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Is Sneaky Dieting Behavior Preventing You From Full Eating Disorder Recovery

by nina on March 7, 2012

The battle to be free of the diet mentality…

I get it. Not as simple as it sounds, especially when 60 Billion Dollars are pumped into the industry each year and we are bombarded with constant messages to lose weight, get in shape for summer, drop the last 5 pounds, the latest celebrity diet, lose those winter poundsn, and on and on…

So what do you do?

Well if you suffer with an eating disorder, the whole dieting game is playing with fire.

Today’s Q&A is about mixing sneaky dieting behavior with intuitive eating and why this doesn’t work.

Trust me, I have tried it.
Over and Over and Over again.

Thank you Mary for your question. Im sure many readers can relate.
It can just be so hard to surrender right?

Well the good news is that you do not have to do it all at once.

The first part begins with getting honest.

Here is a sneaky dieting behavior checklist – see how many of these things your are doing.
Let’s get real and honest here. If only with ourselves.

Honesty is the key that will open the other doors to change.

Sneaky Diet Behavior Checklist:

  • Eating low fat/low carb food
  • Judging what you “should” eat based on what you have eaten that day
  • Not eating after certain times
  • Counting calories, carbs, fat content
  • Reading online weight loss websites
  • Using online calorie counters
  • Punishing yourself for eating “bad” food
  • Sticking to only certain “safe” food
  • Excessive Exercise

Can you relate to any of this?

Share your experience below in the comments! Your honesty will help others to be free to express their own truth…

Love and freedom,


Nina Vucetic

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ioanna March 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

Hi Nina

Thank you so much for your answer πŸ™‚ .
I’m still doing great. I had two really difficult days with other people but I didn’t return to starving. I kept eating intuitivilly.
For tips: I wrote some little cards with positive quotes which I keep always with me and read them when I’m on my way.
When the ED keeps telling me lies I keep saying :”Shut up, that’s not your business and all you’re telling are lies.”
I keep telling myself everything is better than turning back to my ED.
I gained so much emotional strange since I’m eating intuivivilly. Every area of my life has improved drastically. I’m most of the time so happy, content and full of freedom. I don’t have to plan my meals anymore. And so I can concentrate on the really important things in my life.
Of course it’s difficult to deal with some feelings when you don’t have the ED-behaviors anymore, but i prefer feeling all my feelings than going back to the misery of the ED.
I’ve realised that I used to turn to my ED when I had any problem in my life. But it doesn’t help to create another problem, when you already have one. I wasn’t able to solve any problems when I used my ED. You can numb yourself with starving, but you can’t solve any problems.
My mind has become clearer and I’m realising how much stupid things my ED was telling me. NOTHING is true what it tells me. It’s all lies. You don’t transform into a whale when you begin to eat normal /intuitive. You can finally live your life the way that makes YOU happy πŸ™‚ .

Thank you so much nina!



nina March 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hi Ioanna,

This is truly a miracle and such an inspirational recovery story.
I can HEAR the clarity that it is bringing you, and it is so amazing that you
are able to counteract that eating disorder voice and to realize that it is all

This is so beautiful and inspiring!

Thank you for sharing this…

Nina πŸ™‚


Michele March 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Hi, Nina.

Great checklist. It’s so easy to overlook these sneaky behaviors, but I know they are there when I get the urge to binge. That’s my first clue that there are some mental “viruses” running in the background. Thanks to your list of these types of obsessions, I’ve been able to be binge free for 10 months. I never thought that could happen. Whevever I start feeling the eating disorder kicking in, I look for these types of thoughts and the craziness just dissolves.

Judging what you “should” eat: This one is so sneaky. I think this obsession is with me from the time I wake up. I just have to ask myself, “What do I WANT to eat right now?”

Reading online weight loss websites: I find looking at any media related to losing weight triggers the eating disorder behavior. Even health shows and magazine ads. I had to learn to avoid these like the plague.

Counting calories: I don’t do this anymore, but I did for years and years.

I would like to add another one to this list. That is “weighing” myself by touch. By that I mean checking my wrists, cheekbones, hip bones, anything that tells me what I “weigh” in a tactile way. I call it tactile weighing, and it is like stepping on a scale every 5 minutes. I found this one is a huge trigger for my eating disorder. I think this one was left over from my anorexia days in high school. Once I learned to stop doing this, I could feel the compulsion to binge really leaving me.

I find I still have to be vigilant with these obsessions. They can sneak back in anytime. Fortunately, when I get the urge to binge eat, that tells me right away to look for one or more of these obsessions.

Great video.

Thanks again for your great book and your dedication to helping others.



nina March 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Hi Michele!

Congratulations on being binge free for 10 months – that is absolutely amazing!!
yes you are right, whenever the urge appears we have to be vigilant about
what “sneaky” behavior may be triggering it.

i love that you ask yourself:
β€œWhat do I WANT to eat right now?” — that should be the recovery mantra!

thank you so much for sharing this with us all and for your honesty and beautiful recovery…

love Nina


Mary March 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm


Thank you so much for your help. Your response came at the perfect time! A few weeks ago I ran into a few girls that, inadvertently triggered me to want to lose weight and I started calorie counting and weighing myself every day again. I did well for a week but the past two days? Yep…you guessed it…binge central. Last night after my binge I wrote out all of my eating disordered thoughts and counteracted them with what I consider to be recovered thoughts.

