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  • Writer's pictureCarly Onopa

Riot Not Diet - Rejecting the Diet Mentality

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Rejecting the diet mentality is a starting point for intuitive eating.

What is the Diet Mentality?

Spoiler alert: You don't have to be on a diet to perpetuate or be harmed by the diet mentality. The diet mentality is the mentality that there is one way to have a body and that all people should be striving to look like that one body. In the American culture this can vary, but most often it's played out in the "thin ideal."

Are you wondering if diet culture has impacted your life... chances are it has. Take my quick quiz below to see if you have been a victim of diet culture.

  1. Has anyone praised you for your body or your weight loss?

  2. Have you felt "less than" because someone was thinner than you?

  3. Has someone made assumptions about your health behaviors based on your body size?

  4. Has a healthcare professional given you a diet and weight loss plan when you were visiting for other health concerns?

  5. Have you ever been told you need to "watch what you eat"?

If you can say "yes" to any of these questions, you have been attacked by diet culture.

What's the Harm?

Think of the last diet or wellness bout you went on. What led you to that point? How did you feel on that diet? What happened after the diet? How did you feel after the diet ended? Did it completely change your life? Has it sustained that life change?

My guess is...probably not. Dieting is not sustainable. Dieting is typically founded on: restricting nutrition, increasing physical activity, "eat this, not that" food rules that research shows is associated with:

  • Food and body preoccupation

  • Lowered self esteem

  • Poor body image

  • Food cravings

  • Feeling of deprivation

  • Increased risk for disordered eating behaviors

  • Increased risk for an eating disorder

  • Lowered metabolism

  • Weight regain/cycling

Dieting hurts...period. It has the ability to hurt you physically, socially, and psychologically.

Ready to heal?

As an anti-diet (and pro-health) dietitian, I help people identify the impact that dieting has had in their lives. I then help them walk along the path towards intuitive eating by encouraging these steps for healing:

  1. Acknowledge the role that dieting and/or weight loss pursuits have played in your life

  2. Get real about the cost of dieting in your life

  3. Grieve the release of letting go of the fantasy of weight loss and a perfect body

  4. Cultivate self compassion to heal from the mean barbs of diet culture

  5. Identify tools that linger long after the diet has gone and systematically eliminate them

This can be a rocky path. I encourage walking it with support from an intuitive eating clinician to help steer you through the diet culture pitfalls as you work on healing yourself and your relationship with your food and body.

I'd love to hear from you! How has diet culture impacted your life? What has helped you heal?

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