“Just Do It.” “No pain, no gain.” “I can’t, I’m on a diet.”
If you’ve ever tried to diet, you’ve probably heard one of these sayings. And if you’ve ever tried to diet, you know that these quotes are only partially true, and definitely false if you believe them in their entirety.
These phrases are funny, if not for the very real harm people do to themselves when they believe these messages in a rigid, perfectionistic way.
They are almost “funny”.
In this blog post, we’re going to poke fun at some of the most common diet quotes and show how they simply don’t make sense.
We’ll also discuss why Intuitive Eating is a much better way to approach weight loss than diets or willpower-based strategies. So sit back, relax, and prepare to see things differently!
Almost Funny Diet Quotes
Here’s a list of quotes from various ages, times, and celebrities to show how this type of restrictive thinking about dieting permeates our culture.
I’m sure you’ll see how these diet quotes all relate to willpower, self-sacrifice, and ultimately falling off the wagon!
- “I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” – Dolly Parton
- “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.” – Barbara Johnson
- “You know what the secret to weight loss is? Don’t eat much.” – Simone Cowell
- “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may diet.” – Cathy Hopkins
- “The cardiologist’s diet: If it tastes good, spit it out.” – Anonymous
- “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” – Julia Child
- “My advice if you insist on slimming: Eat as much as you like, just don’t swallow it.” – Harry Secombe
- “To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.” – Mark Twain
- “If you have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you with only one definite piece of information: french-fried potatoes are out.” – Jean Kerr
These are funny, yes!
But deep down how many people believe them?
Let’s now take a look at more common diet quotes and philosophies that have become so commonplace they are simply part of how we think.
“Just Do It.”
This is probably one of the most popular quotes out there, and it’s often used as motivation to diet or start an exercise program.
One common example of “just do it” is the idea of putting yourself through pain in order to lose weight. This might mean working out for hours on end, depriving yourself of all your favorite foods, or living in a state of constant stress.
However, what this quote fails to take into account is that restrictive diets that lead to deprivation are not sustainable in the long term. In fact, 95% of people who lose weight on a diet will gain it all back within one to five years.
And even if you do manage to stick with your diet and lose weight, research shows that your body will actually fight against you to regain the weight by increasing your hunger hormones.
So “just doing it” is not only ineffective, but it’s also downright harmful.
But as we now know, this is not only ineffective, it’s also harmful.
And it’s not fun!
“No pain, no gain.”
This is another popular saying that is often used to motivate people to diet or exercise.
However, this quote is also harmful because it perpetuates the idea that thinness equals pain and suffering.
It’s no wonder so many people who are struggling with their weight feel like they’re failing when they can’t stick to their diets!
This quote also doesn’t take into account the fact that diets are not sustainable in the long-term.
So even if you do manage to lose weight, you’ll likely gain it all back (and then some) once you stop dieting.
This quote is often used to convince people that they need to punish themselves in order to lose weight.
But as we’ve already seen, this is not only ineffective, but it’s also counterproductive.
When you’re constantly in pain, your body releases cortisol – a stress hormone that actually causes weight gain.
So “no pain, no gain” is nothing more than a recipe for disaster.
“I can’t, I’m on a diet.”
This is a common excuse people use when they don’t want to eat something because they are afraid of gaining weight.
However, this excuse is harmful because it perpetuates the idea that diets are restrictive and depriving.
It also sets you up for failure, because as we mentioned before, diets are not sustainable in the long-term.
This one is probably the most frustrating for people who are trying to diet.
It’s the equivalent of saying “I can’t do anything because I’m stuck on this stupid diet.”
So instead of using this excuse, try saying something like “I don’t want to” or “I’m not in the mood.”
These phrases are much more empowering and will help you stick to your Intuitive Eating principles.
“I don’t have time to eat healthy.”
This is another common excuse people use when they don’t want to cook or prepare healthy meals.
However, this excuse is also harmful because it perpetuates the idea that eating healthy requires a lot of time and effort.
The truth is, you can eat healthy without spending hours in the kitchen.
There are plenty of quick and easy recipes out there that are both healthy and delicious.
So instead of using this excuse, try saying something like “I’m not in the mood to cook” or “I don’t feel like eating healthy right now.”
