Dieting Causes Stress Eating

thin person eats, while heavy woman diets

Dieting Causes Stress Eating

Dieting is a major cause for stress eating according to a study published in Physiology & Behavior. If you tend to gain weight under stress, you’re probably a “restrained” eater under normal circumstances.  That means for women who are constantly watching their weight, getting on the scale, avoiding “bad” or “fattening foods”, under stress the rules go out the window. So if you tend to have a diet mindset or are under stress, you’ll choose foods that you decide are off-limits like high-fat and high-sugar treats.

In contrast, it’s the opposite for “unrestrained” eaters, non dieters who are slender and just eat what they want, when they want and are not “watching their weight”. These people tend to eat less food when they’re under stress. It’s because they didn’t have a “bad foods” list- everything was allowed!

Why Some People Don’t Gain Weight

My friend Yolanda, the one who could eat more than a Sumo Wrestler ate cookies and snacks all the time. She never counted how many she ate. She just ate what she wanted. I sat by her and ate “rabbit food”. We were great friends from the time our girls were 3 years old. We played tennis together, exercised together (aerobics and step classes) and walked up hills together.  But there was a difference.

Old friends- Lianda & YolandaYolanda never gained weight! You can see she’s STILL thin (and her hair is even still red without coloring!!). But after every diet I regained the weight I lost and added a couple of additional pounds. Although I had “bad foods” when I was dieting, I ate everything- just a spoon full of ice-cream, or a cookie. I remember spitting out food unless it tasted good enough for me to “waste calories” eating something I didn’t love. Yes, I was disciplined!  But I STILL regained all the weight I lost until I got to the size I am in this photo, and stopped dieting completely.

The study went on to show that twice as many dieters eat from stress than non-dieters. Why don’t they have different stress reactions like having a drink instead? That’s because stress takes away inhibition and makes it much harder to be self disciplined. Thinner people probably who don’t drink for stress relief probably allowed themselves to have a drink when they wanted it. So it wasn’t on their “bad food” list. The things that you can restrain yourself from doing when life is good is no longer that easily controllable under stress.

For example, if you’ve been avoiding eating carbs or sugar most days, when something is really stressing you, you go right for those items. It’s even find it hard to stop eating them once you start. No, having one cookie is not enough, you have to finish the box. A dish of ice-cream won’t suffice- you have to eat the entire container!

Can’t Stop Eating

I was in my doctor’s office and chatting with one of the patients. When I told her I taught women how to manage stress eating she said- “That’s ME! I try to stop but I can’t!”

I looked at her and she was an average weight. She told me she used to model and really starve herself. But once she stopped that extreme low caloric eating she gained weight. She was terrified of gaining more and exercised by running 5 miles a day. It did nothing to bring her weight down. She said that now she has a lot of bad foods that she avoids and tries to stop stress eating but she can’t.

I explained to her that if everything was “allowed” the “bad foods” would lose their power over her. She got the point immediately. I explained to her that the foundation for stress eating is a diet mentality that comes from fear of getting fat.

Fear of Getting Fat

Our society is fat phobic. If there’s any epidemic it’s an epidemic of dieting. And if the diet industry and doctors told you the truth, they’d tell you that dieting causes eventual weight gain and there is NO DIET, NO LIFESTYLE CHANGE, NO ANYTHING that will make you lose weight and keep it off! Oh sure, having lap band surgery has a higher success rate, but do you know one of the side effects is ANAL LEAKAGE?? They tell you never to wear white pants. And I am NOT kidding! Do you think that’s a good trade for being thin? I sure don’t!

Since the time of the model Twiggy, the fashion has been to be overly thin. Don’t fall for this crap. So many of the women I counsel are normal weight and just living in fear of getting fat! It’s that FEAR that causes a focus and a stress reaction which can actually change your metabolism because of excess cortisol in your body. That creates belly fat.

We have to start accepting ourselves as we are, eating all foods and enjoy them. We should realize that exercise is enjoyable and do it because we WANT to, rather than the victim mentality of “have to exercise”. It’s time to realize that feeling good about ourselves is our RIGHT.

