I love this question! Because I’ve been so interested in diet culture from a very young age, there are certain beliefs that have shaped my behavior for sure. Some things I believed so strongly, that I wasn’t even willing to challenge them. These included:
- That you should eat every 2 hours – I mean, heaven forbid you go too long between meals, cause your metabolism will come to a screeching halt and you’ll never lose weight, even if you are only eating 1500 calories! The diet world has been teaching this forever, and I bought into it 100%. I know it’s the reason I ate so much food! Each “meal” was never a small meal for me. I’d eat 6 big meals a day!
- That you need to carry food everywhere you go, so you don’t get too hungry- you don’t want to get caught without a snack! Your willpower will be exhausted and you will be so hungry that you’ll eat everything in site. Since I decided to stop believing this, I’ve been able to go many hours without food, and it hasn’t been a problem, and I didn’t starve!
- That carbs make you fat– Even though I actually don’t believe this one, it does cause me regret and feelings of “I’ve failed” if I think I’ve eaten too many carbs. Carbs are not the problem.. Overeating is the problem!
- That you have to eat breakfast every day– wow! This one lingered forever. I used to eat at 5 am, even before I’d exercise. I always thought it would “jump start my metabolism”, so I had to get it going. Now, I’m over this completely. In fact, when I don’t eat my first meal till 10 am or later, I’m actually more productive in the morning, eat less throughout the day, and even if my metabolism has ticked down a notch, it’s negligible because I can still lose weight.
- That sugar is addictive– I’m actually glad I used to think this. Because I learned so much from finding this out for myself. All food is addictive if you try to take the pleasure of eating away and eat for the wrong reasons… because you are struggling to get that “fix”. Sugar is easy to overeat and difficult to practice portion control, because it tastes so great. But, not everyone is out of control around sugar.
- That you have to give yourself a cheat day or cheat meal, to be able to stick with something long term. Umm.. I’m still trying to let this one go. Whenever I eat more than I should, or eat food I know will make me feel crappy, I convince myself that I deserve a cheat day. That a cheat day will keep me on track better. But it never does. It always leads to more cheat days.. And more and more and more!
- That muscles weighs more than fat… OK, while technically this is true, the actual weight isn’t so much more that it’s impossible to move the scale. The scale CAN be moved, even when you are lifting weights.
- That I need a protein shake and chicken breasts to see progress. Bleh. If I never drink a protein shake again, I’ll be happy. They never fill me up or satisfy me. Why drink your calories when you can get more satiated and more pleasure from actually eating food!
Being so fascinated by the diet industry has really led me to believe some things about eating that completely take away the mindfulness and purposeful experience of eating. Eating is wonderful, and having someone else dictate how to eat is not giving your mind the credit it deserves.