• The First Step Towards Becoming Naturally ThinBreaking a cycle of pathological eating patterns is no easy task. There are many challenges for you and your body in this new approach to eating, but you are not alone. Everyone who wants to reclaim a healthy relationship with food is faced with these obstacles, and anyone who is … Read More 

  • Are Your Goals Too Small?– One extremely subtle kickback from dieting involves goals. Many people are uncomfortable with goal-setting. Goals are risky. They always involve potential failure. But goals are about who we are and what we believe in—our priorities. So there is something in us that keeps inspiring us to change, to reach out… Read More 

  • Eating Insanity – Based on the notion that calories, by themselves, (i. e. eating food) makes people fat, here’s a list of terms that would be appropriate for anyone following this type of approach: Sugar-free Calorie-free No-calorie Low-calorie Less filling More filling Low carb No carb High protein Extra high protein No-fat Low-fat … Read More 

  • What Recovery From Dieting Looks Like – I have confidence in those who earnestly decide to break away from dieting and all its physical and psychological destruction and put these principles to the test. I believe in them. I believe that, as they take all the determination and will power they’ve used as dieters and apply these … Read More 

  • The Very Best Appetite Suppressant—What? – In our mad quest to get around our hunger, we’ve developed and manufactured and discovered hundreds of appetite suppressants. These various products and methods of curtailing or eliminating our appetites is wildly popular because of the rampant belief that hunger is the enemy of weight loss. But just like the … Read More 

  • Carbohydrate (Sugar) Addiction– Now here’s a theory that really packs some logic! What do people binge on? Steak? Chicken? Fish? Vegetables? Fruits? Hardly. Although vegetables are mostly carbs, dieters usually do not crave or binge on them. It isn’t really practical because, pound for pound, vegetables don’t fill you up before you get … Read More 

  • “Food Addiction” ExposedSome people sure act like food addicts. Maybe you’re one of those who’ve earned the diagnosis. But, recall the research with starved normal weight volunteers that showed that these thin individuals experienced total preoccupation with food as well as other symptoms typically experienced by dieters, like cravings for fat producing … Read More 

  • How Bodies Fight Dieters and Win Every TimeAs soon as a dieter begins to cut down on her portions or eliminate food groups or start a juice fast or eliminate fat from her diet, her body goes to work to conserve energy (calories) and promote eating more and more calorie-dense foods. These adaptations are not psychological or … Read More 

  • The Important Role of Fat for Your BodyThere are reasons, very real reasons—good reasons—that fat is there, on your abdomen, thighs, arms, neck—everywhere extra padding will fit. This information may help you feel a little better about yourself. Here are the things that fat does for your body that you’ve probably never heard about: Body Fat: 1. … Read More 

  • Is “Emotional Overeating” Really Emotional?Primary overeating, like primary or essential hypertension, from which I borrowed the term, does not exist. Primary overeating—overeating in and of itself without an underlying physical cause—does not occur. There is always a reason for overeating or people wouldn’t do it, and the causative factor is almost always physical, although … Read More 

  • Do You Have a Defective Body or Just a Defective Diet?If you’re on a typical diet to lose weight, your body is working hard to adapt to the limited food supply you are providing. There are five ways your body adapts to your under eating: appetite increases, at least intermittently, to promote make-up eating metabolism decreases to conserve calories to … Read More 

  • Taming the Sweet (and Junk Food) ToothSome parents say their kids simply can’t do without sweets because their cravings are so strong. Their kids prefer sweets so much of the time; these parents are convinced that there is something about sweets and junk food their children need. They could be right. Children and adolescents who don’t … Read More 

  • Simple Steps to Improving Your Kids’ Food QualityA mother of four raised her hand at my seminar and asked me how she could get her kids to stop eating so many cookies. She was serious. I suggested that she stop buying cookies. “You mean, don’t have any cookies at all?” “Yes,” I replied. “Well, I couldn’t do … Read More 

  • Enemies of A Successful DietIf you’re trying to lose weight by dieting, watch out for these three stumbling blocks. They’ll trip you up sooner or later, and your diet—all that pain and effort—will surely go to waist. Diet Enemy #1: Excessive Hunger Excessive hunger is not a normal state. It precipitates such symptoms as … Read More 

  • Feast or Famine: The Vicious Cycle Behind Eating ProblemsA Method in the Madness -The symptoms associated with eating and weight problems follow definite patterns. These sometimes confusing symptoms make a lot more sense when you look at them in relationship to one another. And recognizing these relationships can speed your (and your child’s) progress toward normal eating. In … Read More 

