You could say that I’m known as an anti-diet crusader. However, people often assume this means that I’m all about the cupcakes (cue another annoying Meghan Trainor parody) and that I’m against certain eating plans, like Paleo or Real Food or GET SHREDDED IN 30.
This begs the question: Is it ever appropriate to eat a certain collection of foods (a.k.a: a diet…a.k.a. Paleo… I use paleo here because I know many of you eat this way)?
You may be surprised to find out that yes, I do think it’s healthy and appropriate for some people. Many people can easily do a Whole30 or Raw Food Challenge, feel great and continue eating that way forever without giving it a second thought. However, many people can’t.
The difference is in the way they think about food…and themselves. Here is when I see following a ‘diet’ become problematic.
11 Signs You Need To Ditch Paleo (or any ‘diet’):
#1 – Your food choices define you or your identity – a.k.a. When someone asks, “what are your interests or what do you do for fun?” You don’t know what else to say other than paleo or ‘clean eating’ if you’re feeling extra douchey.
#2 – Your food choices dictate your self-worth – a.k.a. I’m such a failure and hate myself for eating those chips… why do I suck so much?
#3 – Your food choices create shame or guilt – a.k.a. oh shit, I ate a banana and I probably shouldn’t have had those carbs today because I missed my CrossFit class!! Cue: level 10 meltdown.
#4 – Your Type-A perfectionist personality dominates your food choices – a.k.a. There is no way I’m eating that ketchup because it has 0.001 grams of sugar in it!!
#5 – Your ‘diet’ prevents you from living the life you want – a.k.a. Ignoring husband for 10 minutes at anniversary dinner so you can post your bacon-wrapped scallops on Instagram and insert 45 variations of #realfood hashtags
#6 – You over-analyze and obsess over food all the time – a.k.a. putting food on your plate requires more thought than putting a Rubix Cube back together
#7 – You mentally plan and think about food all day long – a.k.a. instead of walking your dog and noticing that Channing Tatum just winked at you, you’re too busy wondering if you ate too much avocado with your eggs this morning.
#8 – You don’t know how to eat ‘normal’ – a.k.a. you don’t know how to eat without the rules and templates, without being all or nothing and without self-sabotage ruling your weekends
#9 – You don’t trust yourself around food – a.k.a. GET THESE CHOCOLATES OUT OF MY HOUSE BECAUSE I CAN’T HAVE THEM NEAR ME OR I WILL EAT THEM ALLLLLLL
#10 – You fear certain foods (for no health-shattering reason) – a.k.a. Get that corn out of my salad!!! LUNCH IS RUINED.
#11 – You avoid certain foods for no reason other than because you’re afraid to gain weight – a.k.a. “waiter, can you please scrape the sugar off these candied pecans in my salad because if one of them even comes close to touching the spinach my life is ruined”
Do you see what all of these have in common? They all have to do with how you THINK about food. Not HOW you eat. How you THINK about how you eat.
A diet can be appropriate when it doesn’t create an unhealthy relationship with food or yourself.
I’ve worked with many people who can easily ‘follow a diet’ without the ramifications of becoming food obsessed.
The biggest difference is that they genuinely don’t know what to eat to feel good.
Their intentions come from a place of wanting to feel better – have more energy, not be doubled over in bloated pain all the time, get rid of their adult acne etc. etc.
Versus wanting to feel better about themselves as a human.
When everything you do is tied back to your poor body image and lack of compassion, you need to check your ‘diet’ at the door.
If you’ve identified with that list, then I would urge you to take a time out from your ‘diet’ and start to work on your relationship with food and yourself. The longer you are stuck in the cycle of dieting, the harder it is to find food freedom.
The next cycle of the 21 Step Body Image Remix starts Monday January 5th!! This life-changing 21-day online program is your ticket to embracing your body and unleashing the fierce confident woman within. And many women who do the program say it dramatically starts to change their relationship with food too:) Get in on it>>>