How Diets Cause Self-Doubt. Sad girl on diet eating just lettuce. Intuitive eater confidently enjoying pizza.

How Diets Cause Self-Doubt

I can’t trust myself.” Is that one of your biggest fears about intuitive eating? After years of losing and gaining weight, you’ve likely grown comfortable with self-doubt. You have written the narrative that you can’t trust yourself because you lack willpower. And diet culture keeps swooping in to confirm it. Keep reading for how diets cause self-doubt.

Food Rules Set Your Body Up to Fail

Each time you follow a diet rule (such as staying within macro goals, calorie/Point limitations, intermittent fasting, food choices, etc.), it’s a snub at your own body’s capabilities. These rules cause you to IGNORE your biology, physiology, and the incredible body that God made you in His image.

You’re instead choosing food tracking apps like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt, meal plans, social media influencers, and dieter tools to override your natural instincts. And when you fall off-plan, you’re falling hard. And you’re telling yourself, “LOOK! IT HAPPENED AGAIN! I’M THE WORST AND I HAVE NO WILLPOWER.”

It doesn’t matter if the program has one rule. Or four different strategies you have to put into play. If you have to learn their nutrition program, follow their rules, apply these rules to each and every meal or snack. You, my sweet friend, are trusting the diet—and doubting yourself.

Doubt Becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

One of my favorite authors/speakers is Brene Brown. She often talks about “the lies we tell ourselves.” Meaning, we write these narratives, based on our deepest insecurities, about who we are and why things happen. We view events through this self-critical lens and misinterpret the reactions of others.

This mindset applies to self-doubt on a diet because don’t you always blame yourself whenever you gain weight? Instead of realizing the diet was an unsustainable approach to eating, you think it’s your fault you can’t keep the weight off. You convince yourself if I could just eat better and workout daily, I would finally achieve thinness. So when you “mess up” and inevitably “fall off the wagon,” you feel it validates your self-doubt. Failing your diet is proof you can’t trust yourself around food.

It’s not true though.

You Fail the Diet Because Diets Fail You

Diet culture is the main reason you are struggling to trust yourself. Why you have so much self-doubt.

All that second-guessing? It’s inevitable when you’re constantly made to feel like your body is a “before” photo that needs fixing. It’s no surprise when diet/lifestyle programs say you’re not capable of doing a natural, physiologically-necessary act in life—like eating.

When you spend so much of your life feeling guilt and ashamed by your food choices, by your lack of willpower, by your body size, that self-critical negative thinking becomes normalized. It becomes ingrained in our minds that we’re not good enough. And a new diet/lifestyle program is always right there to swoop in and “help” you.

How to Turn Self-Doubt Around Food into Self-Trust

  1. First step in increasing trust in yourself, is to lose the diet! Cancel the monthly subscription. Leave online communities supporting that diet/lifestyle. Unfollow or mute social media accounts that promote diet culture. Unsubscribe from emails that focus on intentional weight loss.
  2. Unlearn diet rules and begin learning intuitive eating through books, blogs, and/or by working 1-on-1 or in a group program with an anti-diet nutritionist (like me!)
  3. Set wellness goals that will support your mental, emotional, social, environmental, spiritual and actual physical health (how you want to feel—not how you want to look.)
  4. Actively make an effort to love yourself towards healthy

Ready to start living that diet-free life today? Schedule a free 15-minute phone call with me by clicking here.

Meridith Oram is an anti-diet nutritionist at Love Yourself Towards Healthy where she helps chronic dieters heal their relationship with food, fitness and body image by ditching diet culture and finding freedom in their God-given intuition. Focusing on behavioral change and Intuitive Eating, Meridith helps her clients unlearn diet culture, stop negative self-talk and set wellness goals---not appearance goals. Follow Meridith at @loveyourself2healthy on all social channels.

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