Living by intuitive eating principle 1, reject the diet mentality, means not wanting to diet, not wanting to restrict yourself, not wanting to exercise more in order to eat more, not wanting to be thinner to be a better or more valuable or loveable version of yourself.
This is the first of the 10 principles of intuitive eating for a reason. If you are still striving for these things, you are still going to be in a restriction mindset, and while your mind is wanting you to restrict you cannot be intuitive in your eating. Why is this? Let’s start at the beginning.
To become an intuitive eater we first have to totally reject the diet culture. If you still have the idea that you want to diet in the back of your head you can’t truly lean into IE. I’m not saying that is easy, but to become an intuitive eater you need to park that for now.
Diet culture is all those messages around us that tell us we’re not good enough as we are. You might be surprised when you start to look into it just how much of this stuff is around us, just there, in the background, being soaked up by our subconscious.
They tell us to lose weight, change the way you look, be smaller, be thinner.
These messages are in magazines, tv ads, tv programmes, social media, and even in conversation with friends and family.
The world around us is not kind to people in bigger bodies so this adds to you feeling like you should conform. Waiting rooms often have seats with arms, which are uncomfortable for fat people. Seat belts on planes are limited so you have to ask for an extender. People have expectations of how you live your life – are you lazy, or greedy etc. Health care is often not what you’d like it to be – lack of suitable size equipment, lesser quality care from medical staff, doctors etc, and the advice is often to lose weight.
These messages all filter into your head and you start to believe them, so it really is hard to start to reject the diet mentality. It can’t be easy with all of that around you.
But to me, these messages are a form of discrimination. Just as you wouldn’t expect people to change their height, hair colour, race, or disability, we shouldn’t expect people to change their body shape or size. We feel the need to diet in order to achieve those things, but we need to question that.
Diets sell us the dream life, which in reality doesn’t exist. Are you ‘better’ when you’re thinner? Are you happier? Are you actually fitter? Are you really healthier? Most of those changes come from other behaviours like more movement in your life, or the variety of food that you eat, not due to dieting. After all, thinner people can have health and wellbeing issues too, right?
How many diets have you actually done and what were the results of those diets? Did you really achieve your dream lifestyle because of it? Many don’t work, or they work in the short term and then they slow down. There is no research that shows long term weight loss is maintained past 2-5 years.
Diets are also often actually very stressful. They make life tricky. They make you think about food all day. They make you track everything. They don’t fit in with family life, social events etc. They can be expensive – think of all the meetings, special foods, shakes, magazines and other promotional materials you’ve bought.
They often ruin your love of a certain food. Do you now eat less bread or cheese for example, because they are now thought of as bad? Do you eat less fruit and vegetables now because you had to eat so many while on a diet.
All diets rely on restriction and unreasonable rules. They don’t allow food groups or types of food. Think keto, sugar free, fat free, and the less obvious – like cutting out things we like, like bread or chocolate. Or maybe they encourage eating at a certain time of day only, eating but only if you exercise enough, or eating a set amount of a food and having limits on quantities in the form of points or syns. On your diet can you really eat anything you want when they say that?
And diets don’t take into account your genetics, your socio-economic status, health conditions and disabilities, your metabolism, your history of weight stigma and weight cycling, gender, your upbringing, your food preferences. Did you know that there are over 100 genes that control body shape and size before we’re even born?
Dieting is trying to fight that. It tries to fight your DNA, your genetics, Mother Nature. It’s no wonder the body tries to rebel after a while and stops losing weight.
So now that you have a better understanding of why diets fail you, you can see that it is time to reject the diet mentality – let go of the drive to lose weight, and to change your body. It’s time to stop the restriction and embrace the new more positive relationship that you’re going to have with food.
I’m here to help, support and guide you.
Book a free 30 minute session with me and I’ll help you to find a way to start working with the 10 principles of intuitive eating.
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I’m here to help you to get rid of the stress and worry around food, eat more intuitively, and find compassion and love for your body, whatever shape or size it is.
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