Are you on a diet without being on a diet?

October 8, 2021

Ever noticed when you start counting calories on a diet, how it can easily become an obsession?

How you end up counting each single calorie when out for lunch with your girfriends?

Or going for the tea instead of the dessert because otherwise you reach “your limit” too soon and then there’s nothing left for dinner time?

Ever spent 30 min reading the nutritional facts and doing calculations you’ve never done before (not even at maths class), to spread 1,200 cal throughout three meals?

I certainly did!

What do you see in the picture? A cupcake or 200 calories?

picture of a cupcake with chocolate frosting on top. I use this pic along with the question: ”Do you see a cupcake or 200 calories? to express the fact that people on a diet are counting the calories of the cake more than seeing the cake for what it is, just a cake to be enjoyed.

If you see 200 cals more than a delicious cake, here is reminder for you:

Food is there to be experienced, not measured.

Seeing food and making meal decisions based on calories gives a false sense of having things under control. However, that only lasts until the next binge, triggered by that same control that’s supposed to be the n.1 cure to food binges.

Not only, it also makes very hard for you to enjoy the food you have.

While you are busy thinking about how the cupcake is going to change the number on your scale, or will cost you on the treadmill, you miss the opportunity to sit down and just savor it.

‘Thinking Diet’ even when you aren’t on an official diet

Counting the calories, skipping a meal in advance of a dinner out, categorising food as good or bad based of the number of carbs or fat in it. They are all typical forms of dieting, even if you are not officially ‘on a diet’ at the moment.

They are an expression of the self-critical dieting voice you may have developed over the years. You might not be following a diet right now, or not even strictly counting calories, but you mind might still be thinking and using the language of dieting, which can promote restrictive eating habits in your daily life.

Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, in their book Intuitive Eating, share some statements which give you an example of some of the most common of a diet mentality in action, such as:

  • I allow myself “cheat days” when I allow myself to eat whatever I want, regardless of my hunger or fullness level.
  • If I’m planning to go out for dinner, I cut back how much I eat during the day, even if I’m hungry.
  • I feel guilty if I don’t exercise, because it means that I did not burn off any calories.
  • I eat less food when I’m around other people, regardless of my hunger or fullness level.

So now tell me, based on your experience, which one tastes better:

Eating 200 calories or eating a creamy cupcake?

Let me know in the comments!

With kindness,

Dona 🌷

PS: Did you hear about the upcoming WOMEN COMMUNITY CALLS? It’s a free group support for women who want to stop judging their body, and finally learn to enjoy the food they eat.

Click here if you’d like to find out more, or sign up using the box below 👇


Written by Donatella Porceddu

I am a registered psychologist and life coach specialised in binge and emotional eating, body kindness, and mindful eating. I empower women to become the best version of themselves through my comprehensive approach, which combines personal coaching and psychology, leveraging my client’s strengths and building around their opportunities.

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If you have any questions, reach out to me today. I’ll be more than happy to connect with you and see how I can help.

Donatella Porceddu Psychologist & Eating Coach specialised in Binge Eating, Overeating, Emotional Eating, Food freedom, anti-diet approach. 1:1 support through my Make Peace with Food program.

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