Freeing Yourself From Diet Shame
The culture of quick - fixes and fad diets
When patients come into my office frustrated with their current psychiatric care, one of the first questions I ask them is, "what does your diet look like?" Without fail, the response is nearly always the same: slinking down in the chair, a glance at the floor, and mumbling "not great."
The topic of diet is one that is filled with a lot of shame for many people. In a culture of quick-fixes and fad diets, I speak to people every day who are embarrassed that they can't stick with their latest attempt at cleaning up their nutrition. And after years of diving into why this is with hundreds of patients, one theme emerges: they're trying to change everything at once.
One of the most important things I stress to my patients is that the nutrition changes we are talking about aren't diets; they're lifestyles. Anyone can lose 10, 15, 20 pounds in a few months with a diet. But the tactics that let them do so? Those usually end in a weight gain at the end.
In my experience, true, sustainable nutrition changes are built one change at a time. Rather than trying to change every part of your diet at one time, take a step back and think about one part of it that you think you can change right now. Maybe it's swapping out your after-dinner bowl of ice cream for frozen greek yogurt. Or maybe it's having dinner a little bit earlier so you're not tempted to have a pre-dinner snack. For me, it was swapping out Diet Coke for water.
Whatever it is, choose that one thing, and go all in for 30 days. You'll be amazed at how accomplished you feel when you've kept that promise to yourself for a full month, and how empowered you feel to tackle your next change. Before you know it, your diet of today will be a thing of the past. And best part of all? You'll be free of the diet shame you've been holding onto for all these years.
What single change will you make in your diet this month?