Throwing Out the Diet Rules and What To Do Instead | TMOHP Episode 117

It’s that time of year when a lot of money is being spent on advertising to convince you to go on a diet. You know that diets don’t work. You know that YOU don’t work on a diet. You’re tired of food rules. You’re tired of programs that aren’t sustainable. But it sure is tempting to try - one more time. Throwing out the diet rules sounds good, but when you’ve lived your life in the shadow of the weight loss industry, it can be really confusing to think about what you’ll do if you don’t follow a program this January.

How will you ever achieve your goals?

What should you focus on?

What are you supposed to eat?

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Reasons diet mentality is so seductive
  • Clues to recognizing diet mentality and deprivation thinking
  • How to make food decisions that don’t make you want to rebel
  • Why focusing on a food plan is never the best first step (and the first step I recommend)
  • A pep talk for your brain when you start to slide into diet mentality and deprivation thinking

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • 25 Reasons Not to Go on a Diet in January (or anytime)
  • Private Coaching for Emotional Eating and Overeating: I have openings in my schedule to work with about twelve women a year and openings are filled as space becomes available. Private coaching meetings are scheduled via Skype or phone and we can connect from anywhere in the world. Private coaching is customized to you and your goals and we'll work together for a minimum of six months. Learn more and apply here.
  • Your Missing Peace  is the program for women ready to stop overeating and emotional eating for good. Enrollment is open and NOW is the perfect time to join us! Go here to learn more
  • Visit for more tips and resources to create peace with food and overcome overeating and emotional eating

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody it is the end of December as I am recording this and boy, the diet industry is gearing up for a big, huge January of "time to get started," "time to start over, time to sign up," "subscribe to this plan," "join this program." It is everywhere. And if it isn't everywhere in your world, it is probably about to be everywhere.

It's exhausting, isn't it? And, honestly, what's even more exhausting is when you get hooked. When you start falling for those messages, which are designed for you to fall for, and you find yourself signing up. Or making the plan. Starting that thing one more time, even when you know in the back of your head that it isn't going to work.

So, I feel like we all need to be kind of inoculated against this stuff. We need to protect ourselves. We need to give ourselves a pep talk. We need to remember why this stuff doesn't work because it really doesn't work. But also this is the time of year when one of the reasons that it is so easy to get hooked into all that brilliant advertising messaging around a diet or a food plan or a weight loss program is because so often, you know, what you're doing is Isn't working. You know, deep down that what you're doing isn't going to get you the results that you want, that feel the way that you want to feel. But you don't know what to do instead.

So, I have pulled out of the archives a popular podcast episode that I'm re-releasing today. It's all about throwing out the diet rules and then what to do after you've thrown out the diet rules. So in this episode, I'm going to cover the reasons that diet mentality is so seductive. How we get hooked by diet thinking and diet mentality, especially this time of year.

I'm going to cover some clues to recognizing diet mentality and deprivation thinking so that it doesn't sneak up on you. We're going to talk a little bit about food rules and why they're not helpful and an alternative to a bunch of rules about food. I'm also going to cover why focusing on food is never the best first steps. 

Focusing on food or a food plan is not the first thing to do in January. And I'm going to tell you what I recommend instead. And we're going to wrap things up with that pep talk. A pep talk for your brain. When you start to slide into diet mentality. When you are on weight loss, advertising overload. And you are starting to have that thought of, "well, maybe this time it will work." So I've got some motivation for you there. 

Take a listen to the episode. If it is helpful, I would love it if you would take 30 seconds to share it with a friend. Make sure that you are subscribed to the podcast so that you get updates every time we issue a new episode and take a few seconds to leave a review. It really, really, really helps. 

So let's talk about what's involved when you throw out the food rules and the diet rules and what you can do instead.

I don't think there's any beating around the Bush on this. If you want to stop emotional eating, if you want to create a peaceful relationship with food, then you need to start playing a new game with a new set of rules. It doesn't matter what plan you start with. If your thoughts and your beliefs are coming from a place of diet, mentality, deprivation, and a lack of trust in yourself, your plan, isn't going to lead to peace with food. I bet you have more rules in your head about food and about how to eat than you ever imagined were possible rules about what and when, and how to eat, what to count, what to track rules about when to eat and when to fast and when to shop. And when you should be meal planning, things like put your food on a plate and chew it so many times or drink so many glasses of water and on and on and on. 

