Are you confusing sacrificing with compromising? Do you feel like you’re always dating the same type of person? Can you trust the process of letting go to find your authentic self? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about the parallels between dating and dieting with Toni Marinucci.


Toni Marinucci, MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian and business owner of Diet Tips With Toni, who ironically teaches people how NOT to diet. Her team of RD’s provide online nutrition coaching to help women break free from the all-or-nothing mindset and encourage them to embrace balance instead. Her mission is to end restrictive diet culture by providing simple tips to healthy living while incorporating foods you love! She is a TEDx speaker and #1bestselling author of the book, Once Upon a Diet where she discusses the parallels between dieting, dating, and romantic relationships, and how we treat them the same. Visit Toni's website and connect on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. FREEBIE: Which Disney Princess do you eat like?


  • Are you constantly waiting?
  • How to stop repeating the patterns in relationships
  • Trust the process
  • Be mindful of the honeymoon phase: for diets and relationships

Are you constantly waiting?

People get stuck in bad habits and difficult places in life when they start to constantly put things off that they want to experience now into the future. It could be starting a new hobby, making a friend, or trying a new routine, but always sidelined with, “I’ll be happy when …”.
To be happy, it’s not dependent on the number on a scale, or your relationship status because so many people are waiting to be happy when … they’re waiting to be happy when the number on the scale drops or waiting to be happy once they’ve found their partner. It’s about understanding … you get to choose to be happy now. (Toni Marinucci)
If you are constantly waiting to be happy, you’re doing it the wrong way. Happiness is more likely to find you when you make a space for it, not when you are chasing after it.

How to stop repeating the patterns in relationships

Breaking the pattern for me with dating was going to therapy and starting to recognize that I was with people for the wrong reasons. (Toni Marinucci)
What reasons are you giving yourself to stay in a poor relationship? Are these reasons similar to the ones that you give yourself to remain in disordered eating habits? Is your concern directed at others – the partners, the eating disorder – more so than directing it at yourself?
For some reason [to me at that time] my feelings didn’t matter … that’s important for people to hear because whether it’s relationships or your nutrition, your body, whatever it is … it’s yours. Yours only. Your life, your body, your career, and you get to choose, and if people don’t like it then they’re not your people. (Toni Marinucci)

Trust the process

Recovery is not easy – from healing your relationship patterns to recovering from an eating disorder – but it is worth every day of struggle.
It might take years to get there, for me, it took years to get there. I think once you get the right help and support it obviously happens faster, but be patient [with the process]. (Toni Marinucci)
You will go through the “messy middle” and experience a dip and a powerful struggle. This is because you will go through the scary process of letting go of the known (even though it’s toxic) before you reach the new thing you are working on building.

Be mindful of the honeymoon phase: for diets and relationships

The honeymoon phase can be addictive, whether it’s with a new partner and everything seems great and they seem perfect, or you try a new diet and seem to be getting results. However, the honeymoon phase always ends, and it is not a marker of the depth of the relationship. What happens afterward is a more likely representation of the quality of the connection. Do they begin to treat you poorly? Does your health decline? Then you need to make a shift, and stop pursuing that addictive feeling precisely because it is unsustainable.
