You’ve finally found it. You’re going to start a diet that’s going to change everything for you– once and for all…this magical diet is the answer to all of your weight problems, you hope.
Or maybe you’re following the Grace Filled Plate way, where you make slow, sustainable changes. These are simple and easy habit adjustments, so you should be able to jump in, right?
Enter the diet mentality.
What is the diet mentality and why is it important if you’re going to start a diet or make a habit change?
The diet mentality is the thought process that lives in “black and white” or all-or-nothing eating. This is the space and place where anything less than perfect leads to the abandonment of, well, whatever you were hoping to accomplish.
Unfortunately, if you’re stuck in the diet mentality, those small, sustainable changes (even the ones that you’re trying to do unto the Lord) can backfire. That’s because the diet mentality has a way of turning just about anything into a d-i-e-t.
Even things like our Bible study, house cleaning, or trying to drink more water can be plagued with all-or-nothing thinking, where one “off” day completely throws us off.
Before you make any changes to your food (or even start a diet), I’d like you to consider these two important things…these are two changes we address right away in my 6-month coaching program, Grace Filled Plate Platinum.
If you don’t, you’re probably going to get stuck.
You won’t know why, and you will probably feel like YOU are the problem. When, in fact, it’s just that old diet baggage stalling you out.
1. Reject the Diet Mentality.
Losing the all-or-nothing mindset is truly the first step in moving toward food freedom.
All-or-nothing eating says, “I’m going to start a diet, perfectly.”
“But, when I make even just a hairline-fracture mishap, I’m going to throw it all completely over the edge and start afresh tomorrow.”
- It’s letting one little slip, one little unwanted bite, or one little unexpected food choice turn into a binge.
- It’s letting one little mistake turn into a slide that keeps us stuck. Sometimes until the end of the day, or the week, or even the year.
Noticing all-or-nothing thinking is an essential first step. Put away judgment and be a helpful observer in your own life (revolutionary idea, right?). Notice the times when you hit that panic button after an imperfect food choice.
How do you begin to ditch all-or-nothing thinking?
You end the diet mentality by noticing the unrealistic expectations you start your day with.
What is the “infraction” that could turn that perfect day into an imperfect one?
- Taking one bite too many?
- Not eating your vegetables?
- Eating past full?
- Having a single, solitary cookie?
It’s the thing that’s going to cause the switch to flip. It’s the part where you turn from feeling like Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.
After you see what’s causing this slip, you can do a little redirection…
After you take The Bite or eat The Food you didn’t want to, you can choose one of two paths:
- You can go down the old path. We’ll call it All-or-Nothing Avenue. This is the path that starts with “all” and leads to “nothing.” It remains attractive due to promises of “all,” but it rarely (dare I say, never) ends with it.
- Or you can let it go and travel down the GRACE PATH. Here we embrace the fact that the food imperfections are going to happen, and they actually don’t matter as much as we think they do…
It’s not your decision to eat the “one” that matters as much as it is your reaction to it. If you let that one bite throw you off for hours, days, or weeks, you WILL stay stuck.
Before you change your eating, notice and nix the all-or-nothing thinking. Because no matter how subtle it seems, it’s going to affect your choices. Often in a goal-quenching kind of way.
2. Align Your Body Image with the Truth of God’s Word.
We often think, “If I can just fix my body, then my negative body image will go away.”
But, ask anyone who has been up and down the scale…
Even when you reach that ethereal number, it doesn’t fix everything as the commercial promised.
Wherever you go, there you are. Including all of your diet baggage and all of those world-infused measurements of self-worth.
Until you align your body image with what God says about you, you’re going to be hanging in the balance.
- What did the scale say today?
- How do my clothes fit?
- What does my reflection say?
- How did I compare to the other women around me?
Even if you start in the small, sustainable change kind of way, one bad weigh-in or one bad body image day will get you into that all-or-nothing thinking.
It’s a cycle that I see happen all of the time– you feel the urgency to lose weight and to change things NOW.
This panic starts the unrealistic expectations of “tomorrow I’m going to eat perfectly.” Then it cues the all-or-nothing thinking, which starts the binge cycle again.
And THAT makes us feel really icky in our bodies.
Rinse and repeat.
If you try to make food changes without addressing these two areas first, you’re going to end up frustrated. You’re going to be overreacting to physical changes that are minute.
You’ll miss the things that you actually have the power to control, like daily everyday decisions.
Before You Start a Diet
Before you start making a ton of changes, I encourage you to seek the Lord. Ask Him to align your thinking with His.
Let go of the little infractions in your eating. I promise that it will only help.
Because, when you let those go, you can actually move on and make better choices moving forward.
Then, take little steps to start trusting God with your body image.
These two steps will help you move forward with peace and purpose. And, if you start to feel shaky in your habit practice, come back to these two points…chances are that one or the other is throwing off your practice.
If you’d like some help taking these two steps (and 7 more), please check out my Platinum program and get on the waiting list!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.