Before I saw these girls I was on the road to freedom, really trying to listen to my body and I was steadily losing weight! Here’s the interesting part…I STILL didn’t deep down believe my body knew what it was doing…To me, that is proof of how engrained my ED thoughts are into my head!

Along with my visualization statement, I plan on reading this to myself daily:

I can eat when I want
No food is bad
I feel attractive and healthy. I feel great
Dieting leads to bondage for EVERYONE
My body knows what it’s doing
I can trust my body



nina March 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

My pleasure Mary!

Thank you for starting this important topic!

It takes time for us to TRUST that our body knows perfectly what it is doing,
and the way to get there is keep trying, keep listening to it and keep
practicing listening and honoring your body…

I love your affirmations:

I can eat when I want
No food is bad
I feel attractive and healthy. I feel great
Dieting leads to bondage for EVERYONE
My body knows what it’s doing
I can trust my body

That is FANTASTIC – the more you repeat statements like these, the more your subconscious mind comes to accept
them as true and the quicker you get to beating the eating disorder voice and achieving
FULL recovery.

Thanks Mary!!

Nina πŸ™‚


Ioanna March 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

Hi Nina
I have a question. I read that you drink fruit juices.
What other liquids do you drink? If it’s water, do you drink it because it has no calories?

Then there’s something that worries me: half a year ago I also ate intuitively for about half a year. I gained a lot of weight. So this time I’m afraid that the same thing will happen. This creates a lot of anxiety when I’m eating.

By the way: I could channge my eating habits from one day to the next from restrictive to intuitive eating and I’m doing it for a whole week already. It’s just great and gives me the freedom I always wanted.



nina March 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Hi Ionanna,

That is amazing that you are beginning to experience freedom. it is a process and the fear of the weight gain can keep us going back to the diets and sneaky diet behavior… but the more you have faith, keep doing what you are doing… the more you will experience freedom and joy like you have never known before and this will keep you going on your path.
That freedom surpasses any instant gratification from a binge or drop in a pound.

As for drinks – I seriously drink everything. Water, juice, soda, coffee with cream… everything – except alcohol. Not because of calories, I just think it harms my body

Thank you for sharing your comments with the Help for Eating Disorder community & you are doing great! Stay in touch and keep us all updated with your progress, questions and any tips you may have…

Nina πŸ™‚


Cindy March 7, 2012 at 3:25 am

Hi Nina and everyone here,

I bought your book last week. I have come to a point that I am desperate to recover from this. I’ve been working at my recovery for about a year, and I have come pretty far, but I am still going through restrict/binge cycles every week.

Last week was the best week I’ve had in…I can’t remember how long. I’m working through your book a little bit every night (writing out my feelings, doing some of the exercises, etc) and WOW! Thank you so, so much. I know I still have a long way to go, but last week gave me hope that I can get there–I can recover!

On to the questions above….
-Eating low fat/low carb/diet food: I love (and eat) carbs now, fat is still a bit more difficult, but I am working at listening to my body and eating what I really want. For example, two weeks ago I was making wraps for dinner and I really felt like having some guacamole. I don’t crave avocado very often, and the eating disorder voice said not to have it because of the fat. But, I listened to my body and made some guacamole to have on my wrap. It was delicious and “hit the spot”, if you know what I mean. I haven’t wanted it since then, but when I do, I will have it.

-Judging what you “should” eat based on what you have eaten that day: this one is a major problem for me–and one that has improved a lot this week in working to be an intuitive eater. I’m slowly starting to realize that if I listen to my body, I will get variety over the days and weeks.

-Not eating after certain times–yes, I have the habit that after a certain time, I do not let myself eat. Of course, then the only type of eating I engage in after that time is binge eating. I’m working to be less rigid πŸ™‚

-Counting calories, fat, etc: yes, another major problem for me. But this last week I haven’t counted nearly as much. When the urge to count comes up (and wow, it is strong) I just say “I am a normal eater, I am recovered” and that helps it go away.

-Reading weight loss websites: I haven’t done this for a while, actually. Yay!

-Using online calorie counters: I was ADDICTED to this for years, but haven’t used one in several months!

-Punishing yourself for eating “bad” foods: used to be a huge problem, but I’m working to overcome it. Last Friday I had a piece of zucchini bread and hot chocolate for breakfast and actually let myself enjoy it. And no, there was no “sugar crash” like the diet nazis say–I felt happy and content.

-Sticking only to safe food: I still struggle with this. Partly because of time–I work full time and am a student so I have limited time to cook and pack my lunch each day, so I tend to stick to the same things. I am learning though to take things that are more filling and not just vegetables.

-Excessive exercise: This used to be a huge problem, but not as much anymore. I’m getting better at moving because I want to and it feels good (going for a walk or doing yoga are my favorites).

Thanks again–sorry for the novel length comment


nina March 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm

WOW!! What an amazing response. This is such great work Cindy!!

THIS is how we get to the real recovery and lasting freedom. By being ruthlessly honest with ourselves about what we are really doing and then in sharing this you are helping so many others get really honest.

Thanks Cindy!

You Rock!

Nina x


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