I've had so many people tell me that they just, if they could have a life where they didn't have to think about food ever again, it would feel blissful. So all these rules, all these Schultz, how are they working for you? How are they making you feel really? How are all these rules and sheds and half dues? How are they leaving you feeling? What would it feel like to just throw them out? This comes up a lot in my coaching program. And what I hear from so many women is that it would feel both incredibly liberating and freeing, and it might just scare them to death. Diet mentality comes with the belief that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. And if you don't do a thing the right way, it's, you that's failed. There's something wrong with you. This is not a mindset that leads to peace and freedom ever. 

Rules and guidelines are just what they say. They are. They provide rules, they provide guidance. And if you've been caught up in diet mentality, the thought of letting that go, it can feel like you're stepping into this deep, dark void, whatever will you do without the rules and the sheds and the guidelines and how will you know, it's working? What if it makes everything worse? Isn't it wrong to not be working hard or struggling or going without take a deep breath? Freedom from overeating begins with learning to trust yourself. Again, freedom from overeating begins with getting back into the groove with trusting yourself again, trusting your inner wisdom. And this is a process. It includes learning to listen to yourself, paying attention to what's right for you and what isn't figuring out what's right for you. And what isn't the thing is there's good advice out there. 

There is good advice out there. There is science and research about nutrition that might be helpful to you. There are plenty of ideas out there that you can adopt. And the path to freedom from overeating is not a one way. One size fits all cookie cutter path that you can plug yourself into. All of that advice out there just becomes a rigid set of rules that you impose on yourself. And you twist yourself up like a pencil trying to conform to, unless you can filter that advice through your own inner wisdom, unless you appoint yourself, CEO of your wellbeing, you take charge and you decide that after you've run that stuff through the filter of you, you decide that adopting some of that outside advice could be in your best interest. All that advice is going to feel like a rigid set of sheds and expectations that's coming at you. 

That's being aimed at you unless you learn how to listen to yourself and to discern what you need. Step one in this process is never creating a set of rules about food. Your brain will tell you it is because your brain has been just marinating in diet mentality. But step one is not creating a set of rules about food. Step one is embracing your power and this is something that's so important. Although your brain is going to tell you it isn't, your brain is going to tell you it's trivial. And when are we going to get to the food? And when are we going to start cutting back? When are we going to clean out our pantry and throw out the sugar and all those other sheds and rules or whatever the set of sheds and rules are that you have, your brain is going to tell you this isn't important, but this idea of embracing your power, putting yourself in the driver's seat with your relationship with food is so important. 

It's the first thing we tackle in your missing piece. People are often surprised. They want to know what the rules are, right? The rules are. We put you in charge. The rules are you set the rules, embracing your power, getting in touch with your power, getting your confidence and your trust in yourself back is step one. And we come back to it again and again and again, you are the only one who has lived inside your body, your entire life. You not only get to run the show. You need to run the show. You are the one who gets to create your winning relationship with food. You are the only person who can create your winning relationship with food. In your missing piece. We talk about the difference between feeling inundated by the sheds and the food rules and the restrictions, the difference between that and setting policies for yourself. 

And before I recorded this podcast, I was on a coaching call with your missing piece members. And we were talking about the difference between food rules and policies. And specifically, we were talking about how they feel differently, how differently it feels when we set policies from a place of our own intention and our own inner wisdom. From that place of being the CEO, it was such a great conversation. You know, one person said that food rules, they come down on me. It feels like there's a weight, right? Food rules come down on my head. They restrict me. And she said, when, when I'm dieting, it feels like I don't have a voice. Stuff is coming at me and I have to react to it. There's no freedom, a big problem with the restrictions and rules. And this came up a lot in this conversation was how they really insight your inner rebel. 

How a lot of people have this response to all this over, over restricting that they, they want to push back. The other side of wanting to push back at something is feeling pushed by something. And that is the feeling that these food rules and these sheds and diet mentality in general tends to have rules. Feel like they're coming at you. Policies are very different. We can only set policies for ourselves. So a policy, it might be, it might be a long-term decision, or it might be something that you're just experimenting with. A policy is something that you decide works for you or a policy can be something that you want to explore. I want to, I want to experiment with this. I want to see if this is a policy that will work for me, but it's something that you are in charge of, not something that you are reacting to. 

