Lillian Wilson

Ditch the Diet by Oonagh Duncan

Break free from yo-yo dieting by adopting positive habits and learning to accept your true self with the book ‘Ditch the Diet.’

Ditch the Diet

For many, the pursuit of a healthy weight has been an uphill battle, with dieting often leading to temporary success and subsequent frustration as the pounds return.

In this review, we explore ‘Ditch the Diet’ by Oonagh Duncan, a book aiming to break the cycle of yo-yo dieting and offer a holistic path to wellness. Through expert guidance and a habits-centred approach, the book encourages readers to prioritise happiness, self-love, and sustainable well-being on their journey to a healthier self. Let’s uncover the transformative insights and actionable steps that empower readers to embrace positive habits and find lasting contentment beyond traditional dieting.

Author’s background

Oonagh Duncan is an accomplished fitness expert, author, and speaker renowned for her expertise in guiding individuals towards a healthy and joyful lifestyle using a habits-centred method.

Oonagh Duncan (r)

Her exceptional approach has garnered global media recognition and, more significantly, received glowing five-star reviews from numerous individuals who have experienced life-changing transformations through her program.

As the founder of the Feel Good Movement, Oonagh emphasises that true fitness transcends mere numbers on a scale and revolves around embracing a positive sense of well-being.

What is the book about?

In ‘Ditch the Diet,’ by Oonagh Duncan, readers are presented with a fresh perspective on achieving wellness and managing weight. The book introduces a comprehensive path towards happiness, confidence, and self-acceptance, freeing readers from yo-yo dieting.

With a foundation in the latest scientific research and Oonagh Duncan’s expertise as an acclaimed trainer, the book navigates readers through seven fundamental habits, encompassing both physical and mental well-being:

  • Think positively: Use the power of your thoughts to overcome challenges and build a strong mindset for success.

  • Eat well: Learn how to nourish your body with healthy, nutrient-packed foods without following strict diets or complicated meal plans.

  • Be mindful while eating: Improve your relationship with food by being present during meals and finding joy in the dining experience.

  • Exercise effectively: Discover the best ways to work out, build strength, and improve your fitness, all tailored to your needs.

  • Take care of sleep and stress: Learn the secrets to getting quality sleep and managing stress, which helps your body heal and burn fat better.

  • Build healthy habits: Develop practical strategies to make healthier choices in your daily life and maintain positive changes.

  • Practice self-care and self-love: Prioritise taking care of yourself, develop self-compassion, and build a foundation of self-love for a happier life.

‘Ditch the Diet’ provides a clear roadmap to achieving a healthier and more balanced self. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast seeking a new approach or someone who has struggled with weight management for years, this book offers valuable insights and actionable steps to transform your overall well-being. With her no-nonsense style, Oonagh Duncan empowers readers to embrace positive habits, leading to improved confidence, happiness, and self-acceptance on their wellness journey.

Table of contents

  • Preface
  • Part 1: Get Your Head out of Your Ass
  • Introduction: So, You Want to Lose Weight…
  • Chapter 1: Drop the Guilt and Get Your Hot Abs Even If You Have a Women’s Studies Degree
  • Chapter 2: Find the Fucks
  • Chapter 3: Woo-Woo Alert: It’s Actually All About Happiness
  • Part 2: Just Tell Me What the Fuck to Do to Get Skinny Already
  • Introduction: Why Discipline, Motivation, and Willpower Are Bullshit
  • Chapter 4: The Scoop on the Habit Loop
  • Chapter 5: The 7 Habits of Highly Healthy Motherfuckers
  • Part 3: How Not to Be a Big, Fat Quitty McQuitterface
  • Introduction: Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try.
  • Chapter 6: The Life-Changing, Magical Art of Getting Your Shit Together
  • Chapter 7: The Power of Your Peeps
  • Chapter 8: Break Up with Your Bullshit
  • Chapter 9: If You Can’t Do Something Right, Do It Totally Half-Ass
  • Chapter 10: How to Fight the Fuckits
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgements
  • About the Author

Key takeaways from ‘Ditch the Diet’

1Prioritising true happiness and self-love over achieving a specific weight or appearance is crucial

The book emphasises that true happiness and fulfilment are the ultimate goals, not just achieving a certain weight or appearance. It encourages readers to focus on cultivating positive feelings and self-love right now, regardless of their current weight. By training the brain to access happy and confident feelings, one can break free from negative thought patterns and self-criticism, leading to a healthier and more sustainable path towards well-being and body acceptance. The book challenges the notion that reaching a specific weight will automatically lead to happiness and highlights the importance of embracing oneself and feeling content with who they are at any size.