  • Listen Up! Your Body Is Trying to Talk to YouBody Signals The term body language refers to a physical communication system which aids, and sometimes contradicts, what you say. It includes gesture, posture, facial expression, and vocal resonance and pitch. Body signals, on the other hand, do not involve communication between people (interpersonal) but rather communication within one person … Read More

  • Body-Controlled EatingHelp your kids stay tuned in to their bodies In order for kids to avoid the Feast or Famine Cycle (pattern of under eating and over eating) and all the eating and potential weight struggles it brings, they must stay attuned to their natural eating instincts and remain “body-controlled” in … Read More

  • Are You Infecting Your Kids With Your Food Hang-Ups?Childhood obesity is growing to epidemic proportions in the United States. Maybe it’s because of the messages we’re sending to our children. What We Believe Our whole culture has become convinced that weight problems are simply a result of eating too much food and exercising too little. And we are … Read More

  • What Has Going Hungry Got to Do with Gaining Weight?It seems an unlikely association at first glance—going without food now and then, and packing on pounds later on. But these two apparent opposites really do go together, and the fact that they appear so contradictory is exactly what keeps this combination so prevalent. We think going hungry is good … Read More 

  • How Teens Eat—And What You Can Do About ItYou might be thinking, there is nothing I can do with my teens. They eat their own peculiar way and there is no influencing them. How can I possibly affect their eating habits? Carefully, that’s how. Because teenagers, and especially girls, are so vulnerable to eating disorders and unhealthy eating … Read More 

  • The Genetic Influence in Weight ProblemsEvery individual kid is unique. It is foolish, even dangerous, to ignore this important fact, especially regarding nutritional needs. Sure, there are patterns in development, patterns in eating behavior, and general principles of growth, personality, and socialization. But here we will focus on the physical and physiological uniqueness of kids. … Read More 

  • Healthy Lunchbox Tips For Overweight KidsThe 5 principles to follow in packing healthy lunchboxes for kids struggling with weight are simple, but don’t be deceived, they are crucial to ensuring that these kids don’t gain even more excess weight. The number one goal is to get plenty of high-quality calories into hungry kids so that … Read More 



The Real Reason Diets Don’t Work & What You Need to Do to Achieve Permanent Weight Loss

Q & A with Jean Antonello, RN, BSN

Q: You say that dieting does not work.

Diets don’t work. Statistically, 95% of dieters gain all the weight they lose within two to five years. In fact, dieting sets you up to gain weight.

Q: Why doesn’t dieting work?

Dieting puts individuals into a Feast and Famine cycle. We have been told that overeating or feasting is the main problem in eating and weight struggles. So we have spent 50 years trying to fix the overeating, trying to get people to eat less, to control their eating, to stop overeating. But we haven’t been very successful because feasts are triggered by famines. The famines come first and it’s the famines that must be fixed to stop the Cycle. The feasts, I have found, stop quietly as a result.

Q: What is the underlying root of all eating disturbances?

Regardless of body size and peculiar type of eating struggle, the underlying root of all eating disturbances, with rare exception, is the same—under-eating or putting our bodies into “famine.” (Under-eating includes delaying eating, eating too little food, eating long after hunger signals are felt, missing meals, eating poor quality food, and ignoring hunger.) 

Q: Please explain more about the Feast and Famine Cycle and how it is associated with weight control problems.

There is one fundamental pattern of eating disturbance that flows from the underlying root of all eating problems. This pattern is a cycle that applies to any kind of eating disturbance including a tendency to overeat, compulsive overeating, carbohydrate and sweets cravings and “addictions”, “food addiction” in general, and bulimia which does not involve purging. I call the cycle associated with eating disorders and weight control problems the Feast or Famine Cycle. This Cycle, or some variation of it, illustrates the universal pattern experienced by people with eating problems and pathological relationships with food. It also applies to dieters and informal under-eaters, regardless of the degree of their eating disturbance. Whether symptoms are mild or severe, the patterns are the same.

Q: Tell us a little about your own story and how you came up with your Naturally Thin® approach to weight management.

I struggled with my own weight and was trapped in the yo-yo diet cycle for 17 years before I discovered that I was fighting a war against my body I could not win.  Desperate to find lasting weight loss, I turned to my nursing education for a solution. The fundamentals I learned there helped me see dieting from a new perspective—as threat to my survival. Armed with these new insights, I began to cooperate with her body instead of battling it, and finally lost weight for good (50 pounds), which I have kept off for over 30 years. Knowing countless others had tried and failed as I had, I embarked on a mission to share my discoveries with frustrated dieters everywhere, and I have been coaching and writing about my Naturally Thin® principles since 1989. My first book How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More sold over a quarter million copies, and I received feedback from so many people that my approach was working for them. My new book Naturally Thin: Lasting Weight Loss without Dieting has the latest information about my approach, which is based upon the biological principles of adaptation. In fact, new research has been validating my approach and this was discussed in a recent cover story in TIME Magazine (June 5, 2017) by Alexandra Sifferlin titled THE WEIGHT LOSS TRAP.

