Former Trainer-of-the-Year says give up the New Year’s resolutions

BADDECK: It’s everywhere this month. “It’s the new year: time for a new diet, a new gym membership, a transformation challenge – a whole new you!”

But Roni Davis, a former Canadian Trainer of The Year and nationally qualified figure champion, says if you want to see real change this year, it may be time to try something different.

“Our diet-obsessed culture is screwing up our relationships with food,” she said. “Dieting is ‘disordered eating’ according to NEDC (National Eating Disorders Collaboration) – it is not only socially acceptable but also entirely expected and normal.”

The Baddeck entrepreneur says her on-line program gets to the root of why so many people struggle with food, weight loss, and eat when they are not hungry. Evolve, her six-week program, guides clients to explore their motivations and provides help through journaling, gratitude prompts, and mindfulness when making decisions.

“I have done a ton of diets. I lifted weights, I’ve ran distances, I’ve reshaped my body and won awards. Each time I reached the point where I had achieved ‘the goal’, but I found myself still unhappy and continuing to struggling with food. So I began to get curious and ask myself why I was doing certain things; why did I feel this way. And most importantly, were any of these activities actually making me happy or improving my life. The answer to that was a hard no.”

Davis, who had dieted since she was a teen, was at one point considered obese. She yo-yo dieted, turned to more drastic weight loss methods and eventually developed bulimia.

“Dieting doesn’t fix anything, it just creates new problems and having others tell us what we should and shouldn’t eat removes us from this most basic decision about our own bodies and ourselves. I want people to start to make that correlation in their brain – dieting is a money-making industry. The answer is within ourselves,” Davis said.

Her wholeness approach is a method that is backed by science and works, she said.

“I eat what I want, when I want. I exercise when I want and I am finally happy,” she said, adding that statistics from the National Institute of Health show that upwards of 98 per cent of those who start a diet and lose weight, regain it all and a majority gain even more than they lost.

This time of year is when people are encouraged to make resolutions, but Davis says that one-time big change almost never works.

“Resolutions are a terrible way to elicit any kind of lasting change. Instead, I work on goal-setting and growth of some sort, every day all year long,” she said.

Her program, developed to get off the diet roller coaster and find freedom from her own food issues, involves being accountable for food intake, making sure to include regular exercise and mediation.

“My program combines cognitive behavioral strategies with my own special brand of mindfulness and intuitive eating strategies to rewire new habits and recreate healthy relationships with food, body and self,” she said.

Davis made some big changes this year as well, moving away from her work as a personal trainer.

“It is hard to leave it behind, but I also know it is time to move onto this next phase of helping people,” she said.

Previously, as a trainer, she was featured on, an international online magazine and in Muscle Insider, a Canadian magazine. But her article, recently published on Tiny Buddha, an on-line Health website with a readership of over four million people, was particularly challenging.

“It is not easy to write about your own personal voyage with an eating disorder and put it out there for the world, but I believe it is important for others to see that there are healthy ways to heal their relationship with food and that I can help because I’ve been there,” she said.

How I Healed from an Eating Disorder and Stopped Hating Myself and My Body was published last month and is still available online at

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