There are different body types of people all over the planet. Research is now showing that much of time the reason you gain weight is because of genetics – you probably look a lot like your family! For women, it’s so important to realize that we are more important for who we are than what we look like. Sure, it’s nice to be admired, but remember: if you are lucky enough to live a long life you are not going to look like a 30 year old your entire life. If you spend your time and money trying to achieve that look you are probably a pretty shallow person, and not very interesting to be around.

Love yourself NOW- just like your dog does (or if you don’t have a dog, imagine it!) old or young, thin or fat!

Love yourself unconditionally like your dog does




Lianda Ludwig, Stress and Weight Management coach

Mindful Eating is Not the Solution

What they don’t tell you about Mindful Eating

You’d think that Mindful Eating is the solution to all diet issues if you follow the news. Actually they tell you that Mindfulness is the answer. Well guess what? It’s NOT the solution to life or to dieting issues. Sure Mindfulness is a great practice that can help you relieve stress and dial down your perception of what bothers you. But that means you have to ignore your phone, your texting and everything else you are doing in the way of multi-tasking. You have to do one thing at a time. I think Americans (at least the ones I see around me in San Diego) are addicted to mutitasking- especially in the car when they are driving and texting at the same time. Sometimes these same people are also eating at the same time!

I was driving and found myself next to a woman in the next lane to me with a dog on her lap, coffee in her hand and the phone in her other hand. She was driving with her LEGS!! Where are the police when you need them?? Probably there’s not even a law against that (at least in Arizona, where this happened).

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is simple. It’s paying attention to JUST EATING: not reading, texting, watching TV, talking with others. It’s focusing on your food, enjoying your food, taking your time eating and chewing, and listening for when your stomach says you have had enough. Your brain can really only do one thing at a time, although we’ve been fooled to think that you can multi-task and do many things. Your brain actually cycles between paying attention to the different activities or thoughts you are performing, and in reality it takes longer, you make more mistakes and don’t do any of the things as well as if you did it alone! Then there are the misconceptions about what mindful eating actually does…. Problem 1: So many of the mindful eating gurus are thin that you might think that this is a new diet –

Mindful eating is NOT a diet. Some people lose weight, some people GAIN weight and some people stay the same while eating mindfully. If anyone tells you that you will lose weight eating mindfully, they are trying to sell you something and not telling the truth.

Problem 2: You can still be following a diet strategy while you’re eating mindfully. You can diet while eating mindfully, but it still will have a negative effect on your metabolism because dieting is stressful for your body.

Dieting alerts your body to the fact that it’s getting less food- and to prevent you from starving it AUTOMATICALLY slows down your metabolism, and makes you feel lazy to conserve calories! It also puts your body into a state of stress!  

Problem 3: If you are stressed, mindful eating goes out the window.

Mindful eating takes practice- just like meditating. In fact, mindful eating is a form of meditation- focusing on one thing at a time. So many people in the west say they “can’t” meditate. But the truth is, it takes time and practice to be able to maintain your mind’s focus. There are some days when you’re great at it, and others where it feels like it’s next to impossible! And paradoxically, the days when it’s hard are the days when you need it most: when you are under stress. As with learning any new task, it takes time and practice. Start slow- for just a few minutes. Build up to 5 minutes. But commit to do it EVERY DAY. At some point you’ll find it’s enjoyable and getting easier. And this mindful practice transfers to other aspects of your life. But without a stress relief practice, being able to stay mindful when you’re eating and preventing yourself from going into a stress eating session and binging is HARD!

Mindfulness and meditation teaches you will power. That is one of the most valuable assets you can have in all aspects of your life. It’s the ability to make a decision and stick with it. I don’t mean the kind of will power  to say “no” to dieting or eating a cookie or dessert (because I know that dieting doesn’t work in the long run). I mean being able to eat a cookie or two and NOT eat the entire box. Having will power means that even though you want to buy something outrageously expensive, that you can control your spending and not put yourself in debt. Having will power means that although the guy is incredibly handsome and coming on to you that you don’t cheat on your partner. Having will power means that your do the things you commit to! These are just some of the ways that having strong will power can improve in your life. Having will power means although something is stressing you out you don’t go directly to the refrigerator or panty to stuff your feelings with food. You can hold off and try an alternative to eating to calm yourself down. Having will power in your life can vastly improve your mood and even your sleep.

