Why do diets often leave you so much worse off than when you started them? Why do people often end up gaining more weight after dieting? How can you truly make a healthy difference in your life - without dieting? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks with the Don't Diet Dietician, Lauren Dorman, about why diets are rigged to fail.


A Registered Dietitian, Lauren Dorman is a Nutrition Therapist who has 20 + years of experience working alongside children and adults struggling with body image and self-esteem, as well as disordered and emotional eating. Lauren owns the company Don’t Diet Dietitian, through which she offers both individual and group counseling. In addition, she enjoys speaking regularly at schools and developed the Students, Dont Diet program.

Lauren’s mission is to improve clients’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being.  She believes everyone deserves access to a Registered Dietitian – an expert in nutrition science who can help navigate nutrition misinformation, teach sustainable health habits, and focus on a self-care behavioral approach toward healing one’s relationship with food, mind, and body.

Visit Don't Diet Dietitian and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


  • Diets don’t work
  • Why do diets stress out your body?
  • Common symptoms of dieting
  • Teach your kids that food is just food

Diets don’t work

It’s plain and simple; diets don’t work - for the vast majority of people. And it’s not because the minority works harder than the majority, but it is because they aren’t running on a dysregulated nervous system. Most people in the world are making choices about themselves and their lives from a place of dysregulation, stress, and trauma. All these aspects push people toward quick fixes that are not sustainable or truly effective, like diets.
You could want to do something, but your nervous system, wiring, and your programming and your subconscious beliefs might hold you back from actually moving forward in your life. (Lauren Dorman)
Two different people could be given the same plan and they would have different results because they have different mindsets, body types, coping mechanisms, and so much more. It’s a huge gamble and one that doesn’t pay off.
Anybody could have a plan in front of them … But is it realistic, sustainable, or flexible? And also, do you [already] feel confident and joyful and comfortable? (Lauren Dorman)
Your intention is important. If you want to prioritize building a healthy relationship with yourself, your body, and food, then it will require you to address your subconscious beliefs. If you intend to quickly lose some weight, then you will almost certainly put it back on, because it’s not a sustainable approach.
The reality is that the more short-term things we do over time [they cause] harm our health and stress out our bodies. (Lauren Dorman)
Diets don’t work because they have to fail to keep the diet industry running. They are not going to last because otherwise, you wouldn’t keep buying back into the industry. Remember that! Caring for your body means that they cannot profit from your discomfort.

Why do diets stress out your body?

Even a theoretically “healthy” diet will stress you and your body out if you are constantly thinking about the food. If you have to do things like measure, weigh, or portion out your food as well according to the diet, it adds another layer of stress, and discomfort, and adds a scope that people often use to punish or shame themselves.
If you’re finding that you have a low mood, low energy, easily distracted, fatigued and … you’re not making good decisions, [you’re] easily frustrated or irritated, that’s now affecting your emotional and mental health and [therefore] your relationship with that [diet] plan. (Lauren Dorman)
Additionally, your diet doesn’t know your body - it can’t tell if you are menstruating, had a big workout, slept poorly, or need a bit more energy; only you know that. Only you can understand those signals and take care of your body. If you ignore those signals that your body sends you just to succeed at the diet plan means that you risk your body’s health.

Common symptoms of dieting

People who diet will almost always regain the weight that they lose through the diet because of the simple fact that a diet causes short-term changes. Common side effects of dieting include:
  • Weight gain
  • Increased stress
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • An obsession with food
  • The risk of developing disordered eating habits
70% of our body size is genetic, so we’re basically lied to [by] these programs and companies that focus solely on weight loss. So what I do is I focus on a process, a journey, a framework, a day-to-day [because] when you focus less on an outcome or that long-term goal, you become less overwhelmed in your life and you take things step by step. (Lauren Dorman)

Teach your kids that food is just food

Food has no moral value. You are not a bad person for eating something sweet, and you are not good for saying “no” when someone offers you a piece of something that you want. Sure, some foods are more nutrient-dense than others, but there is no need to put moral codes on them. Keeping certain foods away from your kids makes them crave and obsess over them more. One of the best things that you can do for your child is to teach them to listen to their hunger cues, eat a wide variety of different foods, and enjoy a sweet thing as well. Additionally, when kids are not obsessing over the dessert at the end, they may end up enjoying their vegetables more.
I hope that many parents are now learning to put the cookie or the MnM … next to their dinner if they feel comfortable … You’re literally putting a cookie next to broccoli … and that child is growing up with no moral value [attached] to food. (Lauren Dorman)
As a parent, don’t praise your kids for eating vegetables or fruits.



  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!


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