As a food freedom coach, I always preach throwing away your diet mentality and embracing a life of food freedom. While you journey from dieting to food freedom, it is important to recognize when you the diet mentality is taking over. Below, I've listed some important differences between the two.
When you are stuck in a diet mentality, you may find yourself saying I "can't" have dessert after dinner or I "shouldn't" eat past 7pm. Whatever diet you are trying to stick to, there will be rules that leave you feeling like you can't or shouldn't eat certain foods. For example, the Paleo diet says that you can't eat grains. If you are following this diet, you may look at bread and say I "can't" eat that. When you restrict certain foods and tell yourself that you "can't" eat them, it inevitably makes you want more of that forbidden food. If you have a food freedom mentality, you know that you can have certain foods but sometimes you choose to not have them. Let's look at the Paleo diet example. You may actually feel better when you do not eat grains but you never tell yourself you can't have them. You may be craving a pancake or toast at breakfast and you allow yourself to enjoy that grain even though you know your body operates better without grains. Since you are allowing yourself these foods, you no longer want to binge on them or "cheat" on your diet.
There are so many phrases associated with diet mentalities. A few popular ones are "cheat days", "good food", "bad food", "I did good today", "I had a good week so I am not going to care on the weekend". If you find yourself thinking these things, you are still stuck in a diet mentality. Living with a food freedom mentality means you eat what you want, whenever you want. This means there are no cheat days and there is no good or bad food. There is just food and you do not associate eating healthy with certain days of the week. Food freedom means eating a doughnut on a Tuesday morning and not feeling like you ruined your week of healthy eating. Food freedom means eating a salad at dinner on Saturday night because you feel like your body needs it.
Living a life of food freedom also means letting go of any calorie counting, macronutrient counting, and meal timing. If you are going to totally let go of your diet mentality, you have to let go of the above.
Life cannot be lived when you are constantly counting and constantly timing your meals out. Practice listening to your body. Allow yourself whatever it is craving. Trust me, having no rules will not lead you to eating everything and anything in sight. It will actually do the opposite.
Learn to trust your body again, it will be the best decision you've ever made.