That 5 Foods to Never Eat Video

September 16, 2014
Kelly Coffey

5 Foods Never to Eat, and programs like it, are exactly what’s keeping us stuck

There’s another video going around telling us that abstaining from 5 specific foods will get us thin and keep us thin. In it, we hear the story of Cathy, a woman who, like many of us, has struggled for years to get her weight under control. Like many of us, she’s clearly intelligent, and thoughtful. And like many of us, she’s trapped in the loss/gain cycle.

Enter the spirited nutritionist. In a way peppy voice-over, the nutritionist endears us to Cathy (read: us), and then tells us how she solved Cathy’s weight problem – it was as simple as 1-2-3!, and it boiled down to eliminating 5 specific foods from her diet.

In the video, Cathy takes her advice, loses the weight, and keeps it off.

And if that’s how it went down, Cathy and I have nothing in common.  If that’s how it went down, Cathy’s probably a naturally fit person who defaults to healthy behaviors. Because unless her M.O. is to make and then keep commitments that she makes in service to her health, there’s just shy of ZERO chance that the suggestions in this video would ever work, never mind result in permanent weight loss.

“Snowball, meet Hell. Hell, there’s this snowball I think you’ll just love.”

5 foods to never eat w FB trim banned sign

If you lose excess fat – and keep it off – after someone tells you what not to eat, you didn’t have a weight problem, or a problem with food or eating, you had an information problem.

Those of us who have a real problem with weight, compulsive overeating, and/or food addiction have been trapped in the loss/gain cycle for years, despite knowing exactly how to eat well and what the weekly recommendations for exercise are. So why do we still have a weight problem? We still have weight problems because our struggle has nothing to do with a lack of solid nutritional or exercise-related information. The problem is our apparent inability to be consistent with the choices we make in the service of our health. We know what to do. We know what “5 Foods To Never Eat,” we just can’t seem to do it. Period. And it drives many of us crazy.

Of course we get sucked in when the pretty nutritionist 1 tells us that losing the weight is as simple as 1-2-3! Optimistic, we watch her video. We share it with friends. We let ourselves imagine that she really has the solution to this thing that’s haunted us since we began forming memories, something that’s brought us pain, misery, embarrassment, shame, heartbreak, and frustration.

Inside us a small voice asks “If it’s as easy as she says, why can’t I lose weight? What’s wrong with me?” By then end of the video we’re thinking “Well, maybe this time will be different. I’ll start tomorrow. In the meantime, I deserve one last hurrah.” And of course tomorrow comes and goes, and nothing changes but the start date. 

That peppy little video – and every message like it – is useless to most of us with serious weight and food issues. If anything, watching them makes us gain more weight. And this’ll keep happening unless and until we recognize and deal with the real problems: Self-sabotage. Loss of motivation. Indifference. Self-consciousness. Shame.

It’s almost never simple as 1-2-3 for people like me. If it was, we’d all have gotten thin long ago (at the latest, shortly after this nutritionist first spelled out her revolutionary “5 Foods” solution), and we’d all have stayed that way. But despite what we want to believe, we know that being told what or how to eat isn’t the solution. Being told what and how to eat does not help us lose weight and keep it off. It just doesn’t work. Period.

Until people like us address the roots of our weight and food issues, all the best nutritional and exercise-related information in the world is, and will always be, essentially useless. Because until we learn to disempower the thing that keeps making us sabotage our efforts to get healthier, nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to work long term – – even if it’s really terrific, scientifically sound advice.

Until people like me learn to address the root cause of our inability to stay committed to the choices we make in service to our health, our efforts to change may make the problem worse. And you can bet that most, if not all, of our efforts to lose weight will leave us heavier in the end.


  1. Who points out that she lost 30 pounds once and kept it off. I lose 30 pounds shortly after my my first cup of coffee some days, but I digress.


 We all feel stuck in the cycle of self-sabotage, out of control and powerless. I put together a workshop to give you practical, actionable next-steps to ensure that you feel healthier and more in control, starting now.

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Showing 15 comments
  • Erin

    Wow did you hit the nail on the head.. I recently started working with a young woman (I’m 42) that had gained and lost lots of weight . (She was pregnant) She recommended the paleo diet. Red flags go up when I hear diet…so I haven’t started bc it feels destined to fail. I have joined your next e course and am very much looking forward to the possibility of getting the help I need. (And I do know my part in it. And that I am looking for you to say some magic words so boom I am healed. Realistic and unrealistic all in the same whack!

    • Meredith

      I’m signed up for the Oct e-course as well and your comment on hoping for a magic word so spoke to me. I think I am at the point of admitted that I am a food addict and that certain things need to be cut out of my eating plan so that I can move away from the compulsions and cravings and just generally overdoing it all. There is fear that this too, although it sounds like it could be the answer, will be just like all the other “answers” that I have tried and failed before.

