The REAL reason I gave up dieting


image: Marie Guagliardo Photography

I vividly remember screaming at her from the front seat of the car. I can’t even remember what it was about. I was just so angry-- hangry, really. I remember shaking as we left the parking lot and began to drive away. The car was silent. I don’t remember where we were going, I just remember in that moment, feeling like the WORST mommy in the world. And I wish I could tell you that never happened again. We all get angry-- there’s no shame in that, and I definitely never screamed at her like that, again, but I was angry ALL the time during that phase. I was constantly hungry and never satisfied. Yet, I was so consumed with changing my body that I ignored the blatant flashing signs in front of me urging me to stop. To take a look around, look my daughter in the eye and remember why I wanted to be healthy in the first place. This was beyond health. This had turned into a preoccupation, an obsession with my body-- with changing my body-- with being unsatisfied with my God-given form so much that I would do ANYTHING to change it. Eating so little I would fall asleep sitting and playing with my kid. Yelling at her for next to no reason because my body simply couldn’t take the stress any longer. Working out beyond the point of exhaustion and refusing to take extra rest days because I NEEDED to know I was ‘getting stronger’. Tracking every morsel I ate because I had lost every ounce of trust in my body.


Jumping onto each and every latest fad and supplement to try and boost my health and energy.


Ignoring the fact that my preoccuption with my body was affecting my motherhood, my marriage, my life.


I know I’m the extreme. But I know there are many of you out there reading this and cringeing because you know what I’m talking about.


How many of us become so consumed with changing our body that we lose sight of the big picture? The big picture, of living our lives to the FULLEST, of FULfilling God’s call for our lives. This doesn’t mean setting health aside-- it means letting our health remain important but not become THE most important thing above the most important things in our lives.



For me, that is God, my marriage, my children and then my work. My health is crucial because maintaining my health and my energy means I can be a better wife, mother and purposeful follower of God. Maintaining my health means I can DO the best and BE the best version of myself.


The problem lies in how we define health for ourselves. True health does not come from obsessively measuring our bodies as a measure of our worth, poring over ingredients labels and squeezing in extra sessions at the gym at the sake of spending time with our friends, family and God.


The problem lies in how we define health for ourselves. True health does not come from obsessively measuring our bodies as a measure of our worth, poring over ingredients labels and squeezing in extra sessions at the gym at the sake of spending time with our friends, family and God.

But how often do we become lost in the numbers? Lost in the tracking, of our weight, our food, our workouts, our pants size; minutes turning into hours of our days, our lives-- ignoring what true health is about. Holistic health. Hol = whole. WHOLE life. Eating well and moving our bodies are only two small parts of our health, and they make a big impact-- but they make just as big of an impact when we take them to the extreme and let them become idols we focus on over the other things in our lives.

I believe as mothers, we have the unique and important gift of influencing our children. We are raising the next generation of nourished, intuitive eaters. The future starts with us.


The moment for me came, three years ago when on Easter morning I invited my family over for breakfast and couldn’t eat a bite of what I had created or served because I was on a diet. Of course, I didn’t think it was a diet-- I was preparing for a fitness competition, the epitome of health, right?! Hindsight is always so clear.


I sat there and stayed strong, while my daughter ate her food and asked why mommy wasn’t eating breakfast, too. It wasn’t the example I wanted to set for my daughter. It wasn’t the life I wanted to lead or the family I wanted to raise. I want my daughters to see a mom who exemplifies a balanced healthy life-- who chooses the kale salad when it feels good but also bakes cookies with her on a rainy day. Who shares about the importance of keeping our bodies strong and fueled but not at the expense of living our lives and following our calling.


Because whether we believe it or not, our children will follow our example. If we diet to change our bodies, they WILL see the example we set that if they think their body isn’t good enough, restricting and moving will make them better. We can tell them all day long their bodies are perfect but if we show them that we think ours are imperfect- that somehow our Creator made us wrong, they’ll start to question their own. If you eat differently than they do at dinner they will ask questions. How will you answer those questions? How do you want to set an example for your children? The real reason I stopped dieting? Not because I wanted food freedom for myself, but because I wanted food freedom for THEM. And each and every day I make choices to improve my health and my relationship with food I am reminded that the work I am doing is to set the best example for them of what living a healthy, happy, whole life looks like.


My food freedom means freedom to live my best, healthiest life for those around me and to fulfill my calling to create change in this world and inspire women to live in freedom- from food, from their past mistakes and shame, from obsessing over their bodies, from feeling like their worth is in a number on the scale or a size on the rack.


My food freedom means I am free to find my healthy balance without rules or restrictions and enjoy kale as much as I enjoy a big scoop of cookie dough ice cream and let my children see that there is nothing wrong with that. There is no right or wrong way to eat in YOUR beautiful balance and there is no penance to be paid for living your life.

The real reason I gave up dieting? Because giving up dieting meant I was finally free to be me. Healthy, happy, whole- and THAT is the woman I want my daughters to see.


I created the Supermama Society as a safe space for moms to learn about nourishing themselves and their families, without ever feeling pressured to change their bodies or go on another diet- ever again. It launches May 10th. Learn more + get early access by signing up for my email list, today.





Header photo: Marie Guagliardo Photography

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© 2020 Kristin Rugg Dovbniak for Healthy Mama Kris. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use

Headshots Marie Guagliardo Photography & Sarah Zollo Portraits