If you’re someone who has struggled with food for a long time, I’m sure you’ve done the ‘I’m soooo f*cking done with diets’ talk. And by talk, I mean you’ve told yourself that…obviously. If every time you start a diet, just to fail, then chances are you’ve wanted to stop dieting before. And please know: the term ‘fail’ can be however it relates to you. It can mean a slew of things like: you binge eat, you ‘give up,’ you stop the diet to gain all of the weight back, or, you don’t lose any weight so you stop. I mean, the list goes on. So let’s talk about having a diet mindset.
What is a diet mindset?
Now, you may think this is self explanatory. I promise you it’s not. Because diet mindsets have some sneaky crap going on there. But basically, to keep this blog somewhat short, a diet mindset is where you are still dieting. Even if you don’t know it. And no, having a diet mindset doesn’t mean it has to have a name.
You can say all day you aren’t on a diet, but if you still have rules around food (and these can be any), then we need to work a little harder on getting you off the diet rollercoaster, mama.
So let’s talk about the qualities that make up a diet mindset:
Being obsessed or occupied with food: your life shouldn’t revolve around food. There’s a big difference between being a foodie and being food obsessed. Here’s the thing: it’s okay to love food. I loveeeee it. I love the memories, celebrations and comfort it provides with the people you love. If you’re thinking about it 24/7 and know what you ate for the past 3 days? Hard stop.
Base your food choices on what others are doing or saying: if you’re listening to others? You’re on a diet. You don’t need a meal plan or a list of yes/no foods to reach your goals – that’s just what we’ve been taught.
Guilt or shame after eating: Guilt and shame are two of the biggest driving emotions to make us to want to eat more. Getting to a place where you recognize that food is inherently neutral is step one. Then, realizing there are no ‘fattening foods,’ and that you can eat what you love and still hit your goals is what truly makes this last.
Anxiety around eating outside of your usual routine: Heading to happy hour? Date night with your partner? If you have to check the menu to figure out ‘the healthiest thing to get’ or feel anxious regarding stepping out of your routine, then mi amor, we got work to do. Recognizing this is sneaky diet culture, and checking the menu beforehand out of pure excitement for the delicious food should be the only reason you do this!
Eats on par with diet in front of others, goes off diet in private: This is such a polarizing way to eat, and usually the starting point of killing your relationship with food. Needing to be ‘perfect’ in front of others is a surefire way to guarantee you’ll be binge eating in the future.
Uses food as comfort or coping: If you are dodging any emotions or just shoving them deeper and deeper because of food, then the best place to start is simply ask yourself, ‘What am I feeling right now, and how can I address this?’
Getting out of a diet mindset is fixable.
… It just may not feel that way right now – especially when everything around you is diet centered.
First things first – before ANYTHING else, work to get rid of your food rules. This is extremely internal, and takes a lot of work. But once you take away the food rules, the pull to eat when things go wrong (or when you eat ‘bad’) goes away naturally. If you need help with starting? Get in touch with me here.
Second, be kind to yourself. We tend to be our own worst critics, beat ourselves up, then add insult to injury by eating more. There’s a way to stop it at the source. Grab my free guide to binge eating here as a starting point!