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How I Changed My Diet Mindset to a Wellness Mindset

I think I was 12 when I went on my first diet. And I lost weight. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I didn't need to lose weight at 12 but I did. I'm now 52. For the last 40 years I have gone through a vicious cycle that so many people fall in to. A cycle that our culture tells us is not only normal, but is glamorized. It is a multi billion dollar business. Tell me if this self dialogue sounds familiar. Self: My pants don't fit and I've gained 30 lbs this past year. I need to start a diet. *Jumps on whatever diet is the current trend*.

3-4 months later: I have been so good! This diet rocks. I'm looking great, I've lost 25 lbs and I'm wearing those favorite jeans. I will eat this way forever!

2 weeks later: I've been so good, and this weekend is a special occasion so I'm not gonna diet this weekend. I'm gonna take the weekend off.

6 months later: All 30 lbs plus another 10 are back so why bother trying.


This my friends is what a diet culture creates. A vicious cycle that sets you up to fail and even worse, that sets you up to wreck your metabolism and your health. I say this as someone who has done and succeeded at every diet trend in the last 40 years . EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I always lost weight and I ALWAYS gained the weight back. Then, a few years ago my immune system shut down and I started fighting to get well. In the meantime I kept gaining weight and no matter what I did it didn't come off. That was when I realized that just like something had to change with my health, something had to change with me and food. Being so overweight that I couldn't enjoy life was just as unacceptable as not being healthy enough to enjoy life. That's when my journey to learning to use food to heal my body and as fuel began.



Let me start by saying, my diet is not perfect and I am still learning and growing every day. I have only recently given up dairy and gluten and it has been hard. Not physically hard, but mentally hard. I love a good piece of toast in the morning but right now in my journey it isn't what's best for me. I'm at a point in my journey where I have made peace with food. I understand that I can love food, eat really good things, and still treat food as fuel for my body. I can fill my body with nutrient dense, healing, delicious foods, and still every now and then have a treat.


This has been a two year journey for me. I started with overhauling my diet. I didn't go ON a diet. I overhauled the kinds of food I ate. Very slowly these are things I did. First I eliminated processed foods. Nothing out of a box, bag, or can. Next I cut down on the amount of red meat and pork I eat. After that, I started expanding my vegetable choices. Once I had that conquered, I moved on to buying healthier versions of the whole, unprocessed foods I was eating. Some call this clean eating. Basically, I started buying organic fruits and vegetables, free range or pastured chicken and grass fed beef. Free range eggs and grass fed butter were next. You get the point. Everything didn't change overnight. First, I was learning as I was going. When you know better you do better. As I learned about why these things were important I wanted to do better for myself and my family. The second reason the changes came slowly over two years is that eating fresh, organic, non processed foods is not cheap! It's a darn shame that in this country you can eat a box of crap filled with chemicals that they call macaroni and cheese for about $1.25 and to buy a bunch of organic broccoli it's gonna cost you around $3.75. It's the same thing with pharmecuticals vs. natural remedies. People are going by to go with the cheaper option even if it is worse for them. I know I did before I got sick.


Somewhere along the way as I was slowly making changes my mindset began to shift. I no longer looked at food as the enemy. My husband and I talked about how much money we were spending on groceries and we decided we would rather use food as medicine, and use food to promote our wellness than pay for our sickness from a diet filled with chemicals and artificial "food". Somewhere along the way I had shifted from a "diet" mindset to a "wellness " mindset.


I learned that I love fresh vegetables and that they are way more enjoyable to me than a frozen meal or some sugary dessert. What I also learned is that if I do choose to indulge in a not so healthy choice, it's ok. It's one meal. Repeat that to yourself. It's ok. It's one meal. Because I'm not stuck in a diet mindset, I don't feel like a failure when I indulge for a meal or even for a day. Because my mindset is about my wellness, I don't feel like if I have a cheat day that I can't get back on track. I choose every single day to put my wellness first. I have lost my wellness before and I will do whatever it takes to keep it. For me, that means choosing to eat healthy nutrient dense foods 95% of the time.


I want to state, that unlike every single diet I've ever been on, I never feel deprived. I eat when I'm hungry and I eat things that I love. I never ever feel like I haven't had enough to eat. I eat about 75% plant based and you can eat a TON of vegetables. I have given things up, but I gave them up when I felt that it was time and when I saw they weren't serving me well. You read in a past blog about why I gave up sugar.(The one on cake if you haven't read it yet.) I still have a little bit from time to time but really have no desire. I mentioned I have given up dairy and gluten. I don't know if it's forever, I'm sure I will have them from time to time but for now they aren't serving my body well so they have to go.


I talk to people from time to time because they notice how I eat. They say things like, I could never give up sugar. Or, I like to eat too much. Or, what good is life without bread. I don't get into it with them, because if that is right for them, it's their choice. If you have read this far you are probably someone that seriously wants to shift their mindset. I will share my secret with you in the next paragraph.



Ok ready for my secret? There is no secret. That's it. You just get up every day and you put things into your body that will fuel it and give it the nutrients it needs. You take baby steps every single day. Some days you eat boring meals that don't excite you but they fuel you. I used to tell my husband, every single meal doesn't have to be a culinary experience. Sometimes it's just about fuel. That's it. Get up every day, take the baby steps, put in the work and one day you will realize it has all changed for you. Celebrate the special occasions guilt free knowing that you will be right back to putting in the work. Enjoy a day of indulging knowing that tomorrow you will be right back to working on your wellness. It isn't an all or none venture, that's the beautiful part.


Diets are never ever sustainable. Not one single person will ever be able to be on a "diet" forever. What is sustainable is learning to have a healthy relationship with food, understanding how to use fresh whole foods to fuel your body, and enjoying an occasional indulgence guilt free. That's the #1 way to know if you have a diet mentality or a wellness mentality - do you feel guilt after an indulgence or do you know that you will be right back to it tomorrow. If you feel guilt in any way, you are stuck in a diet mentality.


I would love to connect with you if you are looking to shift your mindset. Please comment on this blog, send me an email, or reach out to me on Instagram @betterhealthbybeth.com. Thanks for reading along!


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