Stress Eating and Mindfulness

Mindful eating does not address the problems of stress eating! That’s why you need to have a go to method of dealing with stress- to STOP stress eating BEFORE it starts! If you get my report: “10 Powerful Solutions to STOP Stress Eating” you’ll be well on your way to preventing weight gain from emotional eating. Get it now and read it – and let me know your favorite and most effective method.

Healing from Stress

meditating man having his head examined by a doctor with a stethoscope

Can You Heal Yourself From Stress?

I am recovering from the worst back pain I’ve suffered in my life. I’ve actually had a challenging back my entire adult life- from when I was very thin to now when I’m not! I’m mostly an active person and LOVE playing tennis. I take great pride in my “pronated” and strong serve and can even “ace” men – even at my age.? I play on a tennis team.

But all that came to an abrupt halt after something gave way in my back. After an MRI, doctors reported that I had a herniated disc along with 3 other bulging discs and other not so great stuff going on in my back. Two out of 3 doctors told me I needed back surgery. It was FRIGHTENING along with the pain. Being afraid is stressful and actually worsened my condition. When I was finally  able to control my stress response is when I started healing!

Miracle Healing is NOT Woo-Woo

Healing comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s from the medication and treatment that your doctor prescribes. Other times, your doctor’s diagnosis can make you sicker and there are many documented cases where people who were misdiagnosed actually died from a disease they didn’t have!

What makes the difference? It’s belief in your ability to heal. And now there is scientific proof that your attitude, beliefs, intentions and prayers DO make a difference in your ability to heal from practically ANYTHING.

Let me tell you what happened to me… In the midst of this terrible pain, a friend arrived after attending a conference called Science and Spirituality. He was so excited about what happened in the conference. He was so kind and generous and bought me two books from the presenters. He didn’t even know how I was suffering at the time! But his timing was perfect. I jumped right into the book by Lynne McTaggart: “The Power of 8”.

Healing with The Power of 8

Synchronicity and Healing

As I read The Power of 8, I was amazed that I personally knew two important people written about in the book! I felt as if the book was talking to me. It seemed like synchroncity – The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. These kind of events happen a lot in our lives, but then you say it’s “just” coincidence… But what if it’s not? What if it’s truly a healing delivery system that is MEANT to show you that all things are possible?  And in my case, that’s what happened.

The Power of 8 accelerated my healing. My back is almost back to normal- but I plan to use these methods to get it BETTER than before. I definitely don’t ever want to have a similar experience.

And one of the most exciting things that I’ve learned from the book is that you have the ability in that group of 8 people to put out an “intentional ask” to the universe, God, or whatever your belief system is FOR OTHERS to heal! And there are documented effects that have been nothing short of miraculous! The icing on the cake is this: there is a rebound effect… so when you are putting your intention to help someone else, you too have a positive change in your life. If you’re not sick, it can change other aspects and improve them for you, just by helping others.

Controlling Stress and Your Weight

If you’ve read on this site, you’ll see that stress is one of the strongest contributing factor to weight gain. I’m encouraging you to use the Power of 8 intentions to help you control the stress and help you with your weight. I’d love to hear how it works for you. It’s not just as simple as asking…. but the book explains it all. You can also check out Lynne McTaggart’s website and read her other books as well. She is a well respected journalist who makes sure the evidence backs up any claims that people make.

Share Your Story

Sharing seems to be one of the strongest driving forces in The Power of  8 people to help people change their lives. I’ve been sharing information that I’ve been reading, and telling people: you HAVE TO read this book! You may be able to get it in the library – but it would definitely be worth it to purchase it for yourself and share it with a potential group that you establish.

Please write and let me know how it has worked for you!

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Miracle Weight Loss

Miracle Weight Loss Diet

Every day, you’ve probably seen some new “miracle weight loss diet” replete with before and after photos. But what you’re NOT seeing is “after” the “after” photos. That’s because for most people losing weight is not an issue. Sure you’ll get to a “plateau” – the place where your metabolism has slowed down so significantly that even the miracle weight loss diet is not working anymore. What you have to do at this point is eat even less, and they’ll also tell you in most cases that you need to exercise more.

The photo you are seeing is the BEFORE photo from a woman who is on an extreme miracle weight loss diet where she has limited her diet to meat and water. GAG ME! Can you imagine a life where every meal is meat and water? It sounds like some new Guantanamo eating plan.

