Beware of the Diet Mentality

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I just read a great post on one of my favorite blogs, Medicinal Marzipan called

When How You Do Food Is How You Do Everything

MM’s point is that the diet mentality sets up the belief that you truly don’t deserve the food that you want to consume.  

“I want, but I do not deserve.

I long for _________, but that’s reserved for people who are ________ than me. “

 She goes to explain that this kind of thinking goes beyond just food for many of us who struggle with food and weight issues.  That many of us don’t deserve whatever we are truly longing for and don’t have.

Whoa . . . this really speaks to me.  First, I was struck by this on a food level.  This is the crux of why dieting becomes so hard.  When I deprive myself of what I really want to eat, I do become angry and resentful.  If I give in and eat whatever it is that I’m wanting,  then I feel frustrated that I didn’t stick to my commitment to not eat the forbidden food.  In the end, I don’t get to enjoy whatever it is that I’m longing for whether I eat it or not.  And the reason why I couldn’t have the food that I want or enjoy it when I do indulge is because I am flawed and lacking.  What a set up for failure!

So how can I change my eating habits to healthier food choices without setting myself up this way?  What popped up for me is how I transitioned out of drinking diet pop.  For as long as I can remember, diet pop has been my beverage of choice.   In the last few years, I came to the realization that the artificial sweeteners really aren’t good for me and that the way my body reacts to diet pop isn’t helping me lose weight.  About 18 months ago, I made it my goal to stop drinking diet pop.  Instead, I replaced diet pop with beverages that I liked:  juice and club soda, pop made with cane sugar, flavorful herbal and green iced teas, and LaCroix carbonated waters.  Gradually, I cut way back on the juices and cane sugar beverages until now I drink mostly calorie-free beverages.  I was never so strict with myself that I wouldn’t allow a diet pop if I really wanted one.  But in fact the few times that I had a diet pop, I really didn’t like it after not drinking it regularly.  I just don’t want it anymore. 

So maybe I need to replace foods that just aren’t good for me with healthier choices that I really like.  I need to be careful not to deny myself any food that I’m truly longing for.  By adding more healthy foods that I enjoy, I probably won’t want the unhealthy foods as often or as much. 

I also want to consider this notion beyond my food and eating.  I can imagine myself filling in the blanks with what I long for but feel undeserving.  I’ll bet there will some connections and aha’s for me.

But I’ll chew on that another day.

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