New Year… New Cleanse, Detox, Diet?

If you guys have followed me for any period of time, you probably know I feel about dieting, or anything else along those lines like detoxes and cleanses.

I hate ’em with a passion.

I KNOW that none of those things work in the long term. It’s a colossal waste of time and energy to follow any sort of meal plan or diet, when you could be putting your energy into so much more amazing and exciting things!

I know that after Christmas most people (including myself) don’t feel their absolute best after lots of treats, wine and all that good stuff. BUT- step away from the scale. The average weight gain over the holidays is 1.5lbs. THIS IS NOTHING. WHY would your torture yourself with stepping on the scale? Here’s a better idea. Just get back into your regular routine (no need to add extra or change anything) and the weight will naturally adjust.

Guys, your body is a magical thing. It likes to stay in homeostasis. It will go back to where it was before when you get back to your regular routine! So, get back to your favourite workouts, and favourite meals, and drinks lots of water. This is the ONLY “detox” you will ever need.
The following is an excerpt from my Body, Mind & Soul Binder – in Week 1 we talk all about ditching the diets and I provide several studies showing you how pointless it is. Check it out! It’s a bit of reading but I highly encourage you checking out these studies if you need any convincing that dieting doesn’t work!

“Arthur Frank, medical director of the George Washington University Weight Management Program, reports that out of every 200 people who start a diet, only ten of them will successfully meet their weight-loss goals. Only ten of them! And the odds get significantly worse when you look at the long-term outcomes. Out of those ten people, only one of them will keep the weight off over time. ONE person. That’s a failure rate of 99.5%”

“A team of experts at UCLA analyzed every study that followed dieters over a two- to five-year period. Not some studies. Not most studies. Every single published, long-term dieting study was included. The results were published in the APA journal, American Psychologist. When interviewed about the findings, UCLA’s Tracy Mann said that the results of their data were conclusive: “Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss, or health benefits, for the majority of people.” She added that most people would be “better off not going on a diet at all. Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back.” Initially, she explained, many people lose five to ten percent of their body weight. But the majority of people regained any weight that they had lost. So, the exhaustive review of every published long-term dieting study—by one of the leading universities in the country—found that diets are ineffective for weight loss. And it gets worse! It turns out there is one outcome dieting consistently produces. Are you ready for it? Weight gain. Yes, you read that correctly. The data indicates that dieting consistently leads to weight gain. The UCLA team concluded that “one of the best predictors of weight gain over the four years was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started.”

“Not only are they ineffective for long-term weight loss (and make you heavier!), but studies also show that dieting leads to food obsession, emotional distress, and—wait for it—binge eating. That’s right. Dieting is scientifically proven to lead to binge eating. These far more insidious and long-term repercussions of dieting are best illustrated in what remains, to this day, the most definitive research on the subject: The Ancel Keys study.”

The Ancel Keys Study

“Dr. Ancel Keys became well known in the 1940s for introducing K rations. Around the end of World War II, he led the first scientific study of calorie restrictions at his laboratory at the University of Minnesota. He was contracted by the War Department, which was interested in establishing a minimum amount of daily rations necessary to nourish and rehabilitate those suffering from famine in war-torn Europe. He was trying to determine the most efficient rations. In other words, at its onset, Keys’ study had nothing to do with dieting.

Keys recruited four hundred men for his study. After a detailed screening, which involved rigorous psychological and physiological examinations by a team of doctors, the top thirty-six mentally and physically robust men were handpicked to participate. This elite group was chosen because they were the most psychologically and socially well-adjusted, active, good-humored, and motivated. And, just to ensure that the men were mentally and physically thriving—and that the initial exhaustive screening didn’t miss anything—the researchers followed the men for three months before the onset of the experiment.

Then, the study began.

The men were put on what was called a “semi-starvation diet” of around 1,600 calories a day. (Okay, I know you veteran dieters are out there thinking, 1,600 calories is semi-starvation? Are you kidding me? That’s what I eat on a bad day!) The participants, mostly U-Minn students, went on with their lives. At first, they noticed some physical changes. They complained of feeling cold, tired, and hungry. They had trouble concentrating. Some felt dizzy. Some had headaches. But these minor discomforts were nothing compared to the profound—and totally unexpected—psychological impact of restricting their diet.

