Have you ever said to yourself or perhaps others, “I will start tomorrow” OR started a diet one day and ate something that is not “on plan” and “ruined your progress”?
Had a “cheat weekend” or “cheat day” to reward yourself for staying on your diet? Or you woke up, stepped on the scale and didn’t see any progress, so you say “screw it” and just ate what you wanted to that day. The WHOLE day.
Maybe you were so busy during your day, work, kids, spouse etc.… forgot to eat, forgot to plan and at the end of the day noticed you were elbow deep in a bag of Cheetos and was like, “I will do better tomorrow” and continued to devour the bag while continuing to turn orange.
Or perhaps you have gone to a restaurant and saw nothing on the menu that was “diet friendly” and decide to just eat whatever you wanted and made yourself feel better by saying, “this will just count as my cheat meal for the week”. Maybe you over eat and over indulge in foods but you say, “I will be good tomorrow”.
There are SO many scenarios. SO many different phrases. And I am willing to bet, any women reading this right now has lived and said some variations of these at one point or another in her life. Whether in your head or to the person you were with.
Whether it is diet you are doing, certain foods you are trying to “stay away from”, wanting to exercise or really start ANYTHING new…these thoughts and behaviors happen. They happen a lot. If you just stop and listen to the conversations between girlfriend at a restaurant you WILL notice. They are so socially acceptable and “normal” to us that we do not even think twice about it. These situations and conversations aren’t new to us BUT they can be very dangerous if we don’t understand them OR pay attention to seeing them and why are they harmful.
This sort of behavior, is what I would call the “all or nothing” approach and it’s a learned behavior directly from diet culture itself. YES, once again more behaviors that we don’t really see as a problem until we do, directly supported from the disordered world of dieting.
These sorts of situations or conversations set us up for eating disorders. Set us up for thinking that food calls the shots in our lives. That there are good foods and that there are bad foods AND that when we eat good foods, we are good and when we eat bad foods, that we are bad. AND THAT IS B.S!!!!
This thinking keeps us locked into a mindset that is a diet mindset. We put too much power in the hands of food thus stripping it away ourselves and it leaves us feeling helpless to food. And when you take the power out of our hands (where it only is) and try and place it outside ourselves, we feel even more hopeless and miserable when we try to change our food behaviors. When we try to lose weight. Eat better etc.
And that is NOT OK, not even for a moment in my world, or in my mind or for anyone woman I know. And we need to SEE it. And we NEED to stop it.
And as a side note, if you don’t see dieting as an issue, maybe just yet or ever – It’s your life you rock it but if you don’t see it from the same perspective as I do, it’s totally cool. And if those words trigger you to defend a certain diet or ‘lifestyle” which is still a diet, I just want to ask that you take some deep breaths right now and just read the rest of this article. Hear me out.
Perhaps from the space of seeking to understand a different side, not to be right or to be anything but a human being trying to understand another human’s human experience because you never know what you might or might not leave with today.
But in any event, this all or nothing 100% learned behavior, can be dangerous for us women. Us women who have been told OVER and OVER that in order to be accepted by the society we live in, we must weigh less, take up less space, and make our life’s goal be about how we look and attract men VS making a difference and deciding individually how WE want to look.
This eating behavior that we have learned and been practicing for years of our lives, in my case 15+ years, has us ending up further frustrated with NOT being able to lose weight because we can’t stick to a diet or foods that we are told to eat because they are “good” or “bad”. It stops us and it ruins our chances from making any real progress toward our health goals. NO matter what those health goals are.
So, what can we do to create a better experience with our health goals? Take our goals to the next level or actually START achieving them AND from a healthier mental space? Or just have a better relationship with our bodies for the first time? Or maybe see food in a saner way?!
Well, you know the first line of defense is to ALWAYS to be aware. It truly is step 1 for any change my friends.
You MUST recognize that you are doing this, that this is your language and that it isn’t helping you. If anything, it has kept you from moving forward because this mindset has created for you a thought of eating this is good and eating this is bad. It no doubt has made your health worse. Helped you to gain weight instead of lose it or maintain it because nobody wants to eat salad for eternity.
Perhaps It’s messed up your gut, making eating certain foods terrible to eat over others. Bloated much? Maybe it’s made you feel so tired all the time. It’s STOPPED you from living your life fully without fear or weight gain all because you ATE a piece of cake or some candy while you had a good time out with friends.
But here is the thing with awareness, I can’t tell you, YOU have to tell you AND you have to see this in your life. You have to identify this is YOU too and start there.
Maybe you need to do some journaling to see this. Or maybe have a few days of living with what I have said already to REALLY see it. But start with SEEING, KNOWING, and understanding this is happening.
If you ARE aware maybe already or maybe now that I have pointed out and you are ready to start changing it, then you need to start reframing it. If you start to hear yourself say, “I am having a cheat meal” CUT that out. Recognize it and self-correct. Change it to NOT saying anything.
Or if your brain is going nuts like mine used to, you must simply say to yourself, “this is just food and I am going to eat this food. It is perfectly OK to eat this food that I am 100% in control of CHOOSING to eat and therefore I am also CHOOSING right now in this moment to enjoy it.”
The more you do this, the more relaxed you should feel. The less anxious you will become and the more ownership you take, leads to more control over your foods. And the more control and decisions we have over food, from a space of calm and being fully present, the more sustainable health goals can become.
Because when you aren’t ordering food from a place of deprivation or guilt or shame the less it will matter to you. The less it matters to you, the more neutral food becomes and the more neutral food becomes the less you want to “cheat” or eat crap you can’t have BECAUSE you just allow it all.
There is no special day. There is no deprivation. It’s all just food and it’s just you living your life around food being the badass I know you can be!
NOW, although this is SO transformative, this also isn’t the end all and be all to this issue. This is an amazing step forward to the rest of your life FREE from diet culture. And If you have been dieting for years, like I did, then you will have to practice this step A LOT and be patient with yourself.
Remember, being in a rush is a deeper symptom you need to address and it’s another common diet behavior. So read my blog, listen to my podcast (click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts) and keep moving forward.
And if you want help. You know you need guidance and are ready to invest in the rest of your life with your time and effort for THE last time, then message me on social, email me or reach out. I am always here. I can help you to start the journey to a healthier relationship with food and your body…ALL by ditching diet culture!
Have an amazing week my friends.
With Nourishing Love,