I used to tell myself that I was living a healthy lifestyle and NOT dieting. I used to tell myself that following all of those food rules was making me happy because i was taking care of my body. I used to tell myself that the issues I had around food was because I lacked willpower. I used to think that I would forever be dealing with guilt and anxiety around food.
I basically lied to myself and said I was not on a diet for good part of my early twenties. Any time I would turn down food that was on my “do not eat list”, I would justify it by saying that I was taking care of my body. Although my intentions were in the right place, my body never truly thrived.
Turning down snacks at the office or a piece of my own birthday cake made me feel good at first, but eventually I felt deprived and unhappy. My body and my life never truly thrived during this time period because I was too obsessed with food rules to have any mental space for anything else.
I was constantly worried about counting calories, timing my meals, and and portioning macronutrients to ever think about the dreams I had for my life. I was too paranoid about all things food related to ever notice the opportunities that were directly in front of me. Opportunities to travel, opportunities for my career, opportunities to meet new people, opportunities to learn more about myself. Instead of focusing my attention on things that truly mattered, I was thinking about food and my body 24/7 because I was stuck in a diet mentality.
Diet culture tells us that we need to eat a certain way in order to be healthy. Diet culture tells us our bodies need to look a certain way in order to be beautiful. Diet culture fills our minds every day because there are STILL celebrities endorsing fad diets and hunger suppression pills. Our social media is flooded with messages telling us what to eat and how to look and it’s time you stop listening.
How many times have you told yourself that you’re not dieting, you’re just living a healthy lifestyle? How many times have you felt guilty, overexercised, or restricted your food because you ate something “bad”?
If you’re still feeling guilty about your food choices or if you still think you need to “work off” the extra calories you consumed, you are living in a diet mentality. It is not easy to turn off the rules you’ve been following for so long, but you need to take it day by day. There is a growing number of influencers out there who are promoting intuitive eating instead of dieting and body acceptance instead of body hate. Take advantage of the stories and the resources that are out there for you to grow and find your way to food freedom.