Diet Mentality vs Attuned Eating (and why self-control and willpower doesn’t work)

As humans, our survival instinct is STRONG. I so often hear people describing their relationship with food as a matter of willpower or self-control. These are actually very misguided terms when discussing food behaviors, and we run the risk of falling into an all-or-nothing mentality where we feel like a failure, overwhelmed at our inability to “control” ourselves and vow to be stronger next time.  Restricting food to manipulate your body actually triggers and reinforces overeating (and other disordered eating behaviors).  When you don’t get adequate and consistent nutrition, you WILL have food cravings, feel out of control and notice many troublesome physical and emotional symptoms.   


The good news is that you can work with and trust your natural ability to self-regulate food choices.  It has to start, however, with a resolve to quit dieting and placing undue and unnecessary focus on weight as the primary issue.  While your goal at the Resort is to lose weight, my goal for you is to normalize food behaviors so that you feel more confident and competent with food.  Things get a lot better after that, and most other things will work themselves out.  


I think this comparison of the diet mentality vs attuned eating will really help in that process.  This is via Judith Matz, author of Beyond a Shadow of a Diet.  I admire her work, and agree with this description.  I hope you feel assured that there is a more peaceful approach to health and wellness (in body and mind).  Changing your mindset will likely not be easy, but decreasing the anxiety that the diet mentality causes is well worth any effort.  


I hope you enjoy!  Any questions that come up for you as you see this comparison?

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD