I’ve been hiding something from you that I need to share: I still get diet-brain thoughts.
Even though I abandoned dieting years ago, those annoying diet-brain thoughts like, “that’s too much cake,” or “maybe you should save that food for a day when you’ve worked out,” still pop up from time-to-time.
They are not the judgmental, panicky, obsessive thoughts of yesteryear. Rather, they are the imprinted leftover food rules from being a chronic dieter for over 20 years.
Here’s the thing: We can unlearn what we’ve learned, but we can’t forget.
Having these thoughts doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong or that you’ve failed at not-dieting.
The difference is in how you respond to them.
I notice the thought and usually think to myself, “Who’s there? Barry Sears is that you? What the fuck are you doing in my house you creepy low-carb peddler?” and then proceed to shush it, eat the damn food like the grown-ass woman and move on with life.
There is no judgment or guilt. No over-analyzing or obsessing. They are simply thoughts that pop into my brain from time to time – similar to the thoughts I have about wanting to light a match to the stereo of hikers who think it’s OK to blast music. But, rather than judging myself for having these thoughts, I simply quiet them down and move forward. No torched stereos. I remain in Smokey the Bear’s good book.
I know I’m not going to act on these diet brain thoughts and I know that they are just residual effects of having been immersed in diet culture for so long.
Changing beliefs about your body or food take a long time. It doesn’t mean you are incapable of being a normal eater or accepting your body because you have diet culture thoughts.
It’s all in how you deal with them. Notice and observe, but don’t act. The less you act on them, the less often they will show up.