If people get stuck trying to relive the honeymoon phase, they neglect the other parts of the relationship that are not exciting [but that are vital] … we start to make excuses, and that’s how we stay stuck. (Toni Marinucci)
It doesn’t matter what it was. You need to focus on what it is now.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to comment below and share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of Behind The Bite on Apple Podcasts (previously) iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[DR. CRISTINA CASTAGNINI] Behind The Bite podcast is part of a network of podcasts that are good for the world. Check out podcasts like the Full of Shift podcast, After the First Marriage podcast and Eating Recovery Academy over at Welcome to Behind The Bite podcast. This podcast is about the real-life struggles women face with food, body image and weight. We're here to help you inspire and create better healthier lives. Welcome. Well, hello everyone. I'm really excited to be here today. Last week we discussed dating and what it's like for someone who has an eating disorder, who struggles with body image issues to be out there dating or in a romantic relationship. If any of you listened to the episode last week, I did mention that I think we really could have many different episodes focusing on the topic of dating and so here we are, we're going to have another one, but rest is shared today's topic, today's episode, it's not a repeat of last week. No, believe me. I have a guest here with us today who's going to discuss the parallels between dieting, dating, and romantic relationships, and how we treat them the same. I am so excited to introduce Toni Marinucci. She is a registered dietician and business owner of Diet Tips with Toni, who ironically teaches people how not to diet. [DR. CRISTINA] Her team of registered dieticians, provide online nutrition coaching to women, and help some break free the all or nothing mindset and encourages them to embrace balance instead. Her permission is to end the restrictive diet culture by providing simple tips to healthy living while incorporating foods you love. I get this, she's a TEDx speaker and a number one bestselling author of the book Once Upon A Diet. All right, well, Toni, welcome to this show, excited to have you. [TONI MARINUCCI] Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here. [DR. CRISTINA] All right. So this is a great topic, I think a lot of people are going to relate to this. But I'm curious, how did you, like, I know you've done a Ted Talk, I know you've written this book, how did this all happen for you? [TONI] It's a long journey. It was a long story, long journey but I guess like any story, I feel like it usually starts in your childhood. You don't even under, you don't even know the stories being written when it is, but it is. For me, I grew up overweight and unfortunately people made me feel pretty crappy for the fact that I was in a bigger body. I actually, what's even more crazy is that I remember myself being so happy and go lucky and just joyful and wanting all everyone to be happy too. I just like, people kept making it obvious that like, how could I be so happy if I was in a bigger body? So after a while I started listening to those messages and I started attaching my weight to my worth. I didn't even know I was doing it then, but as a kid it was like, oh, well, my crush doesn't like me back because I'm overweight or like, I'm not, I didn't make it on the varsity team as I got older because I'm overweight and I didn't get an A on my test because I'm overweight. It just became the thing that I blamed for so many years. I decided pretty early on that I didn't want to be noticed for that and I thought that, well, if I lost weight, maybe people would stop criticizing me or making fun of me. Unfortunately, that just led to some really disordered eating patterns and behaviors. I would do all the things you really, it's not helpful or healthy, but things like skipping meals over exercising, trying to eat as little as possible and unfortunately it backfired. So not only did I not lose the weight that I wanted to, but I also just was completely unhappy and I needed to find another way. Long story short, I did went to school to become a dietician because I thought, oh, that's going to help me learn how to lose weight, and I might even find a boyfriend. That's literally was my mindset. Unfortunately, like as I learned more and more about the field of nutrition, I just became more and more obsessed with nutrition. Therefore, now my healthy eating was like "healthy" to the, I'm using air quotes because healthy is when it neglects your mental health, I don't think it's healthy at all. So like the food, the nutrition of the food was like very, very healthy, but I was so obsessed with it that there was no room for error and had all these food rules. That's where I realized, oh crap, I need to get help with this because like, it doesn't matter what the number on the scale says because even when I was losing the weight, I mentally was completely being tortured by this. It was all I could think about, it was all encompassing. It was so rigid and I was missing out on a lot of like, fun and activities most people do in college. Like, I wasn't participating in a lot of things that most people participate in. So I'll just say I finally figured out a way to love my body and to find balance and now I'm rushing over obviously the process in which we do that but now it led me to teaching people a way to break up with dieting and actually find balance in their eating habits and love themselves now. Even in the journey of whatever sort of health goals that they have, it's learning to love yourself throughout that. That's why I do what I do, which ended up being a TED talk in a book and my whole business and everything. But it was a long, long journey that got me there. [DR. CRISTINA] I love how you