Diet mentality is the product of diet culture and diet culture is everywhere so most people don’t even realise that their mindset is unhealthy – I didn’t, until fairly recently!
Diet culture is the culture we live in; you cannot avoid it. In our culture, women’s worth is measured based on their size and shape and one of the core beliefs is that losing weight will make us healthy, happy and confident. How good we feel about ourselves is based on our size and weight, meaning that most women feel not good enough most of the time and believe that if they could just lose a little weight they would feel better.
Diet mentality is characterised by an unhealthy relationship with food – food is a weight management tool (as is exercise), some foods are guilt-free while others are ‘synful’, you start a diet regularly, counting or measuring every bite you eat, only to ‘fall off the wagon’ again and binge eating like you’ve never seen food before.
Along with this goes a very unhealthy relationship with your body. You might hate your body or some parts of it, you feel it’s not good enough and you need to change it in order to be happy with yourself.
Furthermore, you’ve also lost connection with your body and can no longer rely on your own intuition and body’s wisdom to guide you. You might never feel hungry, you cannot tell what your body needs, you feel tired, achy or just generally not great all the time, and you’re often disappointed with your body when it seems to let you down by eg not responding to a diet the way you think it should. You never listen to your body – when was the last time you asked your body how it feels or what it needs? Because of this disconnection, you feel confused and don’t know what to do, so you drift from one programme to another, easily falling for the latest fad, failing to find something that works for you.
See how many of these you agree with:
- How my body looks (size/shape) is one of my main concerns in life – I think about it a lot and invest a lot of time, money and energy in it
- I focus on how my body looks far more than my mental and emotional well-being – often even at the expense of my mental and emotional wellbeing
- My focus is always on a future goal, such as weight loss, getting fit or toning my body, and I exercise or try to control my diet in order to reach that goal
- I see food and exercise as weight management tools – I’m always aware of how the food I’m eating might impact my weight, whether it’s good or bad
If you said yes to any or all of these, you have a diet mindset.
The important thing to realise is that it is not your fault that you have a diet mindset – just like everyone else, you’re a product of a culture that’s obsessed with women’s weight and appearances. You grew up in this culture and you’re bombarded with these messages 24/7 so how could you have a healthier mindset? You had no chance. Once you become aware of it, and accept it, however, you can start letting go of it and that’s exciting!
The good news is that you CAN break free from this mindset, fairly easily, in fact. Join one of my courses or contact me about Feel Good Mindset coaching if you need help!