What Role Does the Diet Mentality Play in Your Eating?

Did you know that the first principle of Intuitive Eating is “Reject the Diet Mentality”?

This step is critical because having a dieter’s mindset disconnects you from your body's wisdom, including your own internal cues that tell you what, when, and how much to eat.

When you operate with a diet mentality, you eat according to external sources and rules (e.g., calories, points, macros, good/bad foods, fixed schedule, etc.) rather than honoring your body’s needs, desires and preferences.

Restricting the timing, amount, and type of food you eat is not intuitive, sustainable, flexible, pleasurable or empowering.

Ultimately, having a diet mentality erodes your ability to trust your body and your instincts, and negatively impacts your physical and psychological wellbeing.

Diet vs. Non-Diet Mentality
Even if you aren’t on an official diet or have never dieted, your eating may still be influenced by the diet mentality considering our pervasive, insidious diet culture. It’s the voice in your head that sounds like this:

Diet Mentality

In contrast, the non-diet mentality—that is, the Intuitive Eater voice—sounds like this:

Non-Diet Mentality

  • Am I hungry?

  • What sounds yummy and nourishing?

  • Do I want this particular food?

  • Will I feel deprived if I don’t eat it?

  • Will this food satisfy and sustain me?

  • Is this tasty? Does it hit the spot?

  • I trust my body to tell me what it needs.

  • I listen to and honor my hunger and cravings.

  • I deserve to enjoy eating without guilt.

  • I can have anything. What do I want?

  • Food is a source of energy, pleasure and nourishment.

Where do you stand with the diet mentality?

This Feels Scary!
Rejecting the diet mentality can feel pretty scary, especially if you’ve been trapped in this mindset for a long time. You may fear that if you let it go, you’ll lose control, eat “badly,” never stop eating, and completely go to pot.

These fears are totally understandable.

In time, however, they will start to fade as you realize that it's the diet mindset—the deprivation, restriction, micro-management, hyper-vigilance, moralism—that prevents you from having a peaceful, intuitive relationship with food and your body.

Your fears will further subside as you reconnect with your inner signals—your hunger, fullness, desires and satisfaction—and rediscover that your body is the only guide you need when it comes to nourishing yourself.

Source: Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program the Works, E. Tribole & E. Resch