said that and like glossing over the whole process. [TONI] I mean, it's a long process as you know, like, it takes a lot of time and effort and there's many stories within the stories [DR. CRISTINA] Right, so anyone listening that's not like this one day you woke up and is like, oh, I think I'll change and this is all better, this is not quite like that. [TONI] Not at all. Nope, not at all. Lots of therapy. [DR. CRISTINA] But I mean, the wonderful thing is that you are here and you did get to that point where you are able to turn things around and use what you've been through to really now, I guess pay it forward, if you will, and start helping people through their own process and really, have done a lot. So can you tell us a little bit more about what your TED Talk was about, what your book's about, because I think it's really interesting topic that you discussed. [TONI] Yes, yes, definitely. The TED Talk is called Once Upon A Diet, and it's actually also the name of my book Once Upon A Diet. I came up with this idea because I remember, this was probably, probably like four years ago and maybe, maybe less, I don't know. At one point in my career, I remember just like sitting there and thinking like, oh God, don't they get it? Like every single, all the women that would come into my program, it's like, it was after they've tried diet after diet after diet and hoping each one was like "the one." I'm like, can't they see it's just the same diet in a different book? It's like sometimes you like want to rattle them, they're like making the same choices over and over again and expecting a different result and that's literally the definition of an insanity. I was like I wish there was a way I can help them see this sooner. Then at the time, so it must have been over five years ago because I've been with my boyfriend for like four or five years, so this is a lesson I had few years ago. At the time I remember thinking, wait a minute, Toni, I had just gotten out of like a toxic relationship, this was like my third toxic relationship where it's like, here I am once again, completely what feels like it almost is like, oh God, it didn't work out and why did I put up with all that I put up with for so long? That's when I realized like, okay, here I was wanting these women to see they keep making the same choices over and over again and expecting a different result and getting frustrated by it but here I was doing the same exact thing in my dating life. I basically dated five versions of the same guy just with a different name and a different face. It was like, I wasn't learning my lesson either. So that's when I noticed the parallels and that's when I started diving a little bit deeper and recognizing, oh my gosh, I'm so not alone in this. Then that's where I decided to do the TED Talk. With the TED Talk was basically just that like helping people to see these parallels and helping them to ask themselves three questions in order to break up with what I call like the stepsister cycle or like the diet cycle. Then at the time when I was recording the talk, I only had eight minutes to speak and I was like, I can't fit all this information in eight minutes. That's when the book was born because as I was trying to decide like what to do for my TEDx talk, I realized, well, I could do like 10 TEDx Talks, so I like write like 10 chapters. That's when I ended up writing my book. It's basically to help people recognize that in order to be happy, it's not dependent on the number on a scale or your relationship status because so many people are waiting to be happy when the number on the scale drops or they're waiting to be happy once they found their partner. It's really understanding that number one, you have, you get to choose to be happy now, and there's a way to do that. Number two, if you go about it in that way, then unfortunately you're focusing on the wrong thing. The number on the scale has very little to do with your actual health and happiness. Even like being in a relationship, we forget to define like the quality of the relationship or the quality in which we go about whatever health journey that we we're on. I think when we're focused on the wrong thing, then we're going to get the wrong answers. So it's learning how to help people to focus on what actually matters, which is like the quality of the relationship, the quality of your nutrition plan. Like is it also addressing your mental health, not just your physical health? Then you're going to probably find some answers and you're probably going to be not just healthy, but also happy. [DR. CRISTINA] So any, I mean, and that all sounds right to say like, okay, I'm going to take this step back and ask myself, like what do I, what patterns do I keep repeating over and over and over again? Because I think that's absolutely true. People keep trying to reinvent the wheel in different forms. And so for you, there's obviously like treatment for eating disorders, but for you, when you looked at, okay, so I keep ending up in the same relationship, like you said, like the same guy, different face, different name and you'd already gone through your eating disorder treatment and recovery, so how did you go about like figuring out, okay, how do I stop repeating the same pattern with my relationships? [TONI] Therapy. I needed to go to therapy. A lot of it was growing up. I mean, at the time I was in my mid to late twenties. The other thing that I recognized, like everyone obviously goes through their healing processes, process different, at different times and stages of their life. But one thing that I realized for me was because when I was younger, I never got attention from boys. Like, I never was in a relationship. My first boyfriend was actually my freshman year of college. That was the first time I ever was in like a real relationship where some people may have had experiences before then. I almost was, I think compared to my