What is the diet mindset and how does it affect your life?

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Most people believe that the ‘diet mindset’ is a way of thinking that only relates to dieting and weight loss.

While the diet mindset is born from diet culture, it can impact every aspect of your life without you even being aware of it.

It’s been said that mindset is the lens through which you see and experience life. That means if you have a diet mindset, chances are you see everything in your life — relationships, career, mental health and weight — through this lens.

Before we look at how the diet mindset affects your life, let’s explore what the diet mindset is.

What is the diet mindset?

Diet mindset is a way of thinking that involves quick, easy, inadequate and unrealistic solutions to a particular issue which only leads to a temporary remedy, without addressing the underlying problems. 

It’s important to understand that diet mindset isn’t just related to diet and weight loss. It can affect any aspect of your life including your business or career, relationships and mental health. 

These are the key differences between a diet mindset and a non-diet mindset.

The diet mindset stems from the diet culture and is strongly linked to immediate results, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, low self-worth, following rules, and deprivation. 

People with a diet mindset also tend to look for big changes and underestimate the power of small gains. They spend a lot of time comparing themselves to other people and worrying about what other people think of them. They are generally rule-followers, particularly when it comes to food, and take an ‘all or nothing’ approach to most things. You can read more about the signs of a diet mindset in our blog Change your mindset to lose weight fast.

However, the biggest problem with the diet mindset is wanting everything now. Unfortunately, this need to have everything straight away is what causes people to self-sabotage many aspects of their life, especially their weight loss.

It’s a bit like knowing that it takes about 10 hours to drive from Melbourne to Sydney, but wanting to do it in 6 hours. To get there in 6 hours you’ll need to take shortcuts or speed. However, this will only cause more problems which will result in the trip taking longer, or you not even making it to your destination at all.

For example, you could try veering off the main highway and going a more direct route. However, leaving the main highway and driving ‘cross country’ could lead to flat tyres, a broken suspension, or even becoming lost. Speeding could result in you overheating your engine and causing damage to your car. It may also lead to an accident, totalling your car or even killing someone along the way. Of course, if any of these things happen, there’s no way you’ll make it to Sydney at all, let alone in 6 hours.

Yet this is the approach that most people take with many aspects of their life. 

What causes the diet mindset?

Fear of failure

Fear of failure is a big deal for most people which is why many people want quick results. If what they want seems to take too long, they perceive it as a failure rather than an investment in developing habits and mindsets that will help them long-term. In order to avoid feeling like they have failed, they look for things that will give them quick wins, even if these wins are only temporary, or solve the wrong problem. You can read more about fear in our blog Why fear is preventing your weight loss.

Fear of judgement

The reason that people want things now is that they are afraid of being judged for who they are and where they’re at. This is why people are always so desperate to lose weight quickly — because they are afraid of being judged and gossiped about because of their weight. They think “If I can just lose weight by Christmas, or Easter, or my birthday, or that party, etc. then I’ll be okay”.

Other people worry about what people think of them still being single at 40, or why they haven’t had kids after being married for a certain amount of time. Others believe they will be judged on their lack of earnings, or their job title, or how successful their business is, while others who value money and possessions are afraid of being judged on the size of their house. You can read more about this in our blog Why fear influences your weight more than diet and exercise.

Comparison

People with a diet mindset usually compare themselves with other people. They compare what they look like, what they earn, what they have, their relationships and their happiness with other people. What usually happens when you compare yourself with others though, is you find yourself lacking in some way. So you look for quick-fix solutions as a way to bridge the gap between what you have and what others have, so you can feel better about yourself. You can read more about comparison in our two blogs How comparing yourselves to others slows down your weight loss and How to stop comparing yourself to others.

Lack of self-worth

When you don’t feel worthy as a person, you tend to base your worth on external things like relationships, physical appearances, status, money and achievements. Wanting everything now is a way people try to protect themselves from these feelings of low self-worth and the fear of judgement from other people. You can read more about this in our blog How low self-worth affects your weight.

Control

In order to have things straight away, people try to control the outcome. Instead of following a plan, they try to force the situation or make things happen a certain way in order to hurry along their results. However, this is a form of self-sabotage that ultimately leads to disaster. We explain this in our blog How to feel in control when everything is out of control.

