This is Part VII of The Diet Mentality Series, (visit The CEDRIC Centre Blog for immediate access to all articles in this series).
Welcome new members of our community! You’ll fit right in here if you are an emotional eater, binge, restrict, or struggle with anorexia, bulimia or some other stressful way of relating to food and want to learn how to stop.
Over the past 2 months now we’ve been exploring in detail each of the key aspects of thinking and behaving that make up what we at CEDRIC call The Diet Mentality.
Last week we covered the topic of weight and how our attachment to a certain size or weight impacts us. I asked you to contemplate a brief series of questions to do your own inner exploration of this topic and from the feedback I received you learned a lot! Good on ya!
This week we are going to begin a little exploration on another of your favorite diet mentality topics: Exercise! Don’t ya just love it!!!
In The Diet Mentality approach to exercise we are not exercising first and foremost from a place of self-care and concern for our health and wellness.
Instead, we are exercising because we believe we have to in order to look the way we think we have to look and/or in order to shred pounds and calories fast!
If you don’t exercise when you think you ‘should’ or how much you think you ‘should,’ you judge yourself as lazy or worthless and feel intense guilt. This triggers you to feel shame and disgust towards yourself/your body.
If you do exercise it may feel good in the moment but even while you’re there you’re not really consciously there – you’re counting calories burned and planning how many times you are going to come each week in order to achieve your weight / body image goals asap!
You set rigid standards for what you have to do when you exercise in order for it to ‘count.’
This naturally leads you to overdo it and exhaust yourself and turn yourself off going again or you injure yourself so you can’t go again for a while.
Either way, if you don’t stick to that schedule you set for yourself, instead of taking the time to find out why you might be avoiding exercise, you just beat yourself up for not going more often.
This approach to exercise only leads you to feel worse about yourself and to experience yourself as ‘never’ sticking to your plan or ‘never’ following through and therefore, ‘never’ achieving your goals for that certain size/weight that you’ve told yourself you have to be in order to be ‘good enough.’
It’s a vicious circle and you’re stuck in it. In order to break free 2 things need to happen.
1. You need to be able to see when you’re approaching exercise in this old diet mentality way and acknowledge that that’s what you’re doing. Remind yourself that this approach has only ever led you to failed attempts and to feeling crappier about yourself – it never led you to a place of confidence and trust in your body or in your commitment to health and wellness.
2. You need to be able to know what a healthy approach to exercise looks like and what steps you can take each day/week to get there and stay there.
For this week I encourage you to practice point 1. Read and re-read the article above about what a diet mentality approach to exercise looks like and whenever you’re doing that at all just do what I suggest in point 1. You’ll be surprised how helpful that is just on it’s own.
Next week I’m going to give you the steps for point 2 so stay tuned and have a great week!
And remember, we’re here if you want to talk or get a hand with your approach to food and body image and life in general.