Even admitting to yourself that you aren’t sure how to cook, or prepare healthy quick meals is okay.
It’s ok to not have enough energy either!
But when you say there’s no time, you’re falling into lazy thought patterns and making excuses.
We all know how lazy thought patterns and excuses are why so many people turn to supplements, which are often ineffective.
People want a “magic” pill to solve their health problems, but this simply won’t work!
While supplements can be fine if you do your own research, realize they mustn’t become the “solution” to your lack of time.
What Diet Sayings All Have In Common
All these diet sayings oversimplify human nature.
They basically treat your body like a machine with infinite willpower. But we are so much more than machines!
In fact, many of these dieting weight loss phrases originated in the Industrial Age when ideas about productivity were misguided.
The problem with this way of thinking is that it’s simply not true.
Our bodies are not machines, and we do not have infinite willpower.
We are much more complex and nuanced, but these diet quotes reduce our human nature into black-and-white limited boxes!
- “Just do it” – implies willpower is a decision and leaves no room for rest or recovery
- “No pain, no gain” – perpetuates the idea that health equals pain and suffering
- “I can’t, I’m on a diet” – sets you up for failure by making diets seem restrictive and depriving
- “I don’t have time to eat healthy” – perpetuates the idea that eating healthy requires a lot of time and effort.
All of these sayings are harmful because they perpetuate the false idea that we can control our bodies with our willpower.
The truth is, we cannot control our bodies with our willpower.
Our bodies are not machines, and we do not have infinite willpower.
Related: 11 Healthy Ways To Curb Cravings
The Problem with Willpower
First, let’s define willpower. Willpower is the ability to resist temptation and stick to your goals.
While willpower can be helpful in the short term, it’s not a sustainable strategy in the long term.
In fact, research shows that people who rely on willpower to lose weight are actually more likely to gain weight in the long run.
This is because when you rely on willpower, you’re constantly fighting against your body and your natural urges.
Sooner or later, you’re going to give in and overeat.
In fact, studies have shown that when people try to diet, their willpower actually decreases over time.
This is because diets are restrictive and depriving, which makes them unsustainable in the long term.
So if you’re feeling frustrated because you can’t seem to stick to your diet, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Whether it’s “no pain, no gain”, “I can’t, I’m on a diet”, or “I don’t have time to eat healthy”, all of these sayings imply that health requires sacrifice, self-denial, and infinite willpower.
However, as we’ve seen, this is not only ineffective, it’s also harmful.
You simply cannot stick to any behavior long-term if it makes you feel horrible, deprived, or unfulfilled.
Willpower vs Intuitive Eating
A lot of diet sayings emphasize willpower as a key ingredient for success.
However, willpower is overrated and can actually backfire.
When you’re constantly depriving yourself of pleasure, it’s only a matter of time before you give in to temptation.
This can lead to a cycle of yo-yo dieting and weight gain.
On the other hand, Intuitive Eating is a totally different approach that focuses on listening to your body’s hunger cues and eating accordingly.
It also emphasizes psychology to a much greater degree, including emotional coping skills and understanding how you have internalized harmful dieting messages.
It’s much better to focus on Intuitive Eating principles like honoring your hunger, respecting your fullness, and listening to your body.
These principles will help you make peace with food and your body – something that no diet can ever do.
If you’re interested in learning more about Intuitive Eating, I highly recommend checking out the Intuitive Eating principles expressed by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch over 20 years ago.
They are an excellent resource for anyone who wants to break free from the diet mentality.
Don’t Throw The Willpower Baby Out With The Bathwater
This article is written to expose and talk about mainstream dieting/willpower beliefs that over-simplify human nature.
However, let’s not make the same mistake and oversimplify the conversation about willpower.
Willpower is not all bad.
In fact, it can be helpful in the short term.
The problem with willpower is that it’s often portrayed as the only way to achieve success.
This is simply not true.
Intuitive Eating is a much more holistic and sustainable approach that takes into account the fact that we are human beings, not machines.
I hope this article helped clear up some of the harmful diet sayings that are floating around out there, or at the very least give you something to think about!
Leave me a comment to tell me what you think.