Finding #1: Increased Preoccupation With Food

One of the first significant changes that emerged was a dramatic increase in their preoccupation with food. Suddenly the men were obsessed with food. They talked about it. They daydreamed about it. They began to develop elaborate rituals and rules associated with mealtimes. They’d spend an inordinate amount of time planning out what they would eat and how they would distribute their calories throughout the day. They started collecting cookbooks. We’re talking about young college men —guys with no previous unusual or particular interest in food—who are now spending every free moment ogling Good Housekeeping recipes. One of them collected over a hundred cookbooks during the course of the study. Another participant, who was interviewed years later about the study, recalled going to a movie and not even caring about the plot (or love scenes)—instead, he remembered noticing every time a character ate and every single thing they consumed. Another participant recalled that he couldn’t wait for the experiment to be over. It wasn’t because he was in physical discomfort. It was because the study “made food the most important thing in one’s life.”

In addition to the growing food fixation, the men began to demonstrate other disturbing changes in their relationship with food. One of the participants said he’d frequently go to the bakery, buy a large box of donuts, and not take a single bite. Instead, he would hand them out to children playing in the street—and watch, enraptured, as the kids devoured them. Initially, participants were allowed to chew gum, but Keys soon banned it when he realized some of the men were chewing up to forty packs a day. They began hoarding food. Sneaking food. Some even brought food into their beds at night.

These previously healthy men were suddenly completely obsessed with food.

Finding #2: Severe Emotional Distress

As the weeks passed, the psychological impact grew more serious. The men became tired and irritable. They lost their ambition. They began to feel inadequate. Which makes me incredibly sad, thinking of all the women who diet hoping that they’ll finally see themselves as “good enough”—when in reality, the tool they’re using actually intensifies their painful sense of inadequacy. They lost interest in their studies and their friends. They even lost their sense of humor. They became anxious, apathetic, and withdrawn. (Any of this sound familiar?) Their psych evaluations began to include findings of depression, hysteria, hypochondria, difficulty concentrating, and dramatic decreases in sex drive. The emotional distress these men experienced was so severe that two of them had stints in mental institutions, and one man even began to harm himself physically.

Finding #3: Bingeing and Self Reproach

Several of the men were unable to stick with the dietary restrictions. They weren’t on lockdown, so they had access throughout the day to food that wasn’t included in the study’s rations. Soon, these men reported they were bingeing on vast quantities of food—followed by severe episodes of self-reproach. (Painfully familiar!) One man reported eating multiple ice cream sundaes and chocolate malts. Then he stole some candy. Then he ate several raw rutabagas. Rutabagas. Really? (Okay, that one’s not so familiar.) He immediately confessed to the experimenters that he had broken the dietary rules, and then began to verbally beat up and defame himself in front of them.

Other men admitted sneaking scraps of food from garbage cans. One man “experienced serious difficulties when confronted with unlimited access to food. He repeatedly went through the cycle of eating tremendous quantities of food, becoming sick, and then starting all over again.” (Yes, I’m still talking about a study. Of men. Normal men. In the 1940s.) Some of the men actually quit the study, because the bingeing became so frequent they were unable to continue their restricted diets and remain within the confines of the study.

They grew profoundly self-critical. And, the next part blows my mind. These previously well-balanced men began to experience distorted body images, and reported feeling overweight, moody, emotional—and depressed.

Please tell me you’re at least starting to believe the problem isn’t you!

Going Back To Normal

When the experiment ended—just a few months later—the men were allowed to go back to eating normally. But these poor men’s eating was anything but normal. Their metabolism rate was decreased on average by 40% (common side effect of dieting). Many of the men had lost control of their appetites, and “ate more or less continuously.” One man reported eating enormous, five-or-six-thousand calorie meals—only to start snacking again an hour later. Another man ate so much the first day after the study ended that he had to be taken to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. And another consumed so much he threw up. On a public bus. They reported not being able to satisfy their psychological hunger no matter how much they ate.

One of the men expressed having an inability to satisfy his craving for food simply by filling his stomach—it was never enough. Oh, don’t you know that feeling? He went on what he called a year-long binge. He put on substantial weight. This man was perfectly healthy and had a normal relationship with food just months earlier. No longer were these the well-adjusted, good humored, motivated men that began this endeavor. Dieting had changed them—rendering them almost unrecognizable.

