• Katie Keller RD

Why your "diet" is harming you.

Does this sound familiar?

The diet starts tomorrow”!

You either think this quietly to yourself or announce it aloud to someone, maybe even a little tongue-in-cheek. In that same breath you shove that last nibble of pizza or ice cream down your throat.

This is the last bite of pizza before I take charge and get healthy”.

Then you promptly march to the cupboard and throw away all your naughty foods because, if they aren’t in your house, then you won’t be tempted.

The diet starts and you are feeling really good! You make it three days and think,

this is great”! Then five days pass and you say,

eating salad for every meal isn’t that bad”.

Then a week goes by (maybe less) and those pesky cravings really start to kick in. You have been resisting the urge to eat dessert or go out to your favourite local pub for a burger.

After about a week of dieting you start to think

just one bite can’t hurt right"?

So you go ahead and have a cheat food because you’ve been working so hard and you deserve a little reward. Then you have a treat after dinner, and the next thing you know, you find yourself covered in crumbs, surrounded by wrappers asking yourself (filled with disappointment and shame),

“how could I let this happen”?

From there you promise yourself,

“the diet will start again tomorrow”.

Who can relate? The unfortunate reality is that most of us can. Guess what? This is not your fault. This endless sequence is called The Diet Cycle, and it is the fault of the billion-dollar diet industry. That industry breeds what is called, diet mentality. Diet mentality inches its way into more areas of our lives than we realize, especially in North America: social media; grocery stores; casual conversations with family and friends, and sadly, even into our children’s schools. You can even sometimes see it in the offices of healthcare professionals. It is a sneaky industry that commonly disguises itself as “healthy”.

But what is diet mentality really? It is the false belief that you need a specific set of rules to be healthy and happy. Diet mentality makes you believe that weight loss is something you are obligated to want, and that you don’t fit in if you aren’t trying to lose weight. It tells you that you can’t focus on goals and lifelong dreams until you fit within the ideal body that diet culture dictates. Plainly put, it’s the little voice in your head that tells you all you need is more will power. You think

"if I just follow rules like, 'exercise harder today because I had dessert last night', 'only vegetables and green tea after lunch', or 'no eating after 6 pm' - I can be the right size".

It steals your joy and leaves you feeling like you are never good enough.

Making you feel like a failure is just the beginning of why diet mentality is harmful. If you are like many of us, you have gone through “The Diet Cycle” many times. Over years, you passively absorb absurd diet and lifestyle messages from diet culture, and you stop trusting yourself and your body. That trust erodes to a point where you no longer understand how to live your life without an external set of rules. You become fully reliant on the products and services of the diet industry. The thing that shocks most people is that this industry is not made up of qualified health professionals looking out for your well-being, - though many claim they are (remember, diet culture is sneaky!). Diets are big business and the programs and products they are selling are built through terrific marketing created by people who will do whatever is needed to keep the industry booming. Even if it is at the cost of your physical and mental health.

So, what is the bottom line? DIETS DON’T WORK. They make us feel worthless and push us down until we can’t live without them. REJECT DIET MENTALITY. Let’s spread this message and help us and our loved ones live full lives free from restrictions, shame, and guilt. Stay tuned for our Top 5 Tips for how you can start ditching diet mentality TODAY!

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