friends, I was "late to the game." So for me, I feel like it took me a little bit longer to learn the lessons because I started later. Then also I was never really taught how to date. We're not taught how to date. It's like how we're not taught how to eat. Like we go through our whole lives and like, we're never taught how to eat until there's an eating disorder or a catastrophe basically where it's the same thing with dating. We're just told, like I know I was told directly by family members, you got to find the guy, you got to get married. I'm from a Greek and Italian family so it's very much like you, if if you don't find a partner by X time, it's like you're going to be alone and lonely forever and you're going to never, it's like these crazy messaging. So for us it was just like this pressure to be in a relationship. It almost didn't even matter like who it was. So I felt that way too. I never had a guy give me any sort of attention. The first guy that gave me one became my boyfriend because I was like, oh wow, you like me? Interesting. So it took me about two and a half years to realize that like he wasn't a good fit for me because I never really asked like what it was that I was actually looking for. That's the same thing, like that's where for me, I had to define what is it that I wanted a partner, what's important to me, what are my values? At that point, in the stage of the game for me, I think I had finally like, made peace with myself and my body and I was very clear on my values and what was important to me but if you asked me that 10 years ago, I probably wouldn't have been able to tell you. That doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't be dating or whatnot. It just means that you then need to know that like, okay, this per person's probably not going to be your forever partner unless you happen to be aligned on the things that you so happen to end up deciding are important to you down the line later on. So yes, so breaking the pattern for me with dating was going to therapy and starting to recognize that I was with people for the wrong reasons. One of the things that actually was really, really helpful, my therapist pointed out to me, because every time she would ask me, like with my previous, my ex before my current partner, because this was like five years ago or so she could said to me like why give me a reason to stay in the relationship? Every time I gave the reason it was always focused on because I didn't want him to feel a certain way. It was always about like what was important to him or how it made him feel. It was never about what, how would I feel. So every time she pointed out that out to me, that's when I realized like I was living this life. I lived my whole life based on what, what I felt other people wanted. I didn't want to make, I didn't want to let other people down. I didn't want to hurt other people's feelings, but for some reason, like my feelings didn't matter. I think that's really important for people to hear because whether it's relationships or even with like your nutrition or your body or whatever it is, it's yours and yours only your life, your body, your career and you get to choose and if people don't like it, then they're not your people. I had to get to a place where I was confident in myself to be able to do that. To be honest, it's not easy to do it alone, which is why I'm grateful to have had, be in therapy at the time where she could really be there for me and help me process and just "pull the trigger," like break up even though he would be upset about it or whatever and just deal with the crazy aftermath that happened because I wished I could tell you it was a smooth break, but it definitely wasn't. But if anything it only, it gave me my answer because here I was thinking to myself like I don't want to hurt him, blah, blah, blah and then he went rogue. So that's like a whole other story, but it just made me realize like, I can't be with someone who's this emotionally unstable. It made it only confirm like I was making the right decision where I was, then meanwhile I was holding onto something that I like completely imagined in my mind, which wasn't even real. [DR. CRISTINA] Oh gosh. I'm just, the people-pleasing just kept ringing through my head as you're saying that and I know people listening know exactly what you're talking about, just doing everything for everyone else and somehow else's, like, feeling guilty if you put yourself first or your own feelings first or just like what you're saying, you don't even know what you want or what your feelings are. It's all about everyone else and the fear of letting somebody else down or hurting them. I mean, that is so interesting. Like, what is that about. You're not even in a relationship thinking, well how do I feel in it? Or am I getting my needs met? Or like you said, you don't even know your needs. [TONI] Exactly. It's crazy that we go on in life like this. If you think like, for whatever reason everybody else's feelings better more than your own, it's weird. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, but if you're used to people-pleasing, much like with your eating disorder, it's like, did you ever stop in the middle of it and think, am I living this happy life? Is what I'm doing actually, like, am I happy? Because like you said, when you were in college, you were missing out on parties, you were missing out on social events, you were white knuckling it, you were depriving yourself of food, you were spending your whole life revolved around your eating disorder, trying to get this number or this specific size or something and looking and going, okay, I'm trying to get there so I can have this amazing life where I'm happy. But the whole path there, you're just so miserable, like if you just stopped and been like, wait, am I actually happy right now? [TONI] Yes. What's interesting too is like, I don't even think, it's crazy because if you would've asked me then I would've told you I was and I think because I was so, I was, but that's the thing, I was so focused on the number or looking a certain way that I literally didn't care and I was so detached. This is also very common. I was so detached from anything that my body was feeling but looking back, I could see that I was extremely bloated all the time. There was one point in my journey that I just took, I kept cutting things out, cutting things out, cutting things out, cutting things out. There was one point where I was a gluten-free vegan, which I had like nothing to eat except for like, lots of fibrous food so I was bloated all the time. [TONI] So looking back now, I was like, oh my God, it was so, and now I could be like, wow, how did, and I was always hungry, not because of physically at that point it was more like orthorexia where I was like obsessed with healthy eating. So it wasn't that like calorically I was being deprived, but from a nutrient level and from a satisfaction level, I was definitely being deprived. So I was like always hungry. So it was always bloated, always hungry and somehow I thought that that was normal, which now I'm really satisfied after I eat a meal. I'm not constantly thinking about when am I going to have the next one, oh, I'm hungry again or like, it's not like that anymore. But in the moment, if you would've asked me if I was happy, I would've told you yes, which is interesting that we can lie to ourselves like that and play tricks on ourselves. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, you must have to in order to tolerate what you're doing because otherwise what are you doing [TONI] Exactly, exactly, exactly. I guess my tip for that for someone would be, because like I do have people, I think it's just that introspective work, it's like being honest with yourself and I think asking yourself questions like, do I even like this? That's one of the questions I have people ask in the book and also in my TED Talk. But not just asking it quickly, like if I wasn't doing this for the number on the scale, if I wasn't doing this to appease other people, if I was honest with myself, do I even like this? It's like taking it one step further rather than just answering in the moment because I think if we can lie to ourselves if we don't take that time to really ask the right questions. [DR. CRISTINA] I love what you said about I felt bad as you were talking, you're like this happy kid that was just living life and then other people were telling you almost, the message is like, well you shouldn't be happy because we're telling you we're judging you and you shouldn't be happy because of the way you look. That set you up it sounds like, for this journey of just trying to please other people so they'd like you or they would tell you no, okay, now you can be happy because we say it's okay. [TONI] You know what's so crazy, this is the part that why it's like almost, I'm not going to curse because I don't really like to curse, but like, I did want to give like a big F you to some people in my family because, so part of, I got teased from everyone, at school, family members, even through like social media, back then, it was like AOL, through instant messaging of people, trolls behind the internet. It was crazy. So I got it from all angles, but the one that I think obviously hurts the most is your family members. When I got older now, now fast forward many years later and I actually did end up losing weight because I more so just, it wasn't even intentional. I did, I just started to eat more balanced. I started to move my body in ways that I wanted to not, because I felt like forced to, like my body started to, ironically started to take shape and what it's meant to be versus like all these other things. I was hearing so many stories all the time when I actually started listening to it. So now, then there, so then there was one point that even though that was happening, I did end up taking it like a little bit too far. I'm not going to lie. I talk about it in my book. I ended up almost like getting caught back in now because now I was losing the weight and now I got like addicted to the weight loss. Even though I did it in a healthy way to start now it started becoming like, problematic. Anyways, I ended up probably being like the leanest I've ever been and I actually had family members say to me, ooh, you're getting too skinny, where it's like, for years I've been trying to prove myself as like someone to, because we are all curvy, we're Greek and Italian, we're just like curvy girls, whatever. But I was, yet, I was still for whatever reason, like it was not accepted. So then I got too "skinny" and it is just, what made me realize, like at first I was like F you and then second I was like, what the heck am I doing, what, who, why, what am I doing? Why do I care first of all, second of all, I get to decide what I look like, too big, no nothing. Everything is perfect because it is everything that I am trying to be meaning like we're nothing is perfect, but like it, me being, trying my best and just living in this world and trying to navigate all the things is enough. I don't need to prove myself any other way. It took a really long time for me to get there, but I can say that confidently now because once you actually get there and once you actually let go of this idea of needing to please other people, it's so freeing. It's so freeing that you can't go back because it's just like, you would never want to feel trapped like that, whether it be to a diet or to someone's opinion. You feel so free of it that like now, I couldn't even, half things I've done, I couldn't even do. I wouldn't do it if you paid me a million dollars. I really wouldn't. It's just not worth it to me. I really love who I am and everything that I do and I'm proud of myself and I don't need to prove it whether someone thinks it's too much or too little or whatever, I don't care. [DR. CRISTINA] No, I love that. I think that same thing. If I had to go back and do any of those eating disorder behaviors, I mean that's, I think one way you've recovered. Like you think about it and you're like, oh my gosh, no, that sounds like way exhausting and --- [TONI] It's so exhausting. I don't, I mean, and it explains why I ended up needing to, I had, I did so much damage to my metabolism and my gut, everything through dieting and the amount of fatigue I ended up getting as a result of like years and years of dieting, I basically had like chronic fatigue syndrome for like two years because I was in my recovery process. So it was like I finally let go of living on caffeine and adrenaline and this anxious mindset to allow, let myself just be and not try so freaking hard. But then it was like my body needed to recover for the years of me doing that. It was, and that's why you guys like, for those listening, recovery isn't easy but it is so worth it when you get to the other end. For some people it might take years to get there, like for me it took years to get there. I think once you get the right help and support, it obviously happens faster but just be patient because it is, one of the things I say a lot that I've read a lot of books, there's a book I even called The Messy Middle. It's that like, it gets messy in the middle, but it's eventually to be able to soar on the other end. [DR. CRISTINA] Yes because it can, and I work with lots of people too who are on that. I love that word messy middle. [TONI] The messy middle. [DR. CRISTINA] It's this tendency of really wanting to latch back onto all the eating disorder behaviors because it feels so icky. It's like scary. It's like, wait, is this going to get me to a better place or not because this feels very scary and very unsettling and very grounded and it's almost like this lack of trust in the process of this is going to get me to a life that's leading me to not thinking about food or exercise my body all the time. That seems unrealistic. Let me just go back and try to control everything again because that's what you were used to. That's what you know that feels "safer" but really it's that going back and forth all the time that keeps you from getting to the other side. [TONI] Yes, exactly, exactly. [DR. CRISTINA] Interesting, again, with like your dating life, so if you think back to the people you were in relationships with, is it the same thing? I can't even imagine being with somebody like that again. [TONI] So my first partner, yes and no and I'm always honest and open about this because he, I think it was, he was a good guy, just not my guy type of situation. The others, hmm, girl. [DR. CRISTINA] That was a noise. [TONI] Oh God, I don't know what I did. I don't know why. I literally can't even tell you. I can't, I ignored all the red flags. I made a bazillion excuses. I had so many chances to get out, both, the one guy cheated on me and I knew about it and somehow decided to forgive him, but like why because he continued to do it. The other one when he cheated on me, that's when we broke up but then he was, then looking back, I'm like, why did it take a breakup when someone, people told me he was still on all these apps. I had reasons to believe otherwise I just chose to look the other way. But yes, I have no idea. Actually I'll tell you why, so there's, this is what I talk about in the book and this is what, how we get stuck and this is how people get stuck in dieting. So the honeymoon phase is the best phase. The beginning, it's the love bomb phase in relationships, the honeymoon phase in dieting, is when like everything seems to be working and working really well and working really quickly and it's things are flowing and going. But the thing is like the honeymoon phase never lasts forever. There's always a time where it's a phase. It runs out. So the problem that I was, what I have in relationships is what people do with their nutrition is they spend years or months or years. For me it was years trying to relive the honeymoon phase, but forgetting that it's a phase for a reason, like a true relationship, something that's going to be sustainable in the long-term. Even when you're in love with someone, it's different than a honeymoon phase. It's like you love them because you're choosing to love them versus like, oh this is so fun and exciting and new. It's a completely different energy and as if type of feeling. What happens is people get stuck trying to relive the honeymoon phase so then they neglect the other parts of the relationship that really are not exciting or they make excuses and they just keep, well remember when he treated me like this? Remember when she retreated me like that? Remember when he did that, when she did that, and we start to make excuses. That's how we stay stuck. That's because we are no longer remembering the relationship for what it is now. We're focusing on what it was and it doesn't matter what it was. You need to focus on what it is now and where you want to go. [DR. CRISTINA] Exactly. I hear that from people all the time. I was like, well they're capable of that because that's how they treated me at one point in time. And I think there are messages when, especially if you are with somebody who's abusive, it's like, it's almost this thought of like, well you did something to make me change or it's your fault that I'm not treating you like that anymore. So the blame, I think the reason people stay, maybe you could tell me if I'm wrong, but it's this, if you already come in a people pleaser or with low self-esteem, it's almost this thing of like, I just need to try harder or I need to do something different. I need to say the right thing so that person comes back and every now and again you might get like a little, they might treat you that way for a day or two and you go, see I did something like I did something right. I said