Reject the diet mentality is the first principle of Intuitive Eating. Holding onto hopes about dieting or finding the perfect diet will keep you from being able to eat intuitively.
Diets do not work long-term. There is plenty of research showing that the end result of diets is actually weight gain. This is why people go back to diets over and over again. It isn’t a lack of willpower or self-discipline. It is because the human body is designed to get us to eat when food is restricted. When we restrict calories our body thinks it is starving and does everything it can to get you to eat, like increasing your appetite hormones. That’s right, with dieting comes more hunger! Are you stuck in the diet cycle? I know I’ve been there and it is exhausting at best and harmful at worst!
What is diet mentality?
Here are just some examples of how diet mentality might show up for you…
- I shouldn’t eat past 8:00pm (or any other arbitrary time)
- I can’t have carbohydrates at night
- I can’t have _____ food because it isn’t “clean”
- I should have low-fat meals
- I should eat “clean”
- I can’t eat carbohydrates because they are “bad”
- I am bad because I ate a ______
- I feel guilty because I had _____
- I need to go to the gym because I ate ______
Part of rejecting diet mentality is recognizing the damage that diets do in your life. Do they make you less present in relationships? Do they make you cancel plans with friends because you have to go to the gym? Do you avoid parties because you can’t have any of the food? Do they take up too much of your brain space and cause you to struggle to focus at work or school? Do you get irritable if the day of food or working out doesn’t go as planned? There are so many ways that diet mentality can get in the way of other important aspects of our lives and health.
Rejecting diet mentality is a hard thing to do! We live in a world where diet culture is everywhere. I know it can be scary letting go of diet mentality. Some thoughts I hear from people when we talk about this are: “What if I lose control?” “If I don’t have rules how will I know what to eat?” Here are some tips to help you work on rejecting diet mentality and incorporate intuitive eating principle one into your life.
5 steps to reject diet mentality:
- Recognize the damage of dieting/diet mentality in yourself and your life
- Get rid of dieting tools: stop obsessively weighing yourself, stop using calorie trackers, throw out diet books or magazines, get rid of diet foods in your house
- Surround yourself with other non-dieting people
- Have self-compassion and give yourself grace through the process
- Consider what is more important in your life than dieting, your body size, appearance and weight
If you feel like you aren’t ready for this step that is okay! If you are ready and would like any assistance you can always contact me here!
Stay tuned to keep learning about all the principles of Intuitive Eating! Check out the first post of this series, here!
PS – Body Kindness is an awesome book, I would recommend checking it out! That is where the diet cycle image came from!