So in the group yesterday, somebody shared that she had decided that's a policy word. She had decided that snacking is not something that it works for her. Not that it's wrong, not that she should never do it. Not that she's following a plan that has rules that say you don't snack, but she has decided she has discerned that in general, she's learned that snacking doesn't feel good for her and that she likes to eat in a different way. That doesn't include snacking. Now, this is really important because your diet brain is going to want to hear this as a rule. Your diet brain is that part of your brain. That's thinking, hmm, she's found that not snacking works. Maybe I should try not snacking. Maybe I need to go back to that time when I wasn't snacking. No, this is one person's policy that she has arrived at four now through discernment and paying attention to herself. 

Other people love snacking. And there are members who know that their relationship with food is always going to include snacks. I'm one of those people I value snacking. And as our non snacker agreed yesterday, when we started talking about it, she was the only one who could have learned about her relationship with snacking. So for instance, if she had come into your missing piece and been told at the beginning of the program, that peace with food means no snacking, it wouldn't have felt good. It wouldn't have been the same thing for her. She probably would have pushed back against it, or maybe not depending on her style, it wouldn't have worked. And of course she never would have been told that that's not how your missing piece works. That's not how creating peace with food works, but your brain tends to tell you that you need to start with the rules, your diet mentality thinking has you conditioned to think I need to start with food rules. 

I need to start with deprivation. There must be some sheds. What are the rules that my brain needs to follow? The point is your mindset has to be in the right place to create freedom from overeating, your mindset, your thoughts, your beliefs, the stories you tell yourself needs to shift from one of diet mentality to one of empowerment. You have to be running the show, not a diet plan, not the old in your head, not diet culture. So how do you do this? How do you create that alternative to thinking within the framework of diet mentality, how do you start paying better attention to you and strengthening your trust in yourself? I want to bend your brain around some new ideas today because freedom from overeating really does mean seeing a different game with new rules. And it starts with a new set of thoughts and behaviors, behaviors, and thoughts that you have to condition. 

You want to create new habits and new thoughts and new neural pathways in your brain that are not designed to deprive or restrict you. It's really about priming yourself to move in a different direction where you're creating these new habits and thoughts that will nourish you, give you what you need so that you take the power away from food. Instead of that old track of depriving yourself and trying to be really, really good at someone else's set of plans or someone else's set of rules. So in order to move yourself in the other direction, you want to start in that familiar place. You want to start by practicing asking yourself why, why are you eating? Why are you feeling hungry? Instead of focusing solely on what to eat, this is what helps you get connected to the root of your overeating, the hidden hungers, the things that are driving your hunger, when, what you need, isn't fuel. 

Another piece that is really important and really different from diet mentality is starting to create a picture in your mind of what peace with food means for you. Diet mentality tells you that success is a number on the scale or a size of clothing that you get to hang in your closet. Peace with food and freedom from overeating is so much bigger than that. And as important as you may think, peace with food is to you. It is not at all unusual to find when you start to look at it that you've never really thought about it. So start creating a picture, a visual in your mind of you at your best, in the relationship with food that you want to have and get clear on what kind of role you want food and eating to play in your life. The key word here is want, what is the role you want food to have? 

How do you want to be with food? The diet mentality word is should. So you want to focus on wants and peace and what feels freeing and what feels like you and notice how your brain wants to play with sheds and restrictions. Part of that whole process is another important new muscle to create in this process, which is using curiosity, giving yourself permission to wonder giving yourself permission, to be curious, instead of telling yourself ahead of time or after the fact what you should be doing or what you should have done. So before you eat, ask yourself what you know about what triggered your hunger, ask yourself, what's your feeling. Be curious. You may need to remind a brain that is stuck in diet mentality. That feeling hungry doesn't mean you need food. You might need something else like a break or stress relief or comfort or reassurance or sleep. 

But you won't know these things without curiosity, diet, mentality, and deprivation. They want you to blame yourself. If something goes wrong, if you substitute curiosity for self-blame that opens this amazing door where you're able to discern more clearly what works best for you, what fits best for you? What you can learn from what went wrong or what didn't work so that you can build something better. If you are going to get more clarity about what you are feeling and what you are needing and what is going to be a, not just a workable path to peace with food, but one that feels good and lights you up and nourishes you. Then you're going to want to really tune into your emotions and what you're feeling that might mean developing a richer vocabulary for describing your emotions. If you are somebody who hasn't paid a lot of attention to what you're feeling in the past, you might be somebody who also labels feelings as good or bad. 