something right or it's like, okay, I did the right thing today. So then it's like you put it on yourself, like you are the one responsible to get that response or the reaction or that feeling back and when you don't get it's your fault. So you stay because it's not the other person that's creating the lack thereof or the problems in the relationship. It's you. So if you leave, it's almost that message of like, well if I leave it's my fault, so I'm not going to find anybody better because it's, I'm the damaged one, I'm the one that's at fault. So I think that gets perpetuated if you're with the wrong partner who plays into that and gives you the problem. [TONI] Yes, a hundred percent. And it's the same thing with nutrition plans. It's like something like, for example, like Weight Watchers or Noom or anything out there, Octavia, there's so much BS stuff out there that it's like, they're like one size fits all approaches and they're not really meant to work for the individual, especially not in the long run. But what ends up happening is the client or the patient, whoever ends up, they feel like the failure, they feel like it's their fault when really it just wasn't a good fit and it was never going to be a good fit. So you have like, don't beat yourself up about it and it has nothing to do with you. It's just, it wasn't, the program either wasn't even a good, so it could be this, it could be one of two things and I like to use the analogy with dating. So it could be the partner just wasn't a good partner, like not a good fit for you or the partner just like, is not a good person. So with nutrition plans, there are some that maybe just weren't a good fit for you. Maybe they're not like the worst thing in the world, but they're not and they're not great for you. But then there's some that are out there, like Octavia for example, I'm not even afraid to like call it out. It's so ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. It's completely toxic. So like, it was never designed to work for you, especially in the long run. That's the difference I think hopefully people can recognize. I do believe that everything, and this is what I talk about in the book too, like everything that you do, there's value in it if you choose to learn from it. I don't want to put anybody down if they've fallen into or tried something and felt, maybe I'm speaking to a program that you've tried and you keep thinking you're going back to it or maybe you're currently in it or whatever it is. But I just want you to know that like there's probably a lesson in it and that you can probably take components from it and then leave the rest. That's exactly why we date. We date around because, but yes, we are hoping to find the person we're going to marry after the first time but that's not usually how it works unless you're my cousin who's been with her partner since literally the seventh grade.. that's a rare crime. But most people like you date a few people before you find the one you want to marry. It's the same thing with dieting. Like, you may be tried a bunch of different programs and some might be toxic and completely terrible and just do more harm than good and it might take years to recover. Then there's others that maybe it's just like wasn't the best, not for me, don't blame yourself, just wasn't for you. But I like this recipe that I tried and you know what I actually, it was helpful for me to just check in with how my hunger was. That's great. Hopefully we're doing more of that. So it's like learning to take components and then with dating it's like understanding I liked this part in my partner, I didn't like this and my partner and getting clear more and more clear about what that looks like for you. [DR. CRISTINA] I think that's great because it's so true. So many people do blame themselves and I think that's what does lead to going back to trying another diet instead of going forward with recovery. It's like, well, it was my fault. I didn't have enough willpower. I didn't try hard enough. It's not that I have an eating disorder, I'm just failing a dieting, which I'm very candid about on the podcast. I thought that for years and years it wasn't an illness. It was me. It was my fault. I think a lot of people do get that message of like, well if you just ate less, if you exercised more, if you tried harder, no, that's not it. [TONI] Not it at all. [DR. CRISTINA] Same thing with relationships. If something's not feeling right, if it's feeling toxic or it's not feeling good don't always look in the mirror and say, well, it's me, like I'm always doing something wrong. I have to stick in it and try harder to please my partner. [TONI] In my book I talk about, there's two, usually two types of people, there's planters and bouncers. Planters are the people that try to beat a dead horse to life. That's the planter. It's like once they've decided that they want something or they want to be in a relationship with something or they're trying something and it's not working well, that's like a competition, like, oh, it's not working. Let me try harder and harder and harder and work harder. I'm a planter. I will like literally try something until it tells me you actually probably have to climb, like pull me out. Actually this is probably, I still probably have toxic trends in myself. My therapist the other day asked me, if your house was on fire, would you get out or try to put it out and I said, I'd try to put it out. That's how crazy I am. I think he was expecting a different response because it's like trying to prove a point and I'm like, nope, I would try to put it out. So I'm a planter. Then we have bouncers. Bouncers are like the second, any sort of discomfort comes in, they're out. That also isn't helpful either because sometimes in order to push through and get results, you have to be okay with a little bit of discomfort. Obviously, as we know, with all my answers, with every answer