The Best Diet in the World – Robyn Cruze

National Recovery Advocate and online community manager for Eating Recovery Center Robyn Cruze shares how she doesn't diet while in recovery from her eating disorder. In fact, she discourages diets for most eating disorder patients.

The word "diet" conjures up hope for many of us, but an actual diet, in and of itself, is equivalent to a dodgy salesman: in a white suit and a leopard-print tie, he sells you candy-flavored water that he promises as a magic cure.

Unfortunately, the magic cure doesn't exist […sigh].

I spent so many years following diets. When I was in eating disorder behavior (full disclosure here), I relied on a new diet to start the recovery process over.

Dieting and finding the perfect diet was my life. And I chose each diet in the hope that it would be the end to all diets.

As I binged, I had the diet, and the shopping list for it, open to the pages of the magazine or my journal (with additional notes and amendments to the new diet in question; often I needed to be a certain size at a certain time, so edits were required). I glanced at the pages with hope as I shoveled food in my mouth.

For the first couple of days, maybe even six days (oh, who am I kidding, three if I was super lucky or dating someone), the diet seemed hopeful. Actually, the diet felt like it was the only hope I had.

In the beginning, my body screamed at the diet's demands, but my shame of the last binge insisted that I stick to it.

As time went on, shame diminished as hunger ate at my brain. Along with the limits and isolation required to make the diet successful, I unavoidably caved. And if — no when — I caved, I would end the diet with a binge. I binged because I knew I would start over again — with another diet — the next day.


I would either binge in my bedroom in secret (duh, of course) or binge while walking the streets. Going into one store after the other, I would purchase one thing at a time so as not to give away my dirty secret.

Then, like a bright light from above, I'd be grabbed from my food coma by a "before and after" image of a celebrity on a magazine that proclaimed: "Learn how so-and-so got her hot, new bod." My mind would be hijacked with images of the ideal body I always dreamed of, as I opened the trashy magazine to see the details of the cure.

Ahh, there was hope. [Play the songs of angels serenading here.]

I needed to be saved. But what I needed most was to be saved from myself.

I truly believed that this new diet would save me from eating the world; I would finally have control and be delivered into happiness. It promised! The diet told me, scientifically, that this time, it would be the one. It guaranteed me peace [a deep breath], and I so wanted peace.

I flew from London, U.K. to a retreat in San Jose, California, in a desperate attempt to stop the painful food shame cycle. I was there to see author and advocate of ending compulsive eating and chronic dieting Geneen Roth. At the retreat, she said, "With every diet comes a binge," and I have learned this to be a universal truth.

A slew of studies tells us that diets do not work. In fact, diets promote weight gain. (I know, right?! You already know this. Argh.)

I have also learned that the moment I think of dieting, I immediately start to eat more. I eat more out of fear of deprivation.

So, in my recovery, I do not diet [filled with relief] and that is the best diet in the world.

robyn cruze

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