Timeline

People with a diet mindset always put a timeline on everything which is why they look for quick results. If they don’t get the results they want in the time they set for themselves, they believe that what they are doing isn’t working, so they look for another quick-fix solution. This explains why so many people go from one diet to the next. You can read more about this in our blog Is your weight loss timeline sabotaging your success?

How diet mindset affects your life

Weight

People with a diet mindset want to lose weight quickly and are usually willing to do whatever it takes to reduce the number on the scale. This usually equates to cutting calories, increasing their exercise and upping their steps to create a large calorie deficit. Sometimes people fast or follow other fad diets or quick fixes that are sold as weight loss solutions. However, this approach always backfires and leads to further weight gain.

Not only does restricting food and following food rules lead to binge eating and emotional eating, but it also compromises your metabolism, which makes it harder for you to lose weight. Putting a timeline on your weight loss because you want to lose weight quickly will create unrealistic expectations, high amounts of stress (another metabolic blocker), and cost you dearly in the long term. You can read more about this in our blog Who you become when all the diets fail: The high cost of dieting.

Relationships

Most of us want to be loved and accepted for who we are, but that’s something that takes time and commitment. Whether it’s finding the right group of friends or a romantic partner, the diet mindset will have you believe that anyone is better than no one. This is particularly the case for people who have set themselves a timeline to fall in love, get married and have kids. Wanting everything straight away and not being willing to spend the time investing in themselves so they can attract the right people is why so many people settle for the wrong romantic partner or friendships that are based on gossip or other toxic behaviours. 

Even people who are in relationships suffer from the diet mindset. For example, they believe that relationships should be perfect, so if they go through a difficult patch, they move on to someone else. Or others may go and see a marriage counsellor, believing that one visit will solve their problems. The truth is, healthy, meaningful relationships take time, daily work and long-term commitment.

The diet mindset will also cause you to become a people pleaser who is unable to be your authentic self. You’ll also be unhappy, may end up in an abusive relationship or believe that you will never find someone who treats you well, which will cause you to keep looking for the same kind of toxic people.

Business or career

People who have successful careers or businesses are people who have spent years, even decades investing in their careers and working for what they have. However, people with a diet mindset tend to expect ‘overnight success’ and want those results straight away. It’s a bit like expecting to do what a brain surgeon can do, with only one year of medical school under your belt — impossible. 

What usually happens is one of two things — they’re either unwilling to put in the time and effort to work towards success and feel resentful of those who already have it, and so give up on their goals, or they try to rush the process, compromise their values and business plan and do too much at once trying to get there quicker, which only leads to stress and burnout. 

This is why PTs continue to sell 6-12 week challenges that they know don’t work. Instead of sticking to their long-term plan of building a successful business with long-term clients, they compare themselves with other trainers and then panic and sell short-term fixes because they are too focused on the short-term results of earning money, than their long-term business plan. Find out how to become more than just a PT and build a wildly successful business with our Fit Pro Business Coaching Program.

Personal growth and development

People with a diet mindset usually stay stuck in the same cycles because they never address their habits. The reason they don’t address their habits is that they believe it takes too long to do so. Instead of looking at their habits and how they impact their lives and then making changes, people with a diet mindset tend to look for the next quick-fix — whether it’s to lose weight, make money or find the person of their dreams, and then rely on willpower and motivation to get things done. However, there is only so much willpower to go around and once that runs out, everything falls apart. So they stop doing anything and wait until they feel motivated again to take action when they start the same cycle all over again. This explains why so many people stop and start things and never commit to anything long term.

This habit of relying on willpower means that they never address their habits, or grow personally and remain stuck in the same cycles. You can read more about this in our blog Nothing changes if nothing changes: How to lose weight for good.

Mental health

Wanting everything straight away is extremely stressful. Instead of working consistently towards your goals, you’ll tend to try to control the outcome (having what you want straight away) by doing too much, trying to do things perfectly, or trying too hard. This can take an enormous toll on your mental health, especially when you ‘fail’ (i.e. don’t achieve what you wanted to in your unrealistic timeline). 

People with a diet mindset often suffer from lack of confidence, low self-worth and limiting beliefs because their desire to have everything now means they never give themselves a decent chance to achieve anything. They end up feeling resentful, depressed, frustrated, unhappy and afraid.

People with a diet mindset also believe that sorting out their mental health involves doing one or two things once, for example seeing a psychologist once or twice, or doing a course in mindful meditation. The fact is, investing in your mental health is a full-time commitment that takes daily work. Thinking you can sort it out with a handful of visits to a counsellor is the diet mindset at work.

