Why I Gave Up On Diets And Started Listening To My Body

Listen to your body. Always.

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By Shani Jay

A few years ago, I detoxed for a week — not for dieting reasons, but to cleanse my body — and it was the worst week of my life. Not joking.

For the first 24 hours, I could not eat anything and could only drink water with a dash of lemon juice if I fancied spicing things up a bit.

It got to about 7 p.m., and my brother started chowing down on pizza and chips right in front of me, while LOLing in my face, of course. And at this point I was so hungry and weak I thought I might pass out just by getting up and diving for a slice of pizza.


Like I said, it really wasn’t a great time for me.

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I can’t even keep up with the latest fads in trying to drop a few pounds.

The caveman diet, the 5-2 diet, the juice diet... I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like a chilled fruity bevvy as much as the next girl, but is that all I’m gonna consume in the space of a week?


Nope. I’ll pass on that one, thanks.

Also, since when did we decide to make carbs the enemy? What is with the no carbs before Marbs, no carbs after 5 p.m., no carbs ever?!

Your body is a temple, and every temple needs carbs. If you have deprived yourself, I urge you to go and eat a big bowl of pasta right now. And enjoy it. Who gives a flying one? Audrey Hepburn lived off pasta and she looked fabulous all the time.

Unless you are seriously overweight and your life is in danger, you do not need to ever cut out anything completely from your diet.

If you want some cake, have some cake. If you want a doughnut, have a doughnut. Just don’t eat five in one go, and certainly don’t eat them every day, and you’ll be fine.


No need for guilty or secret eating. Your body will always tell you what it needs, it’s very clever like that. Your mind, on the other hand, is greedy, and will try to steer you off track.

If you listen to what your body is wanting, you will not go wrong.

As long as you are getting enough exercise each day, keeping yourself moving, and having a balanced diet, then there is no problem. Why are we letting the world make us think otherwise?

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I think I’ve just been particularly lucky in the way that my mum raised me, and having her set a great example of what a healthy relationship with food looks like.


She would never say things like, "I shouldn’t be eating this ice cream," or "It’s my cheat day," to justify eating a chocolate bar.

I don’t punish myself for eating something with a high fat or sugar content, and it really grates on me when I hear 90% of other women beating themselves up over a cookie. Seriously, it’s a cookie.

Aren’t there more pressing things to be thinking about and putting energy into than that damn cookie that is already long gone, and doesn’t care how big or small your guilt is? Definitely.

If you are trying to lose weight or tone up, then that’s great, as long as you’re doing it for you and not feeling pressured to do so by anyone else.

Up the workouts, keep the takeaway and glass of Pinot to maybe just one night a week, but don’t become one of those obsessive calorie counters who know how to sap all the fun from dinner plans with the girls, because there is nothing on the menu they are "allowed" apart from... water.


Screw that. That isn’t living.

So, there you have it ladies. You’re now all clued up on the “listen to your body” diet — the only diet you ever need to know about, because it is healthy, realistic, manageable, and has longevity.

And will also ensure you won’t ever be that girl eating cheeseburgers in secret at 1 a.m., because you’ve gone without them for six months, and your cheeseburger craving just exploded all over the place.


Listen to your body. Always.

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Shani Jay is an empowerment mentor, author of three books, and CEO & Founder of She Rose Revolution. Her work has been featured in She Rose Revolution, Thought Catalog, Medium, Zoosk, and Flo Health.