38% of overweight or obese and 24% of normal weight women have the goal of weight loss.Moreover, 60-80% of women have been on a diet within a year!Clearly, pressure to fit the thin ideal (a slim/slender physique with minimal body fat) has impacted women of all sizes as evidence by dieting rates.

Because dieting is normalized in our society, women are at risk for weight cycling and binge eating.6  

Binge eating is classified as eating large quantities of food within a short timespan while experiencing feelings of loss of control, shame, or guilt.7

Weight cycling is a small or large weight loss followed by weight regain.8

Numerous failed attempts at weight loss has made binge eating the most common eating disorder in female college students who desire weight loss.Of college women, 32-44% engage in binge eating episodes and begin binge-eating behavior at the age of 20.9,10

There’s no doubt that limiting calories, fat, or carbohydrates can aid in quick weight loss. Yet, 80% of women regain their weight lost within 1 year.9

 If you believe you have a binge eating disorder, please don’t keep this a secret and attempt to figure it out on your own.

Seek the help of a medical professional or therapist who can provide you with practical tools to overcome your disorder and reach a healthier place in your relationship with food. You can contact the hotline listed below to speak with an advocate to discuss your treatment options and determine which solution is best for you.

National Eating Disorder Helpline👈🏽

Now that you understand the problem with dieting, let’s get to the heart of the matter, balanced eating.

What is Balanced Eating?

When you eat balanced your diet consists of a variety of foods from different food groups (fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, whole grains, and fats). According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, balanced eating is the cornerstone of health.11


Full disclosure, eating balanced and working out is not a “quick fix.” Especially when you compare it to the numerous diet pills or programs out there. However, research has proven that if you want to lose weight and keep it off for good than balanced eating IS a sustainable lifestyle choice.1 

If you’re unconvinced that balanced eating is a legitimate solution, hang tight. I have a list of healthy foods, food group servings, healthy habits, and more research coming your way.

What are the Benefits of Balanced Eating?

  • You will have more energy
  • You will give your body the nutrition it needs to function and fight disease, like obesity and cancer12
  • Eating a variety of healthy foods can help you reach and manage a healthy body weight13
  • You will learn how to make healthier choices with time, which is important when developing a loving relationship with your body

Daily Food Groups and Serving Sizes for Women11

  • 3 servings (1oz.) of whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread)
  • 3 servings (1 cup) of low fat or fat free dairy (yogurt, milk)
  • 2-3 servings (2.5-3 oz.) of protein (lean chicken, turkey, fish, beans, nuts)
  • 2 cups of fruit
  • 5 cups of colorful vegetables

Healthy Foods to Eat


  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Oatmeal (rolled or steel cut oats)
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet potato
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Nuts (almond and cashews)
  • Seeds (flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin)
  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Soy or Almond milk
  • Low-fat or Non-fat milk
  • Low-fat plain yogurt

What are Healthy Defaults?

Easy healthy choices you can make daily to live a healthy lifestyle


  • Walk, run, or take a dance class! Try to practice physical activity for 30 minutes each day 5x a week
  • Take the stairs at work or go for a walk on your lunch break
  • Make your meals and snacks ahead of time for the week (pick one day of the week to cook and prepare your food)
  • Make foods that can be frozen like rice, beans, or soup. You can defrost these foods and eat them when you don’t have time or feel like cooking!
  • Instead of soda or juices for a beverage, drink water and add lemon or fresh fruit for flavor
  • Pack your meals/snacks the night before a busy day, that way you can make healthier food choices
  • Eat a healthy breakfast to start your day with energy and to avoid overeating
  • Take time to enjoy your food. Eat without distractions like the TV, phone, or computer
  • Go grocery shopping on a full stomach and purchase healthy foods from your grocery list
  • Get enough sleep. It’s recommended women sleep at least 7-9 hours at night2
  • Stay hydrated. Drink at least 8 cups of water a day. The more the better!3
  • When eating out choose baked entrees and fresh sides, like fruit and salad
  • Listen to your body. A rumbling stomach is a sign your hungry!
  • Respect your fullness. Pause when you’re eating to see how the food tastes and feel if you’re full

Okay love, you have the facts laid out for you. You now know the harms about dieting and what exactly balanced eating is. Are you ready to ditch the diet with me?

If you’re down, drop a comment below and use the hashtag #ditchthedietfam on Instagram so we can cheer each other on this summer!



  1. Weight Loss and Maintenance Strategies. NCBI Website.
  2. kNOw Dieting: Risks and Reasons to Stop. UC Berkeley Health Website.
  3. Ashok CK, Karunanidhi S. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among young female college students in Chennai city. J Obes Metab Res. 2016;3:23-31
  4. Morrell JS, Lofgren IE, Burke JD, Reilly RA. Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity, and Related Risk Factors Among College Men and Women. Journal of American College Health. 2012;60:82-89.
  5. Fayet F, Petocz P, Samman S. Prevalence and correlates of dieting in college women: a cross sectional study. International journal of women’s health. 2012;4:405-411.
  6. A Population at Risk: College Aged Females and Eating Disorders. American Counseling Association Website. Accessed March 16, 2018.
  7. Filipova AA, Stoffel CL. The prevalence of binge eating disorder and its relationship to work and classroom productivity and activity impairment. Journal of American College Health. 2016;64:349-361.
  8. Field AE, Manson JE, Taylor CB, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Association of weight change, weight control practices, and weight cycling among women in the nurses’ health study II. Int J Obesity. 2004;28(9):1134-1142.
  9. Eating Disorders on the College Campus. National Eating Disorder Association Website. Accessed March 18, 2018.
  10. Binge Eating Disorder. National Eating Disorders Association Website. Accessed March 16, 2018.
  11. Healthy Diet. World Health Organization Website.
  12. Healthy Eating for Women. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Website.


Published by nourishing nena

Hey you! Thanks for stopping by. My name is Malena Martinez and I'm the creator of the Nourishing Soul Company. I make healthy recipes, share effective lifestyle tips and inspiring faith-filled content with women so they can live a holistic lifestyle; simply by nourishing their body, mind, and soul.

4 thoughts on “How to Ditch the Diet: A Balanced Eating Approach

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