Founded by Mary Evans Young of Diet Breakers in England, International No Diet Day is an opportunity to challenge unhealthy attitudes towards food and encourage healthy lifestyles for all. But for people wanting to lose weight (or bulk up), dieting seems the obvious solution because either it’s what’s worked in the past or what they’ve been taught over the years. Plus, with pro-diet imagery and messages infiltrating our lives and flooding our Facebook feeds it’s hard to imagine how enjoying food can still get the results you want.

So, how can you free yourself from the dreaded yo-yo diet and still achieve results? We spoke to our experts who recommend the following three steps:

1. Get to know yourself better

The first step to an anti-diet lifestyle is to understand why you eat. Is it hunger, boredom or to satisfy another emotional need? A great way to do find out is to start a food journal and over a week or ten days record what you eat, including the times and how you felt before and after eating. By addressing the actual reasons for eating and understanding your triggers you can start to learn healthier ways to deal with emotions and maybe even start rewarding yourself with non-food rewards such as a much needed massage or night out with friends.

2. Consider food a friend, not the enemy

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and is there to be enjoyed. In Esther Blum’s book, Eat, Drink, And Be Gorgeous she discusses the importance of giving yourself permission to eat whatever you want. Whilst this may sound counterintuitive to a balanced approach to eating, it’s all about making sure you’re in control rather than allowing food to control you. “Suddenly the fear of ‘I’ll never be satisfied’ gets replaced with ‘That’s all I need for now and I can always have more,” Blum says.  “Similarly, when we allow ourselves to have anything in moderation, food begins to lose its power over us and we find those foods we always craved are no longer as irresistible.”

3. Variety is the spice of life

Dieters often lack important nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D which can lead to serious conditions like osteoporosis. Eating a variety of foods from each of the food groups helps maintain a healthy and interesting diet and provides a range of different nutrients to the body. Whilst we don’t advocate strict diet regimes, we do recommend a nutrient-rich and balanced approach to eating that follows the 80:20 philosophy. It’s impossible to expect anyone to eat perfect 100% of the time, and why would you want to when food can be such a soul-enriching social experience? “Striving for perfection is ultimately what leads people off course and they end up eating an entire block of chocolate or two!” says Pinnacle Coach Dave. “Aiming to eat healthy most of the time gives you permission to enjoy yourself at a party and it means you don’t have to obsess about every morsel that passes your lips.”

 *We offer no guarantee of specific results and results can vary.

*Results may vary. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss and/or muscle gain over an extended period of time.