If you want to know how to improve your mental health, be sure to read our blog Habits to ditch if you want to improve your mental health.

How to get rid of the diet mindset

The good news is that it is possible to get rid of the diet mindset so you can live your life without restriction. Here’s how to do it.

Confront your fears

To ditch the diet mindset you need to confront your fears. In this case, it’s the fear of judgement and the fear of failure. While you continue to live in fear of what others think and say about you, or worry that not achieving quick results equals failure, you’ll always revert back to the diet mindset and look for the easiest, quickest path to results, even if those results are temporary or don’t solve the real problem that needs solving. 

Let go of your timelines

Setting timelines to reach goals can help prevent procrastination, but focusing too much on a timeline and wanting things straight away always leads to self-sabotaging behaviours such as comparing ourselves with other people, making decisions based on emotions rather than facts, avoiding addressing our habits and increasing stress levels. The best approach is to let go of your timeline and aim to consistently make progress each day, rather than trying to rush the process. You can read more about this in our blog Is your weight loss timeline sabotaging your success?

Let go of control

Trying to control the outcome so you can have what you want quickly is a recipe for disaster. We explain this in our blog How to feel in control when everything is out of control. The truth is that there is very little that we can control so trying to do so is a waste of time and energy, and only leads to increased stress, frustration and self-sabotage. The one true moment that we can control is now and what we do now will influence our future. Letting go of trying to control the outcome and focusing on the daily actions instead is what will help you reach your goals. If you do that, then the result will take care of itself.

Build your self-worth

One of the key reasons why people want things straight away is because they worry about what people think of them. They are afraid of being judged for being overweight, or single, or for not earning a certain amount of money. So they believe that if they have these things, they won’t be judged. This need for approval stems from a lack of self-worth. However, if you believe that you’re worthy regardless of what you have, what you earn and who you’re with (or without), then you’ll no longer feel the need to have everything right away. You’ll be more content to put in the daily work to achieve the things that matter to you, which will help you achieve greater success quicker. You can learn how to build your self-worth in our blog How to build your self-worth so you can lose weight for good. 

The truth is that unless you deal with the habit of the diet mindset, you will always continue to self-sabotage yourself and you will always get the results you’ve got — the weight you can’t control, toxic relationships, an unfulfilling career and poor mental health. However, when the diet mindset no longer runs your life, you’ll find that your life will improve in ways that may surprise you.

How DATSTM Program helps 

The DATSTM Personal Coaching Program (habit, mindset, and weight loss) and the PDS Coaching ProgramTM (habit, mindset and personal development) will help you identify the habits, beliefs, and mindsets that contribute to your diet mindset and why you continue to struggle with things in your life.

We work with you to develop a personalised action plan to help you overcome the diet mindset and provide you with all the accountability and support you need to succeed. DATSTM and PDSTM will give you the knowledge, systems, tools, and skills to help you stop the diet mindset in its tracks. You’ll be able to keep you progressing towards your goals — even on your worst days.

In summary…

  • A lot of people want immediate results which explains why so many people go on diets or quick fixes to lose weight.
  • This is called the diet mindset which can also affect other areas of your life.
  • Wanting things straight away and trying to rush the process will always lead to self-sabotage.
  • The diet mindset can affect your weight, your relationships, your career and your mental health.
  • Unless you break free from the diet mindset, nothing in your life will change.
  • You can get rid of the diet mindset by letting go of trying to control the result, letting go of the timelines you set yourself, and building your self-worth.
  • Our DATSTM Personal Coaching Program will help you identify the habits that contribute to the diet mindset.
  • It will give you the precise action steps you need to take to address these habits so you can drop the diet mindset and finally stay consistent with your weight loss program and lose weight and gain the confidence and lifestyle you desire.
  • Our DATSTM Program gives you the knowledge, systems, tools and skills to help you lose weight and keep it off, even on your worst days.

Want to finally lose weight forever and feel confident?

Get on the DATS™️ program priority waiting list today to guarantee your spot.

On Tuesday, January 5th, 2021, we’re accepting a small number of new coaching clients to our Diet Antidote Transformation System (DATS™️ Program), The Not-Diet Diet for People Who Are Sick of diets and want more than a good body.

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