• Stephanie Dorfman, MS, RD

Challenging and Reframing Intrusive Diet Culture Thoughts

Join us in this blog post as we walk you through some intrusive diet culture thoughts and how to reframe them with your new Intuitive Eating brain.

Thought #1: “I can’t eat this because it will make me gain weight.”

There are two parts to breaking down this thought:

  1. Fear of weight gain: But why is this such a common fear? Say it with me now - DIET CULTURE!!! Part of reframing thoughts is flicking the little diet culture minion off your shoulder and replacing it with a little anti-diet dietitian friend. To put it simply (even though this is not simple at all!), weight gain isn’t the devil!! It isn’t something to be feared. Overcoming this fear takes a lot of hard and intense work but it is an important step in the journey to having a better relationship with your body and kicking diet culture out of your life.

  2. A single food or meal will cause you to gain weight: Actually, it’s quite the opposite! Who would have thought? Avoiding foods due to fear of weight gain gives you a one way ticket to the binge-restrict cycle. Here’s how that cycle goes -

  • You start with being “good” and not eating those “bad” foods

  • Next, you start thinking about those avoided foods, craving them, missing them because they are “off limits”

  • Then, things get a little out of control. You may start eating these avoided foods and feel like you will never stop!

  • Lastly, the guilt comes in - you feel terrible for eating those “forbidden” foods and vow to never eat them again. LET THE CYCLE BEGIN AGAIN!

Reframing these thoughts is not an easy feat - if it was, many many intuitive eating

dietitians would be out of a job! Allowing yourself to eat and enjoy ALL foods is a huge part of intuitive eating and will help you get on your way to improving your relationship with food and your body.

Thought #2: “I need to burn more calories than I eat everyday so I can lose weight.”

Yes, nutrition is a science, but it is definitely NOT math! Calories in DOES NOT equal calories out!! Yet another thought put in our brains by diet culture and fatphobic society. Our bodies are super smart, constantly changing, and great at adapting to everything life throws at us. Two of the intuitive eating principles are “Respect your Body,” and “Movement - Feel the Difference.” How can we start to treat our bodies with kindness and compassion and participate in movement that actually FEELS GOOD? Exercise should be intentional and bring you joy! Movement should not be or feel like torture or punishment!!! Exercise looks different for everyone - so find your favorite form of activity and move with a purpose that makes you feel good - physically and mentally.

Thought #3: “I have to wait for my cheat day to eat this.”

First of all, someone tell me what a “cheat day” is - besides a way of inherently separating foods into “good” and “bad”. Say it with me: all. foods. FIT!!! Food is food! Food is energy! I will never tell my clients that ice cream is more nutrient dense than broccoli. BUT I will also never tell my clients to not eat ice cream! (back to the binge restrict cycle) Let’s challenge this thought and ask ourselves - what would happen if I ate [insert cheat day food here] on a non-cheat day? Cheat days, or only eating [insert food here] on the weekend, etc gives food all of the power! I invite you, and give you permission to take this power back!! Remove the morality from food and eat the same food on Monday as you would on Saturday.

Challenging and reframing intrusive diet culture thoughts like these is NOT EASY and TAKES TIME!

It is like learning a new skill - you wouldn’t be able to do a backflip without training and practicing, just because you want to or think you can do it. You have to work at it!! Similarly, you will have to work on un-learning, re-learning, and reframing your thoughts around body image and food.

Having support while working on this is super important! Whether it’s friends, family, significant other, colleague, registered dietitian, therapist, or other medical professional - FIND YOUR PEOPLE! Surround yourself with people that will lift you up and make you feel good. That will support you in your intuitive eating goals and help you ditch diet culture!

Want help finding your people?? Start with me! I would love to be there for you and support you through these thoughts! Feel free to reach out, say hi, and let me know what’s going on.

Looking for more support? I am here to provide a safe space to listen and help!

Send me an email, schedule a free discovery call, or connect with me on Instagram.

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