2Weight loss success depends more on habits than willpower

The book challenges the idea that discipline, motivation, and willpower are the main factors for successful weight loss, proposing instead the power of habits. It explains the Habit Loop, consisting of trigger, behaviour, and reward, where habits are automated actions prompted by triggers and completed with rewards. About 40 to 45% of our actions are habitual, underscoring the importance of cultivating good habits for well-being.

To change a bad habit, one must interrupt the habit loop by addressing the trigger, behaviour, or reward. Identifying the reward from a bad habit can help find a healthier alternative to fulfil that need, such as replacing mindless snacking out of boredom with drinking green tea or doing jumping jacks. Interrupting the trigger or making environmental changes can also effectively break bad habits.

3Instead of striving for perfection, do a little progress consistently

The book encourages a concept called ‘Doing Things Totally Half-Ass,’ which means not striving for perfection in executing new healthy habits. The author argues that expecting perfection is unrealistic, and there will be times when circumstances prevent us from sticking to our habits perfectly. Instead, the book suggests embracing small wins and celebrating any effort made towards the desired habit.

Examples of small wins include doing a shorter version of a workout, adding a healthy ingredient to a meal instead of making a full healthy meal, taking deep breaths instead of meditating for an extended period, and going to bed fifteen minutes earlier to improve sleep.

These small wins, even though seemingly insignificant, contribute to long-term progress and compound over time. By consistently acknowledging and rewarding these small steps, individuals can create positive habits and reinforce their identities as healthy individuals.

Overall rating & strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews

The book has gotten 4.16 ⭐️ on GoodReads.


  • Offers practical and effective tips for weight loss and healthy living without calorie counting or deprivation.

  • Emphasis on prioritising happiness and self-love, promoting a positive and sustainable approach to weight loss.

  • Challenges the idea of quick fixes and extreme diets, focusing on the power of small changes and habits to shape behaviour.

  • Contains relatable and humorous anecdotes that keep the book lighthearted and engaging.


  • Excessive and distracting use of profanity, particularly the F-word, which may be off-putting for some readers.

  • Some readers may find the book’s content repetitive and lacking in depth, leading to a loss of interest and motivation to continue reading.

  • The book may not offer enough new or innovative ideas for readers who are already familiar with health and wellness concepts.

Best quotes from ‘Ditch the Diet’

“Before you even think about the “best” way to train, you need to get consistent. Developing a regular routine that you stick to is about a million gazillion times more important than the type of exercise you do.”
“There have been studies showing that when given low-fat foods, subjects will consume 60 percent more calories. Why? Because they keep eating, trying to fulfill that need for adequate fat. Which is why you’ve got to eat carbs, protein, and fat.”
“But really the most effective way to pulverize a bad habit is to eliminate the trigger. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, as often your trigger is going to be emotional – usually boredom or stress.”

Final takeaway

‘Ditch the Diet’ by Oonagh Duncan presents a refreshing and empowering perspective on achieving true wellness and weight management. With a blend of scientific research and the author’s expert insights, readers are guided through essential habits that encompass both physical and mental well-being.

This book is a must-read for anyone tired of the traditional dieting approach and seeking a transformative journey towards a healthier and more balanced self.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘Ditch the Diet’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback, hardcover, audio and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.

Healthypedia FAQ

While the book provides valuable insights, some readers familiar with health concepts may find it lacking in new or innovative ideas. However, the focus on positive habits and self-love remains beneficial for all readers seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Unlike traditional dieting guides, ‘Ditch the Diet’ prioritises happiness, self-love, and mental well-being alongside physical health. It emphasises building sustainable habits instead of relying on willpower and strict rules.

No, the book avoids restrictive meal plans and calorie counting. Instead, it focuses on mindful eating, teaching readers to nourish their bodies with healthy, nutrient-packed foods without rigid dieting.

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