As you move towards a healthier relationship with food and learn more about Intuitive Eating, you will likely come across the phrase “Rejecting the Diet Mentality.” This is the first, and arguably the most important principle of Intuitive Eating. It will lay the foundations for your future successes with food and body. Read on to learn more about rejecting the diet mentality and how this can help with Gestational Diabetes management.
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What Is The Diet Mentality
“Rejecting the diet mentality” is the very first of the ten principles of Intuitive Eating. Diet mentality refers to the thoughts, beliefs and perceptions that either linger from past dieting experiences, or that have been shaped and reinforced by diet culture. This may be shocking, but dieting inflicts pain and trauma on both the mind and body, and can have significant long term negative health effects. This is why rejecting dieting (and better understanding diet mentality) is the very first step you must take when you decide to move to a place of Intuitive Eating.
How to Reject Diet Culture
We’ve all grown up surrounded by diet culture, which can make it hard for us to see it let alone reject it. This is why it’s crucial to unpack the narrative in your own mind and take a hard look at the influences around you. We typically see diet culture pop up in things like:
- Social media influencers advertising their weight loss hack
- Your coworker telling you about her new diet
- Detox pills, powders, creams, etc
- TV shows that demonize fatness and idolize thinness
- Your mom telling you certain foods are “bad” and others are “good”
- Magazines with “lose weight fast” covers
- Commercials for weight loss and body changing products
- And MORE
Once you learn that it’s not healthy to constantly be looking for weight loss solutions or putting certain foods and body types on a pedestal, you’ll see diet culture everywhere.
Why The Diet Mentality is Harmful For Gestational Diabetes
Dieting and the diet mentality is harmful for everyone, but those with GD are at an increased risk of suffering the negative consequences of diet culture. There are two approaches to GDM that are particularly likely to trigger diet mentality and are often the most recommended:
- Traditional Approach – this approach emphasizes carb counting, measuring portions, and labeling certain foods as “good” or “bad.”
- Modern Approach – this approach encourages a modern paleo type diet and cutting almost all carbs.
When you are given this guidance it can feel like “oh of course, I know carbs are bad and I should limit my calories” but it’s just not that simple and those things aren’t true! That’s diet culture talking.
The truth is this cookie-cutter advice can have serious negative impacts.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for GD
It is so important to understand that every individual and their body is unique. This means that there is no magic bullet “fix” for GDM. Simply sticking to a guided diet is not a reasonable approach. Especially when these diets do not align with your values, are not sustainable, and discourage a healthy relationship with food. Committing to these diets can lead to a binge-restrict cycle that will last long after the baby is born.
Triggers Disordered Eating Behaviors
I see in many pregnant people that traditional Gestational Diabetes guidance actually leads to disordered eating habits such as restriction, feeling guilt and shame around food, binging, extreme counting and tracking, and more. In addition to not allowing you to stay in control of your sugars, these habits have long term physical and mental consequences for both baby and parent.
Physical and Mental Effects
Dieting can not only harm your physical body, it can have lasting impacts on your overall relationship with food and how you view yourself. I often encourage my clients to ask themselves if they are really willing to put up with a potential lifetime of food struggles just for the few months they are pregnant.
Your Children Will Learn From You
You are likely going to be the largest influence on your children’s relationship with food and their body. Do you want to model one of restriction, guilt, shame, and frustration, or one filled with freedom, peace, fun, and Intuitive Eating?
How to Manage Gestational Diabetes Without a Diet
So by now you know that dieting is harmful, and you’re probably saying “okay that’s great but I still want my baby to be healthy so what do I do.” First of all, know that I hear you and that it can feel like you don’t have any options but I promise you do!
Step one: Reject diets and restrictions. Delete that calorie counting app, throw out that scale that controls you, rip up the list of “good and “bad food, get rid of those portion control cups- whatever it is for you, commit to throwing it out and get ready to replace it with something that feels good.
Step two: Be compassionate with yourself. Know that rejecting diet culture and changing how you view food and your body takes time. This journey is not simple or easy. Keep giving yourself grace along the way and adapting in ways that work for YOU. Take it one day at a time.
Step three: Work with an Intuitive Eating and HAES (Health at Every Size) Provider. You deserve compassionate, whole-person care that looks to the future, not just the now. It is possible to leave pregnancy with an even better relationship with food than you started with, and to manage your Gestational Diabetes in a non-restrictive way.
You’ve got this! This week, focus on how you can practice rejecting the diet mentality. And if you’re ready to take a step towards food freedom and navigate pregnancy nutrition with ease, I’m here to help. Click here to book a free discovery call where we will chat more about you, your journey, and how I can help.
Don’t forget to also download my FREE Trader Joe’s Gestational Diabetes Cookbook.