The Three Mistakes I Made While Dieting

...And what I Learned From Each One

Like so many others in the helping field, my nutritionist career has been shaped by personal struggles with food and body image. I plunged into the depths of dieting at a young age and resurfaced scathed but stronger. If you’re struggling, I hope this peek into my past helps you to feel less alone.

Mistake: Not having enough food on hand.During my dieting days, I believed that if I carried less food around, I’d be less interested in food. Oh, how wrong I was! That’s because my body couldn’t distinguish between a diet and a famine. So to bring me back to balance, my brain actually started to notice food more (hello preoccupying food-filled thoughts!)

Lesson: Smart snacks on-hand equals brainpower and focus. When I honour my hunger with consistent snacks and nourishing meals, my body is fueled and I can focus my brainpower elsewhere.

Mistake: Engaging in rigid, unenjoyable exercise.  Somewhere along my dieting way, I read you “had” to do cardio for X minutes per day for it to “count”. I would drag myself to the gym, even when every fibre of my being wanted to stay in bed. I needed the rest, but this external voice overpowered the pull to my pillow.

Lesson: Finding pleasure in movement is the most important. When I finally stopped listening to the unsupportive voice in my head and gave myself permission to move (or not move) in any way that gave me joy – a whole new rejuvenating world of exercise opened up.

Mistake: Extreme thinking. For years I believed that one “wrong” choice would unravel all of the “right” choices I had made. It kept me anxious, unhappy and isolated. I now know that this black and white thinking is a product of the ever-profitable dieting industry. Rules provided me a false sense of control but ultimately took me away from knowing how to take care of myself when, well, life happens.

Lesson:  “You do not have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy.” – The Intuitive Eating Workbook, Tribole & Resch Practicing flexibility with my food choices has undoubtedly been the biggest lesson in rediscovering my relationship with food. I now recognize that sometimes the healthiest choice is not the most nutritionally redemptive one, but allows me to connect with close friends. And that soon enough there will be a brand new opportunity to give my body what it needs.  

The bottom line My past has allowed me to approach my clients from a place with no judgment and compassion. The mistakes listed above are common, but destructive, and I’m grateful to have come out the other side with important lessons in tow. If any of those sound familiar to you, I hope you see there is another way.

Claire LeGresley is here to help you rediscover your relationship with food. No experience required, we start where you are. For more information, please visit

Categories: Nourished