If you Google the word “diet,” the first 2 to 5 results will usually yield something like:
- Everything you need to know about the Mediterranean Diet
- Highly Effective Blood Pressure Diet may also cut heart failure risk
- What's the best diet for 2020?
Fortunately, the internet is loaded with information.
Unfortunately, it’s also filled with terabytes of data which create dieting as the end all be all pill for what ails us.
The word diet has come to refer to a method of restrictive eating habits aimed at losing or gaining weight. This is largely because the ideas of what a “healthy” body looks like, or how a “healthy” body should be shaped has changed in the last 50 years or so.
It’s entirely possible that men and women have always been obsessed with body image, shape, and size. What’s very clear is that whatever the status of body image for both men and women has been in the past, the fatty body image is no longer desirable.
So, what do we do?
We search for changes in our diets. We seek out quick fixes that will correct our body situations with as little effort as possible. We want to know what that one secret is that makes all of our mistakes go away with the snap of a finger.
We look for fad diets.
We enter the diet mentality.
We're overly serious about diet restriction!
The diet mentality is a way of processing nutritional choices through dysfunctional corrections like:
- Is this “healthy?”
- Does this fit in my restrictive diet?
- What will I have to sacrifice later?
- How much time will I need to add to the treadmill to pay for this cupcake?
When faced with food choices, and a need to eat, the inner discussion includes:
- It’s past 6:00pm so I can’t eat.
- I can only eat carbs before working out.
- Added sugars have to go.
- I can’t eat more than X number of calories within a given meal.
- When was the last time I ate? Why am I still hungry?
- How many calories are in these rolls?
- I can’t have a snack right now. It’s not time.
- I ate a big dinner last night, so I have to eat a small breakfast now.
There are hundreds of different restrictive “diets” with literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of voices telling us each and every day why their version of the restrictive diet is the best one to follow. We want to lose weight, so we climb aboard the wagon.
Could diet mentality be all wrong?
The problem is that diets in this form don’t work. Sure. In the short-term you might lose those extra pounds, but in the long-term, they’ll return. More likely than not, fad diets fail in the long term.
Weight loss diets that revolve around the type of diet mentality that we’re talking about fail largely because:
- They make people feel miserable
- They require strict and daunting tracking of everything you eat
- They limit macronutrients or calories, or restrict certain food items, which often leads to eventual bingeing.
- Dieting can lead to a preoccupation with food
- Our bodies view dieting as a form of starvation, which they're hardwired to fight against.
- They disconnect you from your ability and willingness to listen to what your body is telling you it wants
- They teach us arbitrary rules about food which have no real basis in fact
- They make you more likely to eventually binge or fall into habits of overeating because they're restrictive.
What's a diet, really?
A “Diet” is really the whole and entirely collected pattern of your eating habits. Our physical health is intricately linked to the food choices we make. Those food choices and our physical health do not occur in a vacuum. They’re cumulative. Your diet is your eating patterns in their entirety.
We must understand that a diet is not a diet if it’s restrictive or punishing in some way. Those voices who are raving, yelling, and in your face about how low carb this, high protein that, low fat this, or no sugar that will help you lose weight, are doing so to sell you their ideas.
Notice that word selling. They’ve prepared for you a secret, little known, or time precious resource which all amount to nothing more than marketing ploys aimed at your self-esteem to gain access to your wallet.
Time to change the diet mentality
Instead of buying into it at your great expense, look toward changing your way of approaching your overall diet, and physical well-being.
- Let go of the “don’t eat rules.” Once you do, certain foods begin to lose their appeal.
- Get better acquainted with your body’s food cues, and feelings so that you can better understand what your body is actually looking for.
- Give your body what it asks for, so it doesn’t kick into starvation mode and fight back
- Understand that eating a wide variety of foods, not restricting nutrients, is associated with better health.
Let's end with a great quote from Christine Byrne
“When we reject diets and diet culture, we learn that our bodies have amazing internal wisdom. They can tell us how much to eat, when to stop and what foods make us feel most energized.”
Resources Mentioned in This Episode