A bad diet mentality is dangerous to your physical and mental health.
Have you ever pinched your trouble spots and called yourself fat or worse?
Or had a whole day ruined after looking at the scale?
When you talk to yourself, every cell in your body is listening. Your mind is powerful. As you believe, so you will become.
According to research from Syracuse University, you are more likely to avoid exercise if you are dissatisfied with your body.
Stressful thoughts about yourself or the food you’re eating triggers cortisol. Cortisol is the muffin top hormone. It causes you to store extra weight around your middle.
The more negative your thoughts about yourself, the more likely you are to fail when trying to lose weight.
You’re more likely to make healthy choices when you’re gentle with yourself.
Focus on the importance of your health to every aspect of your life and watch your healthy choices grow.
How to Change Your Diet Mentality for Weight Loss Success
I’m thrilled to write about diet mentality with Beth Ann from The Life of a Navy Nuke Wife. She blogs about social anxiety, habit building, and a positive mindset. The connection between your health and mindset is vital. We all struggle with many negative mindsets. Keep reading to find out how to conquer them.
From Beth Ann…
On my blog, I talk a lot about mindset, and I think weight loss and mindset go hand in hand.
When you feel like you can’t do it, or you feel like you’re starving yourself, you’re never going to succeed.
So let’s chat about “diet mentality”, what it is, how to avoid it, and how to re-frame your mind from a negative mindset to a positive one.
Why Having A Diet Mindset Is A Bad Thing
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype about weight loss. It’s easy to say “I want to lose ten pounds” vs. actually losing ten pounds. They’re two totally different things.
There is so much information out there for us to consume about weight loss. It can quickly become overwhelming.
- Counting Carbs
- Weight Watchers
- Carb Cycling
- Intermittent Fasting
It’s hard to know what’s right for you and what’s not. How can we decide what to implement when everything is the BEST THING EVER for weight loss?
The typical diet mindset is all about beating our bodies into submission and quick fixes. These thoughts can create unhealthy habits. Ditch the typical mindset and develop a healthy mindset about weight loss instead.
What is a Diet Mindset?
A dieting mindset is when you focus solely on weight loss. It’s not eating a more balanced diet, but about losing weight as quickly as you can.
This extreme line of thinking creates obsessions with burning fat, counting calories, and trying extreme diets. It leads to unhealthy habits, low energy, over-exertion, eating disorders, or worse.
A Better Diet Mentality
To avoid these pitfalls, it’s important to take getting healthy slowly. One habit at a time.
Make a list of what you believe are unhealthy habits, and then gradually improve each one.
When I started clean eating, I had a few rules I was going to follow.
- No more eating out of boxes.
- No more drinking tons of calories.
- Only eat out for special occasions.
Healthy Eating Rule #1 – No More Eating Out of Boxes
I found a clean eating meal plan to follow the first week and put my menu together easily.
I didn’t have to think about what we were going to eat.
Then during the week, every time I found a delicious looking meal on Pinterest, I added it to my bookmarks so I would have easy access to it.
TIP: If you use Chrome, you can synchronize your tabs and bookmarks onto your phone, tablet, and computer. Make a bookmark folder for the foods you want to try.
If you try one you don’t like, remove it. Easy peasy!
Healthy Eating Rule #2 – No More Drinking Lot of Calories
The second rule was difficult.
Drinking milk with every meal, brings me so much comfort.
I decided to substitute water for milk. If I still craved milk, I would take my dog for a walk.
This worked great for me! Water satisfied my thirst.
Often, when I craved milk, it was because I was in the kitchen and bored.
My dog got a lot of walks that first month.
When you think about weight loss, think of it as a journey.
Following a super strict diet, losing weight quickly, and then not being able to sustain the diet and gaining the weight back is heartbreaking.
Think sustainability. You want to set yourself up for success by giving yourself time and patience.
Healthy Eating Rule #3 – Only Eat Out for Special Occasions
I found that only eating out for special occasions had a two-fold effect. First, when we did eat out, I was able to indulge without guilt, because it was a rare treat.
Secondly, eating out for a special meal meant we were eating at a restaurant where the food was usually less processed. Gone were the fast-food indulgences that racked up calories quickly.
Take it Slowly
You didn’t gain weight overnight. It took time.
Give yourself grace. It will take time for your body to adapt to this new lifestyle.
Begin by eating healthier and moving every day. Then your weight will start regulating to a healthy level.
Restrictive dieting is no way to live your life. The term yo-yo dieting comes to mind. You need to get rid of this bad diet mindset to make room for the positive mindset changes you’ll need to see lasting results.