Q: So what can a person do to lose weight and keep it off, and better yet, not gain it in the first place?

Most adults (70%) in America are actually overweight, and being overweight not only affects our appearance, it can greatly impact our health as well. So weight loss is of great concern to most people. And we are also seeing an increase in childhood obesity, and my third book Naturally Thin Kids addresses the issue of patterns of eating that gets kids in trouble. Recent statistics suggest that one in four children between six and seventeen is overweight. Some say one in three.

The same principles for weight control apply for adults and kids.  You cannot ignore hunger. You must eat enough quality food. You have to stay tuned into your body. You have to eat good food on time. You must avoid getting into the Feast and Famine Cycle by not creating what your body sees as a famine. We think going hungry is good for us. We think we must tolerate it in order to keep our weight under control. We are a nation of people trying, at least some of the time, to consciously avoid food when we are hungry, whether we are actually dieting or not. 

But the fact is, unless we start to recognize that regularly going hungry, for any reason, almost invariably goes with weight struggles, we are in for more of what we already have—rising rates of bulging waistlines.

The bottom line: obesity is a positive adaptive response to an environment where food is intermittently restricted. In other words, the accumulation of excess fat on human bodies is actually a good thing, supporting life. If you think about the role of fat in survival, it is really just stored food to keep bodies alive during famines. So, what kinds of bodies need to store food? Bodies that don’t get enough food when they need it, bodies that go through famine at times. So famines (going hungry) stimulate bodies to store fat to protect against future famines. And there you have it—going hungry and gaining weight.

Q: Tell us more about how we can help our kids with weight issues.

Naturally Thin Kids focuses on when kids eat--kids eating good food at the right time. This “timing” piece makes all the difference in preventing, and even treatment of, eating and weight problems in kids. The simplistic approach of other books on kids’ weight problems—exercise more and eat a lower fat diet—is not only doomed to fail for most kids, but it actually contributes to unhealthy eating patterns and weight problems! The low-fat diet/exercise bandwagon simply can’t accomplish the goals of getting kids to eat well or move around more in the long run because "timing"—kids eating enough good food at the right time—is ignored. This vital principle, missing in the traditional diet approach, is the key to lasting success for kids and adults who want to eat normally and maintain a healthy body weight. Timing is the key to kids' natural leanness. 

Understanding this fact will enable you to confidently help your kids develop healthful eating habits. This insight, along with some nutrition information, will help you know how to handle each situation that comes up with your child because these unchanging guidelines spring from simple physiology. 


Jean Antonello’s  NATURALLY THIN® Books Have Been Featured in Oprah Magazine & Readers Digest

Diets don’t work. Statistically, 95% of dieters regain all the weight they lose within 2 to 5 years.––This sequel to the international bestseller How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More shares the latest information about the Naturally Thin® program (based upon the scientific principle of adaptation) that for three decades has been helping individuals achieve lasting weight loss without the pain and struggle of chronic dieting. It answers such questions as: (1) Why can’t I keep the weight off after dieting? (2) Why do I binge and crave foods I know are bad for me? (3) Is there a way to avoid rebound weight gain? The book also explains how dieting (and accidental under eating) contribute to eating problems and weight gain. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Obesity and eating disorders specialist Jean Antonello, RN, BSN, was trapped in the yo-yo diet cycle for seventeen years before she discovered a startling fact: She was fighting a war against her body she could not win. Desperate to find lasting weight loss, she turned to her nursing education for a solution.The fundamentals she learned there helped her see dieting from a new perspective—as a threat to her survival. Armed with these new insights, Jean began to cooperate with her body instead of battling it, and finally lost weight for good. Knowing countless others had tried and failed as she had, Jean embarked on a mission to share her discoveries with frustrated dieters everywhere. She has been coaching and writing about her Naturally Thin® principles since 1990, with four books on the subject: (1) How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More; (2) Breaking Out of Food Jail; (3) Naturally Thin Kids; and (4) Naturally Thin: Lasting Weight Loss without Dieting • ©Jean Antonello 2018 • Heartland Book Company • website by Joan Holman Productions