So really home in on what it is that you're feeling, try to use the most precise word possible. The more you know about what you are feeling, the better you can respond to it. And the better you can come up with strategies for taking care of yourself that are not reaching for something to eat. You become the CEO. When you are in touch with what it is that you are thinking, what it is that you are feeling, what it is that you are needing? One way to start embracing your power is to carve out a space and a practice for paying attention to these things. Find ways to connect with yourself, find ways to stay aware of your feelings or to become aware of your feelings and your hunger and your needs. This might feel awkward at first diet mentality. Doesn't pay attention to any of these things, but these are exactly the things that are important for you to create a trust and confidence in yourself and to take your power back. 

These are exactly the things that are important to be connected to. If you want to take care of yourself in ways that are not emotional eating or overeating, as you pay attention to yourself, you're going to also learn how important it is to respect the needs that you have. And some of those needs are for self-care. And for me, time it getting into the groove with those things, getting practice with those things, strengthening those muscles, remember learning this new game, adopting this new mindset. It's a practice. Isn't perfect. It's something that you work on and you strengthen and you grow in your ability to do over time. And it is absolutely the path to creating peace with food. This may seem kind of strange, but one of the things that's really important as you are learning how to shift gears is to make sure that you are giving yourself permission, real permission to do things differently. 

It's one thing to let yourself start asking some questions. It's one thing to allow yourself to be curious, but will you really give yourself full permission to pay attention to the answers? Will you really give yourself permission to rest? If you identify that you're tired or give yourself permission to get some support, if you need it, will you really give yourself permission to notice your hunger and to sometimes be hungry and feed yourself part of changing your mindset. Part of growing confident and trusting yourself again, is learning that you can keep promises to yourself. And part of keeping promises to yourself is giving yourself permission to act when you know that it's important. One thing that a lot of smart, busy women struggle with giving themselves permission to do is giving themselves permission to have deep, rich, helpful support. Now that can look very different for everybody, but thinking about what would be helpful to you, what does help look like is help getting help with other things is help letting go and delegating things is help having a mentor or a coach is help getting new strategies is help taking, taking control of some area of your life that you realize is, is triggering over eating or stress, eating and figuring out new ways to doing that. 

By first, giving yourself permission to acknowledge that you don't like the way you're doing it. Now, part of changing this process is not just being curious about the outside world, but being curious about yourself and about what you might need that you don't yet have or what you might need to learn that for whatever reason you don't know yet, I'll tell you smart women have a lot of trouble. Sometimes acknowledging the things that we don't know. And most of us have a voice in our heads saying, everybody else has this figured out. You should know how to do this. You shouldn't have a problem with us. Remember, should is a deprivation and diet mentality word. What do you want? What do you need? What would be helpful? Those are words that lead to peace with food. Those are words that move you out of deprivation and into a really transformative kind of process. 

As I'm recording this, I am realizing that this episode is kind of a pep talk for your brain. This is kind of a pep talk or not kind of, I guess it could be a pep-talk for your brain. When you find yourself being pulled back into diet mentality. This episode is a little pep talk to remind your brain of the other possibilities and to remind you of the different directions that you can take with your thoughts and your behaviors and with your habits. And as you rinse and repeat this process, and you're going to rinse and repeat this process all whole lot of times, but as you do it, it is so important to keep coming back, to being honest with yourself, about who you are about what works for you and about what doesn't work for you. It is okay. It is so important to give yourself permission that not everything is going to be a fit. 

You get to have permission. You have to have permission to not be able to, or not want to fit into everything. Your plan has to be a good fit for you and your life if it's going to work. And not only if it's going to work, but if it's going to be something that you actually want to last. So give yourself permission, ask yourself what you need, ask yourself what you're feeling, ask yourself what peace with food looks like for you and ask yourself how you would treat yourself in this moment. If you already had peace with food. So this episode is your pep talk. 

If you want more specifics about how to create that plan to take control and to end your overeating and emotional eating, I have a free five day workshop that is coming up on February 5th. If you want to be an early bird and get yourself registered or get on the wait list, you can do that today. So all you need to do is go to and you will be signed up for the early bird list for the five day freedom from overeating breakthrough workshop. And in that workshop, I am going to walk you through a five day plan, step by step action steps that you can take to create your own personalized overeating freedom formula.

Key takeaway for today. Peace with food and freedom from overeating is a process. It's an imperfect process. It's a process that you get to by rinsing and repeating and doing things differently, recognizing the sheds and focusing more on being curious and what it is that you want. Oh, and peace with food. It feels so much better than diets and deprivation. I'll talk to you soon.

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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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