Have you ever wondered why you are stuck switching between diets? Do you wish you could break free of the dieting cycle but you're not sure how? I've got you covered. I'm going to share with you 3 common reasons I see that keep women stuck in diet mentality and 3 ways to shift those thoughts so you can break free.
Diet mentality. It's easy to fall into this trap.
Here's a typical scenario. You desire to lose 15 pounds so you go on a diet that your friend recommended. It's trendy, it's popular and everyone seems to be doing it. You lose the 15 pounds following the plan. You make a resolve to stick with "the plan" as much as you possibly can.
But then... life happens. You go on vacation and overindulge in everything you weren't allowed to have on your diet plan. You come home and resolve to do better but it's so difficult to get back on track. Several months go by and you've now not only put back on the original 15 and an additional 5 more. You're now on the hunt for your next diet plan so you can lose the excess 20 pounds.
This is one example of diet mentality and having this mindset will keep you stuck in a yo-yo diet cycle.
Diet mentality teaches you to label foods as good and bad. It teaches you to follow a list of rules that don't necessarily fit into your lifestyle. It teaches you that the only way to lose weight is to follow a strict diet plan.
Freedom comes when you can break away from diet mentality, ditch the cycle of yo-yo dieting and really learn how to nourish your body the way it deserves.
Here are 3 reasons you may still be stuck in diet mentality and 3 ways you can break free.
You're stuck because you don't see food for what it is.
You have grown accustomed to labeling foods as good or bad. You might even be putting foods into a "cheat" category. While it's true that certain foods provide more nourishment than others, it's best to break away from labeling. What happens when you do indulge in something on your "cheat" list -- feelings of guilt, shame and failure usually follow along. My question to you is, "Is this productive?" The short answer is no, it isn't.
How to break free from this: See food for what it is. Food is the tool God gave you to nourish your body. Food isn't your enemy, it's not your friend, it's not your comforter. Food isn't inherently good or bad. When you learn to separate some of the emotion around food, which we all have, it's much easier to gain a sense of control over it. I have previously talked about how to never cheat on your diet again. You can click here to check that out.
Just to clarify, when I say food is not your comforter, I don't intend to imply that food is not comforting. In fact, just the opposite. Food can be quite comforting. The problem becomes when you create a reliance on food for a continual source of comfort. It will be well worth your time to find non food sources of comfort. A few I have found to be helpful are reading my Bible and spending time in prayer, exercise, go outside for a walk with my kids, or talk to a friend on the phone.
You're stuck because you are being overly restrictive around food.
When you put too many things in the no category, it may make them seem more enticing to you. Instead of thinking on what you can't have, think on what you can have.
How to break free from this: When I work privately with a woman who has a long history of yo-yo dieting, one thing we do at the beginning of our time together is to remove restrictions around food. Nothing is truly off the table, literally and figuratively. She can have anything she wants. However, I do teach her to ask herself a few questions before taking a bite of anything.
Am I actually hungry?
What I am hungry for?
- Do I really want this?
What is often discovered is how often she might be eating something when she's not even hungry, she might be eating something she doesn't even want simply to satisfy a social norm (think office gathering or a similar social situation). The other thing that usually comes up is my client will realize she doesn't know how to answer the first question. She doesn't really know when she's feeling true hunger. This is all part of breaking away from diet mentality. It allows you to get in touch with your body's true hunger cues. Then you learn to honor that.
You're stuck because you're more focused on the numbers than on whole food nutrition.
While it's true that you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, I don't believe this means being overly obsessive with numbers. Sometimes counting calories or tracking macros can be helpful. It can help give you an idea of how much you're actually consuming. A lot of times we underestimate how much we are eating.
However, I view tracking as a temporary thing. When your diet plan becomes all about the numbers you just might end up consuming a lot of foods that aren't nourishing to your body. Reminder, we're not labeling foods here as good or bad, but we are recognizing that certain foods provide the body proper nourishment and fuel while others provide little nutritional value and only satisfy a craving or desire.
How to break free from this: Focus on giving your body lots of whole food nutrition. Shift the focus to eating real food, rather than items from a box. Two things will happen here. One, you will start to feel more energized, lighter and more satisfied. Focusing on whole food nutrition allows you to get more of the vitamins and nutrients you need. Not all packaged foods are bad per say, but next time you're in the grocery store, or maybe in your pantry in your house, turn a few boxes over and read the ingredient label. It may surprise you. The other thing that happens here is you will naturally start to crave the junk less. Remember, no foods are off the table. If you really want an Oreo you can have it. However, the more whole food nutrition you eat, the less tasty the Oreo will become. What I see happen with my clients, is they find they no longer crave the old foods. There are still no restrictions around it if they really want it they can go have it. But they want it less or not at all.
Diet mentality keeps you stuck. As long as you are in this state of mind, you will always be looking for the next great diet. Freedom comes when you learn to nourish your body well, honor your true hunger cues and make peace with food. The greatest book on the planet tells us
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
This is no less true in the world of dieting. Most trendy, fad diets are actually older diets that have been re-named. Don't fall for the hype.