In preparation for this article, I went online to find out how many adults are on a diet at any given time. I found that anywhere from 20% to almost 50% of people, particularly women, are dieting at this very moment. Unfortunately, that wasn’t very surprising considering how much diet talk I hear around me in the lunchroom at work. The shocker came when I read that most 10 year-olds have been on a diet. Being a 10 year-old used to mean playing at the park and jumping rope, but that has since transformed into worrying about weight and developing eating disorders at a younger age. This was not just shocking, it was heartbreaking.
But why are so many people, even young people, drawn to dieting, a practice that can do psychological, emotional, and physical harm? The answer is diet mentality. Our society has been manipulated by the dieting industry for years, leading to misery for us and piles of money for them. Their marketing makes us believe that when we buy their products will we lose weight and then be beautiful and loved. Like you, I completely fell for it and threw myself into dieting. Unfortunately for me, my innocent diet slowly grew into an eating disorder.
When I decided that I needed to do away with diet mentality in order to recover from my eating disorder, I thought it would be simple. It wasn’t until I actually began to jot down all of my diet mentality thoughts did I realize that those thoughts were probably more frequent than sex thoughts are for teenage boys. I was thinking about dieting all the time because the dieting world, with its subtle and twisted messages, had trapped me.
I want to share with you some of my diet mentality in hopes that it may bring to light some of your own thoughts. This is not an all-encompassing list, but these were the frequent fliers in my mind.
Diet mentality is….
- counting calories
- having food rules
- having exercise rules
- exercising so I can eat
- obsessing about the number on the scale
- believing that if I were thinner all of my problems would disappear and life would be perfect
- punishing myself being “bad” by restricting the next day
- feeling guilty when eating “bad” foods and feeling proud when eating “good” foods
- thinking that I was fat when I wasn’t
- eating only at designated times
- desiring the body of someone I saw in the media
- having to clean my plate so I wasn’t wasting money or food
- avoiding social situations because I didn’t know the calories of the food available
- eating only at restaurants that displayed the calorie counts
- eating only “good” foods in front of others because I didn’t want them to think less of me if I ate anything that would be considered unhealthy
- skipping cake on my birthday because it wasn’t part of my diet1
Thanks to the dieting industry, these thoughts were part of my life for years and unpacking them was no small feat. Although seeing a dietitian and a therapist was an integral part of my recovery, I suffered during each and every session early on. I did get through it though and now I can say that I no longer contribute to dieting statistics and diet mentality thoughts are all but banished from my mind.2
What diet mentality thoughts do you have? Please share in the comment section below.
1I could go on, but I doubt you want to read a short novel.
2I am human and these thoughts do pop up from time to time. When they do, I bust out my mental hammer and squash them immediately!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I am honored that you chose to read about my experience.
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