IE: Reject the Diet Mentality

Posted by Jennifer Campoli on May 6th, 2010
Filed under intuitive eating | No Comments »

Afternoon friends!

After nearly 4 hours of running around Boston, downtown and Cambridge I am home! One of my biggest complaints about our subway system here in Boston is that there aren't enough lines! It takes way too long to get to certain places compared to other thriving systems such as NYC.

Anywho…enough complaining.

Last night I reread more of Intuitive Eating and decided that today would be the perfect day to discuss the first principle, which I find to be so fitting. So let's get started shall we?

Want to catch up on our IE discussion? Start here. Then here. Then here.

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality

"Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lie that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating."

How does that one sink in for ya?

When I first read this chapter I felt pretty low actually. It hit me like a ton of bricks: I was one of those girls who was always thinking, learning, and reading about diets. I was that girl who on the inside was planning her meals according to the new plan. I was always searching for what to do next. And I was always panicking. What even hurt more was realizing that this all came from the place where I had never accepted myself. Ever. That desire, that need to feel better, thinner, prettier (for whatever reason) is what always led me to think about the next step (or diet or meal or fitness plan).

There are so many things that I would love to discuss in this chapter but I'd like to focus on one in particular. It is called the Dieter's Dilemma. Here is the cycle of the dilemma:

Desire to be thin –> Dieting –> Cravings, reduced self control –> Loss of control, over eating –> Regain of lost weight

And this cycle repeats over and over and over again. Therein lies the dilemma. Dieting, restriction, a distorted relationship with food inevitably takes you to the same place.

Me and the dilemma used to be real close. Somedays I would rotate through the entire cycle twice! Wake up, restrict my food, smell french fries, feel frustrated and angry that I can't enjoy french fries, lose control of my "willpower" to not eat, EAT the french fries, overeat for the remainder of the day, gain weight, gain weight. Repeat please!

I can still remember all of the anxiety and stress that I would experience on a given day just because I couldn't stop this cycle. I couldn't calm my thoughts. I couldn't take control.

There are 3 steps suggested in rejecting the diet mentality. And the foundation of these steps is recognition and awareness.

1. You must be willing to recognize and acknowledge the damage that dieting causes.

I know we could talk facts and research here about what diets do to your biology and your health but no need for that. Let's be simple here: dieting hurts your body. Restricting your calories hurts your body. Any form of restriction teaches your body only one thing: TO NOT TRUST YOU! Any time you purposely remove foods or restrict calories, fat, carbs or whatever you decide to a level lower than necessary- your body prepares. Your body expects the depletion and it prepares for it. Hello weight gain, plateaus and minimal weight loss!

I claimed to be healthy. I ate what I thought was "well eating." But in actuality, every day I was hurting my body and destroying my health.

2. Awareness of diet mentality and thinking.

Diet thinking can be so subtle can't it? Just about everywhere you go- someone is telling you how to eat, what to eat and why. My day would begin and end with food, what it was made of, what I couldn't eat, when I could eat, what she must eat to stay that thin. I was consumed! I thought I was obedient and full of willpower. Food should have nothing to do with obedience or willpower. Food is care, health, nourishment, fuel. But I didn't experience that until I became aware of my thinking and focused everything on stopping it!

3. Get rid of the diet tools.

I got rid of my scales, tape measurers, diet books, calorie king books, old clothes that I was forever trying to fit into. I cleansed my entire home of diet tools- everything that contributed to the mentality. Oh how incredible did that feel! one and NOTHING could tell me whether I was doing well. I was ready to stand on my own two feet and learn how to love this body of mine.

In all honesty, this was not an easy principle to learn and live by. I wasn't ready for it at first because it was such a major over haul in my life! :) BUT…after reading the words in the book many times I knew this was one of the first steps for me to take. I had to close the door in my mind to the world of diets.

The best part of learning this principlet? I demolished that scale of mine. It didn't really resemble a scale when I took it out to the trash. :) How's that for anger release?

Alright friends. How have YOU been affected by diets? Would you say that your mind falls into the dieting mentality or has before? If so…what helped you let go?

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