How to Recognize & Reject the Diet Mentality

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2018

This post is part of my Introduction to Intuitive Eating series. Check out “What is Intuitive Eating?” to start from the beginning.

Why Diets Don’t Live Up to Their Promises

Research has shown that 95% of diets fail and eating restraint is actually associated with weight gain over time. Not to mention, of those 5% who “succeed”, many of them are actually engaging in disordered eating behaviors. Our bodies literally can’t tell the difference between dieting and actual starvation. This leads to slowing of your metabolism and increased cravings. It’s not surprising that most diets result in weight cycling which is associated with increased mortality risk and inflammation. So WHY THE F**K is everyone so caught up in diet culture?!

Here’s why: the weight loss industry is worth over $60 billion dollars/year on the premise that you are “not okay” and need to be “fixed”. It’s interesting to think about it this way. The diet industry creates a problem by convincing you that you need to change your body. Then, they pretend to have the solutions to your “problem” (and they were the ones who created this fake problem!). Do you see now why diets literally make no sense?

If not, I’d encourage you to check out some of these amazing articles debunking popular diets:

What is The Diet Mentality?

The diet mentality is that sneaky voice in your head that tries to decide your food and exercise choices for you without factoring in your internal body cues like hunger, fullness and satisfaction. This doesn’t just mean “being on diet”; you can still be caught up in the culture of dieting even if you aren’t “on a diet”.

Here are some examples of how the diet mentality might show up for you:

  • I can only have ___ calories per day
  • I shouldn’t eat past ____ pm
  • I am bad because I ate ____
  • I can only eat “clean” foods
  • I have to follow a schedule for when I eat my meals
  • I can’t eat carbs because they are “bad”
  • I can’t have ____ because it’s not healthy

Reject the diet mentality

Rejecting the diet mentality is a critical step in making peace with food and your body. First, it’s important to recognize how the diet mentality plays a role in your life.

Recognize the ways in which the diet mentality shows up for you and affects your life:

  • How much time do you spend thinking about food and your body?
  • How much money do you or have you spent trying to change your body?
  • How has the diet mindset affected your relationships, social life, mood and happiness?

Take back your autonomy:

YOU are the ONLY person who knows what is best for you. Stop listening to outside sources to tell you what, when and how much to eat or exercise.

Get rid of your dieting “tools”:

Get rid of meal plans, magazines, diet books, diet foods, your scale and anything else you associate with the diet mentality or “controlling” your food and body. These “tools” only serve one purpose of keeping your preoccupied with food and your body (oh and it also makes the diet industry TONS of money).

Shift your mindset:

Make a list of all of the ways the diet mentality shows up for you. Now, re-frame each of those thoughts from a non-diet mindset. For example, instead of thinking “Do I deserve to eat? Probably not; I ate so “bad” yesterday” you could ask yourself “Am I hungry?”.

Read the next post in this Introduction to Intuitive Eating series: How to Make Peace with Food and Listen to Your Body.

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