And this was a one-time experience—not an entire lifetime of dieting. How many of us started dieting in high school? Middle school? Today, girls are beginning to diet in elementary school. Here’s the kicker, this study could not be repeated today because the American Psychological Association would forbid it for the “unethical, inhumane treatment of subjects.” Keys himself admitted, when he was interviewed years later, that no other human experiment quite like it will ever be conducted again because, given what we know now, it would be seen as too cruel and life threatening. Does any of this sound familiar? Depression. Irritability. Food-obsession. An appetite that can’t be satisfied. All topped off by savagely beating yourself up when you break the rules. If there is one thing that we can learn from what these poor men went through, it is this: These are the natural results of dieting and food restriction.”

Excerpts from the book “Have your Cake & Skinny Jeans Too by Josie Spinardi. iBooks. 

My mission is to get all women to fall in LOVE with their bodies, mind & soul and never ever feel stressed around food again. I hope these studies can encourage you towards a more intuitive way of eating. Contact me for more details, I have 3 spots left in my upcoming January 15th Body, Mind & Soul Program.

Lot’s of love,

Tara Brunet 



When you think of the holidays and all the treats, chocolate, booze, and parties- how do you feel in regards to your body image and mental health?


From the messages I’ve been receiving lately I’ve been hearing that you’ve been feeling stressed, anxious, lazy, out of control with food, and generally just can’t wait for the holidays to be over to get back to your regular routine.

To this I want to scream NOOOOO!!!

I want you to feel STOKED on the holidays, empowered around food, working out to stay sane and balanced and overall excited about all the yummy & delicious food and holiday parties!

SO- How can we get you to that happy place? First is checking your THOUGHTS before you completely spiral into a pit of doom & gloom. If you are already thinking before hitting up that Christmas party that you are worried about over-eating, you want to avoid sugar, you feel icky in your cute little dress- well that is a recipe for disaster!

Before you go anywhere- check in with yourself. Are you feeding your mind negative thoughts about your appearance (for example: my hair is NOT working for me, this dress accentuates my stomach, and so on). You should be feeding your mind TONS of body positive, happy thoughts- so let’s flip that around to “Damn my make-up looks AWESOME, I love how my shoes go with this dress, I am going to rock the hell out of it and I can’t wait to visit with all my friends & family”. Stay in the positive! 

In regards to food- STAY NEUTRAL. All food is just that, FOOD. It doesn’t have the power you make you rapidly gain or lose 5lbs. By eating “junk” food you aren’t going to “un-do” any work in the gym. Food is food. Enjoy it or leave it. Stop over-thinking every single little calorie, fat gram, or carb! I think we need to take all the emotions and overthinking out- just simply recognize “Am I Hungry?” 

If the answer is yes: Well then eat up till you feel satisfied! If the answer is No, you don’t need to deprive yourself of that food, but perhaps check in with why you want it. Is it because it’s delicious and you only get it once a year? Is it because you are sad, angry, bored, emotional? Still give yourself all the freedom in the world to eat whatever you want- but know that food tastes so much better when you are hungry and not eating to just stuff away anxiety or feelings. (And that doesn’t work anyway!). 

I just wanted to share this because I do remember feeling stressed over the holidays and my body, photo’s, and all the jazz. I would sit at the table and thinking “Just fill up on salad, skip the stuffing, too many carbs! No you shouldn’t have another glass of wine, and you should skip dessert”. Then I would feel anxious about skipping dessert and everything looking at me and wondering why, while I also REALLY wanted dessert so sat there miserably watching everyone else enjoy it. Never once did I actually check in with what I wanted to eat, or how my body felt.

Now, it’s “Let’s eat that because it looks delicious! Oohh, that salad is amazing. I don’t want a huge slice of dessert because I want to have energy after this meal to socialize, not end up in a food coma! I love this wine, let’s have another glass.” And so on. It’s paying attention to my bodies wants and needs– not what I’m trying to force myself to do from a ridiculous dieting standpoint.

Basically, I want you all to say FUCK THIS when the negative voices get in your head about food. Respect and LOVE your body. Keep your thoughts positive around your body image. BE CONFIDENT. You have all the power in the world to choose the foods that make you feel happy, confident, and joyful! Get rid of all the STUPID food rules (forever) and please please just enjoy the holidays and your life.