that I think, I think a clinician usually says is like, it depends and it's in the middle and that's it. Like, you need to take a little bit from the planters and a little bit from the bouncers and try stuff, but try it enough but don't try it too much. Then when there's resistance rather than giving up or just like pushing, pushing, get introspective. Ask yourself is it something that I could be doing more of, is it something that I can modify in this plan, is it something like I need to communicate with my partner and have a conversation about? There's usually something and then, I think the biggest telltale sign is that if what you're doing is worth putting in the effort or not is like, if you're making crazy sacrifices, it's probably, it's most likely not worth it. But there's a difference between sacrificing compromise and I think if you can, if there's a compromise that can be made and you feel comfortable with that compromise, then that actually might be a partnership or even a plan or something that is worth continuing to explore. But if it's creating like there's no give and take, it's like I'm putting all this and not getting anything back, well then that's not going to be something that's going to work for you in the long run. [DR. CRISTINA] I'm glad you brought that up because I think people do get confused, especially if they're like a planter, like you said, they don't know what a sacrifice is versus a compromise. They think okay, if I'm in a relationship, I have to compromise and really what they are doing is sacrificing so much of themselves. [TONI] Yes, a hundred percent, a hundred percent. [DR. CRISTINA] If anyone's listening going, wait, how do I know the difference, what would you tell them? [TONI] I would tell them are you getting anything in return? That's the main thing. Then also is what you're getting in return something you actually want? That too. But yes, most of the time you're making sacrifice where you're not, it's not getting, you're not getting anything in return. Well then that's a sacrifice and probably not something that you're going to want in the long, it's going to work in the long run. [DR. CRISTINA] Probably if you're just losing yourself or it's one thing to say like, okay, I'm going to not go to the club so much and spend more time on the weekends with my partner versus I'm never going to do anything I used to enjoy before I was with this person. [TONI] Yes, well, and I speak about that in the book as well. Obviously if you're no longer doing things that still fill up your cup or light you up, maybe you set passion projects that you feel you haven't been doing them anymore, maybe an example, I use the example in the book a lot from the Notebook actually, like how and oh my god, the main character, she loved to paint, she wasn't painting anymore. I don't know why I'm blanking on her name right now. I know her as Rachel McAdams, she's like one of my favorite actresses, but I forget her name in the actual, in the notebook. But anyways, in the movie The Notebook, in the book The Notebook, she ends up, she was madly in love with someone, but her family was, didn't want, kind of forbid it. Then she ends up falling in love later in life and it's actually like the guy, and this is a great example of like, sometimes on paper it could look great. So the guy was a great guy and they could have totally had a life together. At the same time for her, she wasn't painting anymore and she wasn't, there was something missing. She wasn't as happy as when she was with Noah. So it's just like that was a good example that, and I used it in my book Once Upon a Diet just to show if you are just, because like it is a "good fit," if you are no longer feeling like yourself or you don't even like yourself in that relationship, then that's probably not a good fit for you. [DR. CRISTINA] Well, I'm so glad you came here to draw the parallels because I have a feeling people listening going, wait a minute, let me sit back after this podcast and think about some things and I hope you spend some time and do some introspection like you said, even maybe journal and go, okay, what choices am I making? Am I happy in my relationships? What am I doing with my food? I think it's a good thing to do just to sit back and take stock of some things. If people listening want to maybe work with you or find your book or your TED Talk sometimes when they find you? [TONI] Yes, definitely. Well, the book is on Amazon. You can get the paperback eBook or audio version, it's called Once Upon a Diet. If you type in once Upon a Diet in YouTube, you can find the video as well for the TEDx Talk. Then in regards to working with myself or any of the dieticians on my team at this point, it's mostly working with one of my dieticians, although I oversee the whole process, you would go to So it's mostly we have our signature program. It's called the Six to One to Food Freedom program, where it's one-to-one where you learn how to break up with all the food rules, heal your relationship with food, your body, your mindset, and figure out what works best for you, not just in the short-term, but mostly for the long-term so that you don't have to diet it again. That's the main goal that we have for you. If that's something you'd be interested in, then definitely apply by going to And for just free content you can follow me on Instagram at Tips_with_Toni with an I. [DR. CRISTINA] Awesome. Toni, this has been such a pleasure. I really have enjoyed having you. Any final words before we end? [TONI] No. Just take time for yourself. Give yourself whether that's an hour, a week or five minutes a day. Whatever that means for you, take some alone time to journal, to be introspective, to ask yourself like, am I happy? Am I taking care of me? That's a big question. [DR. CRISTINA] Fantastic. Thank you so much. [TONI] Thank you. [DR. CRISTINA] This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.