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What is diet mentality? Why is it something we want to break away from?

Diet mentality is believing that foods hold moral value and are 'good' or 'bad'. Diet mentality is a fantasy that chases after weight loss as a path to happiness and acceptance. Diet mentality disconnects people from their body's internal signals, creating distrust and an unhealthy relationship with food. Diet mentality is judging what you and others eat. Diet mentality is the disguise of health and wellbeing, but can actually be more harm than good.

Diet mentality are all of your thoughts, beliefs and therefore behaviours surrounding food, health, weight and your way of eating (diet). Diet mentality stems from diet culture, which stems from the multi-million dollar diet industry which was originally fuelled by big pharmaceutical companies (with the sales of prescription obesity drugs).


Diet culture puts the blame on you, it says you failed, you didn’t have enough willpower, you’re the problem. Actually, that is not true, there are biological and psychological reasons why intentional weight loss diets do not work. Your amazing body is built to counter famine and keep you alive and therefore adapt to intentional weight loss.

First, let's remember that the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2019, the US weight loss and diet market was worth $72 Billion alone, and continues to grow.

A popular research study from 1959 shows that over 95% of diets fail.

Another research paper from 2013 reviewed all of the studies ever done on weight loss, they found only 20 that were randomised controlled trials that lasted for at least 2 years. They concluded that there is very little evidence that intentional weight loss diets lead to long-term weight loss or long-term health benefits.

Research also shows that dieting is predictor of weight gain, if you’re someone who’s dieted before and found that you not only regained your weight but put more on, you’re not alone.

5 Ways To Shift Away From Diet Mentality

Here are 5 things you can do to help you let go of diet culture and slowly shift away from diet mentality.

1. Stop engaging in diet culture

Turning your back on diets and diet culture doesn’t mean you’re throwing health out of the window. It’s actually putting true health back in focus. Where a lot of diets and diet mentality focusses way too much on weight and on what the body looks like, true health is when you have physical health, psychological health and emotional health.

We can't eliminate diet culture from the world, but you do have the choice to engage or not engage with it. Think about your choice of media, your social media world and educate yourself more on diet culture.

2. Stop weighing yourself obsessively

The scales do not deserve to have so much power over people, it should not be dictating whether you feel happy or sad, or good or bad.

Weighing yourself obsessively fuels diet mentality, so stop weighing yourself every day or even every week.

3. Stop counting calories

Our bodies are designed to tell us when we have enough fuel or when we don’t have enough fuel. So when we obsessively count calories we disconnect from our body’s needs and gives power to a number that dictates whether we feel good or not.

By letting go of counting calories you can rebuild that trust by honouring your internal signals.

4. Stop seeing food as good or bad

Demonising food and placing moral value onto food stems from diet culture and when we have this belief we stop listening to what our bodies need and we feel guilt and shame for eating certain foods.

Removing that diet mindset will help you see all food as equal, you want to put all foods on an equal playing field and no food is better than another, they’re all just food.

5. Stop strict food rules or diet rules

Rules, such as low carb, low fat or intermittent fasting, disconnect you from your body and creates an unhealthy relationship with food.

Physical or psychological restriction of certain foods or entire food groups can in fact turn up your eating drive so you want to honour your internal signals, listen to your hunger and fullness and eat foods that honour satisfaction.

Master Meaningful Nutrition

Want to learn more about creating a healthy and balanced eating lifestyle? In my course, Master Meaningful Nutrition I have a whole module dedicated to building a healthier relationship with food. I talk about how to honour your internal signals with hunger and fullness, mindful eating, making peace with food and helping you to identify what you truly value when it comes to your health and wellbeing so that you have the tools to be able to nurture your mindset, your confidence and your everyday habits and behaviours in a healthy and balanced way.

Nutrition Coaching

For personalised 1:1 nutrition coaching - book a complimentary discovery call with Elly today.



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