Rejecting the Diet Mentality: Intuitive Eating for the Holidays and Life
Today we are going to talk about Rejecting the Diet Mentality. The diet mentality is thinking that the next diet is going to work – chances are it won’t. If you hold on to the idea that the next diet will work, you won’t be able to give you all to trying Intuitive Eating. From experience, we know that statistically from our past experiences, the next diet will not work, yet we keep chasing it because “what if it does.” If it worked, there would be no other news stories. Everything would be centered around that one diet. We live in a culture so versed in “diet culture” where some people will talk about the new diet they are on and that is the only they connect with others. Diet culture invades society, our minds, the food industry, the clothing industry – how many times have we heard of crash diets before weddings to squeeze into a dress. Diet culture preys on you not liking yourself and not feeling like you have the power to do anything except follow what they tell you to do. You have the power to stand up and you have the power to act against diet culture in your life.
Diets cause a vicious cycle of weight loss and regain. As you lose weight from a diet, it can alter your metabolism and likely leave it much slower than someone else at your height and weight (you can read more about this in Weight Loss 101). This in turn causes weight gain 3-5 years down the line. Most nutritional science studies aren’t done this long, so when a new study about a diet claims to help people lose weight and keep it off, check to see how long the study was done for. Chances are it was a few months, potentially a year or two, but not long enough to show the regain of weight afterwards; sneaky.
There are many fears associated with this stage such as “If I stop dieting, I won’t stop eating,” “I don’t know how to eat when I’m not dieting,” and “I will be out of control.” These are very real fears that people struggle with, but intuitive eating can help. Dieting and restriction are often the trigger for overeating. Not knowing what to eat because you’ve been on strict, regimented diets can be difficult and scary. By listening to your body and understanding what it needs, you can eliminate a need for outside control telling you what you can and can’t eat, which also helps you not worry about needing to be in control.
To get rid of the diet mentality, step 1 is to recognize and acknowledge the damage that dieting causes. It can affect not only your biological health by messing with your metabolism but your emotional health as well as dieting is linked to eating disorders and can wear away at confidence and self-trust.
Step 2: Understand what thoughts and actions are associated with dieting such as “willpower,” “should and shouldn’t’s” when it comes to food choices, and “failure” You can’t fail at Intuitive Eating because it is a life-long journey of learning about yourself.
Step 3: Get rid of your dieting “tools” such as a scale. A scale can only tell you about your relationship with gravity on earth. It doesn’t tell you how healthy you are or aren’t, it can’t tell you what your A1C or triglyceride levels are, it doesn’t tell you how many miles you can run, or how great of a person you are.
Lastly, be compassionate toward yourself. Encourage yourself, be kind, and don’t let food and what you eat rule your life.
Remember, Intuitive Eating is not about weight. You may lose weight; you may gain weight. Either way, your body will end up where IT wants to be, where it is comfortable and happy when you practice all parts of Intuitive Eating. You cannot get there without first rejecting diet culture to allow yourself open access on this journey rather than constantly thinking about the next new diet.