Accept That Weight Loss Won’t Solve All Your Problems
Losing weight is fantastic.
It can boost your self-esteem, improve your health, and prevent nutrition and obesity-related diseases.
But if weight loss is just about being skinny, you could find yourself making some unhealthy eating decisions.
It’s important to be realistic about your weight loss goals and focus on improving your health along with losing extra pounds.
How to Develop a Patient Diet Mindset
Many people struggle to break free from a cycle of overeating and inactivity because they find it is engrained in their belief system about themselves.
Trying and failing to lose weight can create an awful cycle where you are ridden with negativity and self-doubt.
Negative comments can shape the way you see yourself, and the way you think society sees you.
Be kind to yourself, it may take some time to change your thought patterns. Remind yourself of all the good decisions you make every day.
How Food Journaling Helps With Your Positive Mindset
I am a big fan of journaling, and getting to the bottom of my feelings. I try to ask myself “why” as much as I can and get to my deeper feelings.
With my food journal, I like to write about my eating environment, what I ate, and how I felt while eating.
Here is an example from my food journal:
Bowl of cereal:
Why did I eat this? I felt hungry for something, and when I looked into the fridge I couldn’t find anything that jumped out at me.
Why didn’t I try to make something? Nothing looked appealing.
Why was it really not appealing? I was worried I wouldn’t have time to make something and eat it.
Why wouldn’t I have the time to eat it? My children would need something while I was cooking and I would lose track of time.
What can I do better? Cut up an apple with peanut butter for tomorrow’s snack instead of raiding the fridge.
I didn’t want to eat that bowl of cereal. I remember hiding in the kitchen and eating it in the corner. The fact that I was hiding was a red flag. I felt I had made a bad choice. Journaling helped me see why.
It’s not that I was just hungry. I needed a break from my children, and I didn’t have a good plan for a snack.
Food journaling helps you make better plans for the next time you’re in the same situation.
How To Reframe Your Thoughts For Weight Loss
Weight loss isn’t the easiest thing to do. Staying motivated can be a mental and emotional struggle. It’s easy to fall into a negative mindset where you tell yourself, “I can’t do it.” “It’s too hard.” “It will never happen.”
People who not only lose the weight but keep it off, often say that it was their positive mindset that kept them going on the days when they wanted to give up. Sometimes, those bad days turn into weeks and a positive mindset gives you the strength to say, “That’s okay. I will learn from this and tomorrow will be better.”
Here are some things you can do to develop a healthy weight loss mindset.
Find Long-Term Reasons to Lose Weight
Maybe you miss your favorite outfit. Maybe you want to wear a bikini this summer. Or you have a high school reunion coming up. You know your frenemy will say something if you’re overweight and you want to show her you can be skinny too.
These are good reasons, but will they help you in the long term? What happens after the reunion? What motivation will you have to stay fit?
For a mindset shift, make a list of as many benefits as you can think of. Even benefits that will affect you years and years from now.
Maybe you want to play with your kids more, or dance at their weddings, or maybe you have a fear of needles and you want to do everything you can to avoid diabetes.
These are all healthy reasons to lose weight and can keep you motivated even when it is hard to make choices for your health.
Your short term goals are important, but long term goals will keep you on track after your short term goals come and go.
Accept Your Body As It Is Now
This seems a little silly, doesn’t it? You want to change your body, why should you love it now?
Because you only get one. This goes back to the healthy mindset we were talking about. Your body has done amazing things for you, and it is important to appreciate it.
Loving what you have now will make your love grow later when you see how much stronger you’ve gotten. You can look back proudly at what you have done and what your body is capable of.
Hating your body only messes with your mind. You’ll start talking down to yourself which destroys your self-esteem and can bring chaos to your motivation. You won’t want to get up and go for a walk if you feel like your body is a failure.
Love and appreciate the body you have now.
Compliment your body every day, when you get to a place of acceptance, you’ll have a much easier time losing weight.
Focus On Habits, Not Diets
At the end of the day, a diet is simply a way of eating. You have to eat to live, so instead of restricting all of your favorite foods and going down a road of feeling hungry and unsatisfied, try to think about all the foods you CAN eat.
How you lose weight should be how you want to eat for the rest of your life.
Do you recognize any of these negative mindsets? Have you had success re-framing a negative belief? Please share, I would love to hear how you encourage yourself while making healthy choices.
I’m Beth Ann, a mom with three silly hooligans who are always getting into trouble. Mindset, social anxiety, and parenting are my jam. You can find me at www.thelifeofanavynukewife.com