Does this sound familiar to you?
Even though you may regularly be eating previously forbidden foods, so you’re not physically dieting, in your mind, you shouldn’t be. In your mind, you should stop eating it or certainly eat waaaaaay less of it.
These are the kinds of sneaky thoughts that show up:
- You’ve already had a piece of cake today (yesterday/ last week), you don’t need more sugar
- You’ve just had a biscuit; you’ve satisfied your craving; that’s enough – you don’t need another
- If you want to look ‘good’ for your holiday/wedding/special occasion, stick to one serving
- It’s 9 am! Chocolate is not a breakfast food, even if you are hungry, and even if you do want it
- You’re not even hungry; you shouldn’t/mustn’t eat!
- You’ve been giving yourself permission to eat it, so you shouldn’t want it any longer!
Although you may not be actively dieting, there’s still a stream of thoughts about what, when and how much you should or shouldn’t be eating – it’s a sneaky kind of dieting – we call it Diet Mentality. Sometimes it’s barely audible, and sometimes it shouts really loudly.
What it does is set you up for rebellious eating, because you don’t like being told what to do! You don’t want to be bullied – by others (the (social) media, your loved ones, doctor, BMI charts, the scale) or by yourself.
So what can you do about it?
This is what I love about mindfulness practice! Practising mindfulness helps you to develop the ability to notice your thoughts as they’re happening; to become aware of your experience in the present moment without judgement, and instead bring an attitude of curiosity and compassion to it.
Formal meditation practice is really important to develop these skills. It’s time dedicated just to the practice, outside of the hustle and bustle of life and not in moments of intense feeling states, or when your mind is screaming at you to eat or not eat.
You can liken this to learning to play an instrument. You need to practice regularly (preferably daily), to become proficient at it. You don’t just pick up a violin for the first time and play at the Royal Albert Hall! When my daughters were learning to play the cello, their teacher asked for just 10 minutes’ practice a day. Ten minutes! That’s doable don’t you think? Ten minutes of daily mindfulness practice will serve your ability to:
- notice the sneaky, pernicious Diet Mentality with a level of detachment
- give you space to respond to it
- become aware of what you’re actually feeling in the moment (hungry, full, difficult emotions, tired, thirsty etc.)
- make a considered choice (whether it’s to eat or not to eat) with compassion for yourself
My clients who develop a consistent mindfulness practice (most days) see the best results. It really is like magic, especially when combined with the principles of Intuitive Eating.
Need help from an expert?
If you’ve had enough of being on and off a diet, feeling ashamed of your body and how you eat, binge eating or emotional overeating — you’ve come to the right place.
I’ll help you discover how to let go of all the food rules, trust your own body and reclaim your innate worthiness — so you can live your life unapologetically and focus on what really matters to you.