Here’s her blog: I discovered Zero Carb/no plants diet…meat and water. Can’t say I love it, but I like it enough to continue. Cravings gone, no raging hunger every 2 hours, no bloating, no gas/farting, no craziness to create three ‘balanced’ meals a day…plus snacks, because meals weren’t enough. High blood pressure…gone. Temps staying up in normal high range without thyroid or any supplements. Excess fat loss is a breeze, edema I could not get rid of (it was getting scary)…gone. If I had a time lapse camera I could see how my body is changing daily from a lumpy 100 pounds overweight old lady to having a shape even with 80 pounds more to go. My pants fit better (down a size) than the last time I wore them when this weight/size. I can’t remember the weight I was exactly…it’s been a few years, but it almost seems I weighed less and was fluffier. No matter

After the after picture - when you regain the weight you lost

Guilt From Regaining Weight

You struggled and followed that diet EXACTLY. And maybe you reached your goal weight. You went into a maintenance diet mode- still “watching” what you ate. For 95% of dieters this can happen during your diet or 2 months to 2+ years after you finished the diet, the weight started creeping back. In the beginning you might have ignored it, being exhausted from the strict diet you were on. But at a certain point you realized that the weight WAS coming back! The fear and guilt is overwhelming!

Embarrassed To Show What Happened

You might have shown your before and after pictures on Facebook, Instagram and other social media and gotten so many positive comments and requests for what you did to lose the weight. But at this point you won’t answer anyone. You feel guilty and like a failure. And the diet industry is happy that you feel like that because they know that you blame yourself for the diet failure. They know that you’ll be back trying another diet.

Diet Revolving Door

Revolving-Door-of dieting causes disordered eatingThe bad news is if you try another diet after each diet failure, you will regain the weight, just like before. But the worst part is that each time you rebound and add additional weight from your starting point. And it’s NOT YOUR FAULT. In fact, it’s the sign of a healthy body following its primary directive to prevent you from starving by slowing your metabolism.

Unfortunately for us who have gained weight, the likelihood of losing and maintaining that weight loss is very small. Only 5% of dieters maintain their weight loss.

But there is a way that may increase your possibility of getting into that group. It’s by dealing with STRESS. Read more about it and figure out if you are a stress eater, or have body image issues that are stressful and damage your metabolism.

Stress Causes Weight Gain Two Ways

Much of the reason that diets fail has to do with Emotional Eating. That’s when you are eating from stress. But the other invisible way that stress causes weight gain is from actually changing your metabolism. Your body is responding to stress as though you were under attack. But you can learn how to turn off both ways that stress is affecting your weight.

Get control of stress now and prevent your weight from getting any higher. The other benefit is that this training affects all aspects of your life and makes you more resilient to stress and calm.

Contact me if you have any questions-

Learn to love yourself like your dog does- (even if you don’t have a dog, you’ve heard of unconditional love? that’s it!)

unconditional love from a dog whether you are skinny or fat






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Please share YOUR experiences with dieting- were you able to maintain your weight loss?

Addicted to Sugar?

thin woman eating sugar directly from a spoon

There is a great fear that people now have:

Am I Addicted to SUGAR??

Diet fads come and go. The most recent fads are being gluten free, and breaking “addiction” to sugar.

I’m here to tell you that you are just as addicted to sugar as you are addicted to BREATHING! NO, you are not addicted to sugar!  If you were TRULY addicted to sugar, why don’t you just go eat it straight out of a sugar bowl? Sure, it tastes good, and you enjoy eating things that are sweet. But those same things are generally in a package or combined with fat, and sometimes ALSO with salt. Hence the new fad of eating pretzels that are covered in chocolate- or salted chocolate products.

Sugar is a Stress Relief Food!

When you’re under stress, that’s the time when you reach for something sweet. It makes you feel good – it’s a treat. In fact, the first food that you eat as an infant is “mother’s milk”. The combination of sugar, fat and protein in human breast milk is very close to another food that women in particular have a hard time saying “no” to: ice cream!

Diet gurus are again into another one of their Diet Industry Lies scheme to make you feel powerless and out of control by telling you that you are an addict! Actual addiction is characterized by a continuous or an increased dependence for a particular substance in the body. Furthermore, it is accompanied by the experience of a physical withdrawl when someone stops using that substance.

