Sadly, a dieters mindset tends to be devoid of self-kindness
Yes, you may feel good sometimes, but that tends to be only when you have had a “good day” or when the scales show a loss, or even better a very good loss.
It is also what is called a fixed mindset, one that is very rigid, full of rules with very little flexibility. The rules tend to be:
- Food is either good or bad
- You have either been good or bad
- If you are have eaten ‘bad’ food, you deserve to feel bad
- If you have eaten ‘good’ food, and have been ‘good’ you will feel good
- You can’t be happy if you are overweight
- You will be happy when you are slim
- The only way to motivate yourself to change is by being mean and very self-critical
- You hate your body and examine it to be critical as you begin your day, or you ignore it and pretend it’s not there
- when you go out to eat, you decide what to eat based on whether you are having a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ day
There are many more and I am sure you have some of your own. I am not sure how you feel when you see them written down and some or none may resonate with you.
I want you to ask yourself some honest questions
1. Would you suggest someone you love learns to think that way?
2. Has the above worked as a strategy for achieving your weight and health goals?
What if There Was a Different Way?
A way of being that meant your first thought of the day wasn’t what you had eaten the day before or what you were going to eat that day, where you didn’t dread seeing old friends or going to a wedding or on holiday because you don’t like the way you look?
A way where you stopped looking for and going on the next “new diet” on the block that promised to be the one that would answer all your prayers… only to discover a few months later, you ended feeling as you always do.
How many diets have you been on?
When you stop now and counted up the hours, days and months of your life, you have spent thinking about, crying about, being angry about, what you have eaten and what you look like……isn’t it time now to stop now and decide never again, enough is enough.
I know that in almost every other area of your life you are creative, innovative, resourceful, emotionally intelligent, resilient and flexible in your behaviours; if something isn’t working, you do something else instead.
Except when it comes to weight, food and dieting.
It’s no surprise really; the weight loss industry, the food industry, and some health professionals and dieticians collude with the belief that the answer is to eat less and move more.
The message is loud and clear if you don’t succeed this way, it’s your fault, not the diet.
If you tried harder, had more willpower, were stronger, you too would succeed.
And these messages are strong and coming from those in authority so you think it must be true. The only problem is that they are not true, not for all – not even for most.
What is the answer?
The answer to why not is simple… diets only respond to a symptom, the eating. They don’t explore why we are eating and why it can be challenging to stop or make different choices.
I am not a dietician and this is not another diet dressed up to not look like a diet.
My focus is on your relationship with you, not your relationship with food… and how kind you are to yourself.
If you answered no to the earlier question of sharing a dieter’s mindset to someone you love… take a few moments now and think ‘why not’?
I am guessing it’s because you wouldn’t want someone you love to think, feel and behave towards themselves the way you do.
Having a dieter’s mindset causes high levels of stress and shame, which in turn causes you to eat.
So, regardless of what other things in your life you may find stressful before you even think about managing them you already have high levels of stress which are being driven by what you think and feel about yourself, your weight and being on a diet.
How Can I Help You Do It Differently?
Having undertaken extensive research, exploring why diets don’t work and more importantly exploring and being curious about if not dieting, then what, I realised that all the evidence pointed to a need to create a way that responded directly to the underpinning triggers – a way based on kindness and compassion.
Underpinned by self-compassion and shame resilience I have created a new mindset, a different way of relating to yourself and your body.
A way of being that is fuelled by kindness and one which brings down your stress responses and leaves you feeling calmer.
In that calmer state, you’re able to access your creativity, imagination and be so much more resourceful.
Imagine having your own toolkit to use daily which enables you to become more curious and creative in exploring and discovering how to nourish yourself with kindness from the inside out and become slimmer, happier and healthier in all areas of your life.
That’s the kindness mindset and it’s the only real way to break the dieter’s mindset, for good.
After nearly 36 years of being on a diet, Z contacted me as she wanted to find a different way and had had enough of not only being either on or off a diet but also feeling stressed and generally not happy.
She said that regardless of what else was going on in her life, the thing that took pride of place every day was what she ate, what she weighed and what diet she would follow.
She was also aware that she was very self-critical and described herself as being a ‘people-pleasing perfectionist’.
We worked together for 5 weeks and in that time she was able to gain some clarity on how her high levels of self-criticism along with the unhelpful and unconscious ideas she had programmed about dieting and food, were leading to her being very stressed.
The high level of stress was, in turn, one of the main triggers for her eating.
When she began to practice being kinder to herself and let go of being on a diet -instead, beginning to nourish herself with kindness, she felt calmer and happier than she had in a long time.