Many of us, even after having been working on eating mindfully for quite a while, have moments of being tempted to diet. Why does this happen?? The first reason I typically see is that we have been exposed to diet culture in some way i.e. seeing a triggering social media post, having someone comment on what we are eating or not eating, hearing someone talk about the wonderful diet they are on etc. This is bound to happen in our diet based culture but it is helpful to do what we can to avoid it. Doing a social media detox which I’ve talked about in previous posts can be helpful, as well as setting boundaries with those we care about around food and body related conversations.
The second reason this typically tends to happen is we are experiencing an uncomfortable emotion. For example, feeling stressed, angry, uncomfortable, frustrated etc. Oftentimes, we may not even be aware of the emotion (at least immediately) but find ourselves reacting to it by having dieting thoughts or exhibiting behaviors like binging or restricting our food. I’ve had experiences where I’ve over eaten and only a few hours later had the realization of “oh I’m actually feeling stressed about situation X”.
Food is often be something we use to attempt to manage our emotions even subconsciously. This is not necessarily a horrible thing, but it can be helpful to work on noticing our emotions and developing other strategies for managing them other than eating. Being able to ask ourselves questions when we are suddenly thinking about going on diet X or notice we are over eating, under eating etc. can be very helpful. Some questions I find helpful are: “What am I feeling right now? And what does my body really need at this moment?” If we can begin to build an awareness of our emotions and strategies to manage those emotions, we are well on our way to being less swayed by the idea of dieting and diet behaviors.
Questions about diet thoughts or anything else food/body related? Feel free to get in touch!