This again shows you that you are not addicted to sugar. Yes, there is an emotional pleasure that is derived by eating sweet food. But there is not a physical addiction to sugar. You don’t go holding up banks because you need money for sugar!! Physically you may detect that you feel more lethargic when you stop eating sugar, but that’s probably because of a drop in your blood sugar which will level off over time.

Sugar is Brain Food

Your brain would not be fed adequately without glucose. In fact, thinking uses a higher amount of glucose than any other body part:

Glucose is virtually the sole fuel for the human brain, except during prolonged starvation. The brain lacks fuel stores and hence requires a continuous supply of glucose. It consumes about 120 g daily, which corresponds to an energy input of about 420 kcal (1760 kJ), accounting for some 60% of the utilization of glucose by the whole body in the resting state.

This is the opposite of your muscles which actually store glycogen. And glucose is the preferred fuel when you need burst of activity. In fact, your brain’s need will over ride the body’s need for glycogen. If you are walking up a steep hill and doing complicated mathematical computations, you will have to stop one or the other activity.

Restrictions Cause Cravings

The food you think you should eliminate because it’s a “bad food” according to the Diet Industry, is the very one you reach for when you’re stressed out. And this can actually  be for a few reasons. Your body NEEDS more sugar when you are stressed. It’s Mother Nature’s method to give a surge of energy to your muscles to escape a predator that could eat you. That means, if you are craving sugar, you are probably feeling stressed, and may not even be aware of it! Do stress relief immediately!

Another reason that you are craving sugar specifically is – because you restricted it. You only reach for the things that we don’t allow yourself – If you “allowed” yourself to eat sugar when you want it, it won’t be your food of choice  when you inhibition is lowered.

All Things In Moderation

Bottom line: you DO need sugars and carbs, just as you need protein and fat. If you want to be healthy and happy take the middle road- balance in all things. Don’t over do, don’t under-do. Do just enough – in all things.

When you are stressed and feel like you are out of control because you “need” a sugar fix it’s time for stress relief. I have a great program that helps you deal with stress eating so that you don’t  feel the need to stuff your feelings with food! You become more resilient and able to handle situations that would ordinarily make you reach for a candy bar or ice cream. Read about it, and see if it’s for you!

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Clean Your Plate Club? Are you a member?

a dinner plate after the meal was completely eaten.

Were you taught to “clean your plate” at meals?

Were you taught to clean your plate by your parents when you were a child? Those lessons, learned even before the age of 6 become part of your subconscious mindset. You may be over-eating in your present life because of your subconscious programming from your early childhood created by your parents.

When I saw this really funny Youtube video, I thought immediately about how this well-meaning father was conditioning a potential weight problem in his adorable son. Think about how so many parents do the same thing! REALLY: Do you think a baby would starve themselves to death by denying themselves food when they are hungry?

By forcing children to eat food, you are teaching them NOT to trust their own body’s signals of hunger/thirst/satiation/need for sleep. I know that as parents, you think that your child “needs” more food- but THEIR body knows best! It’s important for parents to realize (in most cases) that this is damaging, and not helping their young child. (The exception is when a child has developed an eating disorder- but that’s a different story – probably the result of a very stressful, humiliating event that you may not even know about.)

This video also points out the effect of multi-tasking that adults routinely do while eating a meal. Put on the TV, and you are mesmerized into eating everything in front of you. You forget that your stomach is sending you a message: “STOP EATING – You’ve had enough!

I recently had a comment from a reader who watched this Youtube video.

OMG yes- I am a card carrying member of the clean plate club.And hate it.
It is almost impossible for me not to finish food put in front of me, so the only way I ever lose weight was to size down the portions. But that was okay, my family’s portions were much too large! …Plus the way I coped with this as a kid was to leave the very tastiest bits for last, so I WANTED to finish all of it, even if I was full. I still have to consciously remind myself at every meal to eat the best bites first!

Learn from these examples:

  • Don’t multi-task while eating
  • Consider if you too, are a member of the “clean your plate” group – try to break through that conditioning with conscious eating
  • Don’t force food on others – especially if you are a parent!

You’ll feel so much better when you pay attention to and trust your body!



Are YOU a member of the Clean Your Plate Group? How has that effected your present weight? Please help others by sharing your comment below! 



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