Ditching Dieting

The Ditching Dieting campaign aimed to expose the role of the diet industry in destabilising peoples’ appetites and desires. We believe that eating disorders and the so-called ‘ob*sity epidemic’ are merely more visible extremes of a much bigger, everyday phenomena: that we are accepting fear and hatred of our own bodies like gravity, that we are accepting ‘I am not good enough’ as a fact. We are constantly swamped with headlines announcing an ob*sity crisis and we have seen news stories with the message that children may be taken away from their parents if the kids’ BMIs are deemed too high. This ‘crisis’ is constructed from research funded by the industries that can make money from it, such as pharmaceutical and diet industries.


Dieting sounds sensible – it’s a way of looking after our health, right? We have all come to believe it and the government encourages us to watch our weight and our food intake and exercise and eat well.

However, diets don’t work in the long-term. 95% of people who lose weight on diets put that weight back on, and more, within five years. Diet clubs such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World position themselves as a ‘lifestyle’, advocating a ‘balanced diet’. But, they are a business – part of the weight loss industry that, according to the ‘Global Weight Loss Products and Services Market 2021-2026’ report, is worth $254.9 billion in 2021. Their profits rely on people failing on diets and returning again and again. If diets worked, you’d only need to do them once.


University of California researcher Traci Mann and her co-authors conducted the most comprehensive and rigorous analysis of diet studies, she says:

“We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.”

Read a summary of the study

Read the whole paper

Dieting teaches us nothing about appetite, about what our body needs, about how to satisfy hunger, about what foods work for us. Not only that, it makes us miserable, negatively impacts our self-esteem, and sets us up for a life-time of yo-yo dieting, which is so harmful to our mental and physical health. We’ve linked more key studies on this in our resources section


Listening to your hunger and feeding it with the foods that you really like and really paying attention to every mouthful while you are eating, gives the most reliable guide to stopping eating when you are full. This intuitive eating – eating the foods you enjoy only when you are hungry (and only those) and stopping when you are full – will rebalance your metabolism and make your body work efficiently.

As part of this campaign we hosted a variety of SpeakOut sessions and discussed the following:
• What does the word ‘diet’ mean to you?
• What did you hope would happen as a result of your dieting?
• What effect has dieting had on your life?
• Do you feel guilty when you aren’t dieting or restricting your food in some way?
• Have you ever had a carefree time of eating?
• Can you imagine making peace with your body?

We welcome the continuation of these conversations.

Join our mission to ditch diet culture

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