      I just wanted say I appreciate what you said because for me there is comfort in seeing that others may share similar issues. Here’s working towards finding the realistic path.

      • Coffey

        Meredith, I hope you’ve looked at the feedback about the class that’s on the class page –
        I’d hate for you to be waiting to register, worried that it might be a waste of time. Please let me know if you have any questions.

        • Meredith

          I signed up over a month ago. I’ve got my log in on Jigsaw and was “in progress” on the prep list but finished that just now. Do you not show me as registered?

          • Coffey

            Sorry for the confusion, Meredith. I stopped active registration because it was wicked distracting. Lots of folks signed up before I did that, though. Registration will re-open at the end of the month to fill the remaining slots. Have no fear – if you signed up, you’re in 🙂

      • Erin

        Hi Meredith! It is good to know we are not alone in some of the crazy thinking! Hopefully we can be a support system for each other all with others. I know that I need that!
        Take care,

  • dana

    Today I gave away the last of the smaller clothes I’ve had for years… mostly because I was sick of looking at them and second because I’m tired of feeling bad about not fitting into them. At 46 I suppose I am mid age and I go through bouts of thinking that I’ll get in smaller and bouts of thinking that I just need to accept that I’ll be bigger and love myself and for once just let go of the quest. I do weigh more than I should or is considered healthy; I’m pretty sure of that. But I love myself and others love me still…even more then when i was thin…thin… thin… not a word or a way of being that I relate to very well but there are days that I miss cute jeans and wish I felt less self conscious. I take yoga and I mostly make good choices, trying to learn to live in the moment without the struggle always on my back and my insides… like it has been since my preteens… bulimia, anorexia and the last few decades some binge behaviors and excess weight. Can you help me help myself? How do I sign up? Signed still in here… ♡

    • Coffey

      Of course people love you. Just here I can see you’re an articulate, thoughtful woman with an undercurrent of pain, which is about the most beautiful kind of person I can imagine. The outside is an afterthought. Unless it’s not.
      I cannot promise you that you’ll lose weight by taking my course. That’s now what it’s about it. What it’s about is enjoying the process of getting healthier, which for folks like us can seem as tall an order as keeping a snowball intact in Hell in August. But we can do it.
      I’ll be looking out for your name when registration opens at the end of this month. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions.

  • Elizapet Marie

    I’ve lost roughly 100lbs in the last year from lifestyle changes. I’m tired of people recommending surgery and stuff like that. I havebusted my butt and everyday people ask me my secret. I have to contain my annoyance at the question because it’s not a secret. It’s coming to the realization that I want to live long enough to leave a positive imprint on the world. Istill eat my junkfood and fast food, but not as often, in smaller portions, and then I swim an hour worth of laps.
    I appreciate your blog so much. People think I should be happy now that I’m smaller. I am but am now dysphoric to an extent because I’m struggling with major body changes, ckothes that don’t fit, and people overwhelming me with their advice etc…
    so thank you, you get it xoxo

    • Coffey

      EM, I commend you. I know how challenging it can be to be a high input (food) / high output (exercise) person. It takes a lot of doing, and I’ve been doing it forever, at times more successfully than others.
      Thanks for taking the time to write. I hope to see you name pop up on my screen again.

  • Keith Dillard

    Can I ask what role you believe God plays in this? I never considered inviting Him to help me with my battle until I was introduced to First Place 4 Health, which emphasizes balance in our Emotional, Spiritual, Physical and Mental health. Curious as to your thoughts.

    • Coffey

      Hey there, Keith. Nothing like starting my morning off light! Thanks for the terrific question. Here’s what I know: People with a strong connection to God, or whatever their spiritual source may be, enjoy the priceless benefits of faith, and the knowing that they are being constantly supported. Folks who don’t have, or don’t nurture, that connection, do whatever they do without those benefits.

      Cultivating a deeper spiritual connection is by no means a requirement when it comes to getting healthier (no specific thing is), but if that can be a part of your wellness journey, it can only serve you.

      Does that satisfy your curiosity? I hope so. Thank you for taking the time to write.

  • Fitness Polly

    Your article sums up exactly how I feel about videos and articles like these. They’re great for getting viewers but really?! My big issue is that ‘just’ cutting out five foods won’t work and that it’s not the simple answer for everyone. It’s not likely long term either.
    I suffered from bulimia and eAting disorders my whole life so am particularly against being warned off foods for life and am very much FOR looking for deeper reasons as to why some people struggle with food so much.
    Thanks for your article 🙂 you get it.

    • Coffey

      I do. I do get it.
      Thanks for being out there, and for taking the time to give my post a scratch on the belly.

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