Free yourself from ‘diet’ mentality
We live in a culture that demonises fatness and worships thinness. I call this ‘diet culture’, and we’re all saturated with it on a daily basis. Our minds absorb diet culture messages like sponges, and over time we internalise these messages – they become our own thoughts.
Many people are stuck in diet mentality, always trying to lose weight, or feeling that they should be trying to lose weight. This leads to thoughts that their food should be restricted in some way.
People stuck in diet mentality are very preoccupied with thoughts of food. They’re always thinking about their next meal, planning what they’re going to eat (or not going to eat), or feeling panicked about craving foods they ‘shouldn’t’ be eating as they’re not allowed on their meal plans.
Quitting dieting is without a doubt the best way to ditch the guilt and food rules. Give yourself full permission to enjoy the abundance of food in the world, and pledge to let your body guide you, rather than the multitude of weight loss messages.
Forget ‘good’ and bad’
The problem with labelling foods as ‘bad’ or not permitted is that these are food rules. Humans do not like food rules – the more we think we shouldn’t have a certain food, the more likely we are to think about it frequently and to crave it. This is a psychological, human truth.
The other part of this is demonising food – attributing it a moral value. Food is neither good nor bad. It doesn’t rob banks. Some foods have fewer nutritional benefits than others, but this doesn’t make them ‘bad’.
When we moralise foods, we exaggerate the importance of any one food choice, create dramatic, black and white thinking, and we run the risk of extending this moralising to ourselves (I ate a 'bad' food, therefore I am a 'bad' person). We can change this pattern by doing our best to see all food as simply food: edible.
Break the binge and restrict cycle
Probably the most common unhealthy pattern I see is people straining to always 'be good’ on their diet, and frequently ‘busting’ – by eating all of the foods they think they’re not supposed to be eating.
People get stuck in these patterns, because after a binge or after breaking the diet rules, people try to fix their mistake by restricting – which of course sets them up for another round of the diet merry-go-round. Binge eating is never ‘cured’ by dieting. It’s trying to restrict that keeps these patterns going.