How to Stop Starting Over with Your Diet

Always blowing your diet and starting over?

Watch the video or read the script below

Have you been here before? The moment you blow your diet with a half pan of brownies because you weren’t even supposed to have one, but now you’ve had 5, so you might as well call it on the diet and start over next week. 

I personally am very well-acquainted with the “starting over” plan. What about you?

Hey, I’m Elizabeth and I’m here to help you become a woman of wellness by healing your relationship with food and love your body and today I’m helping you overcome the need to continually start over with your diet or exercise plan and instead view it as a full journey with ups, downs, bumps, and bruises. 

First, let’s talk about why you feel the need to always start over. It’s two simple words, 

Diet culture. Or, diet mentality. 

Our whole lives the health and wellness industry, and more specifically the diet industry has been telling us what foods in what amounts will lead us to the right about of weight loss. Every time you started a new plan, you had certain foods that were allowed and certain foods that were off limits, right?

The more you’ve dieted, the more likely you are to have a long list of foods that are “fattening”, “unhealthy”, or “bad for you”... because, well, diet culture told you so. 

Dieting requires us to be perfect, flawless human beings. And when we’re not, then we often head down the path of feeling unworthy and unmotivated to get what we want. 

The good news is that you already know that there is absolutely no human being on the planet that is perfect, but somehow our desire for change becomes so consuming that we’re certain we’ll be the first, right? It sounds silly saying out loud, but trying to eat a perfect diet makes us feel like we need to be a perfect person. 

But what happens when stress creeps in, you go through a hard time, you have a long day, you aren’t prepared, or you just don’t feel like eating what you’re “supposed” to eat?

The crap hits the fan, right?

It becomes a vicious cycle of restriction and binging. A cycle of starting, stopping, and starting over. 

Today I want to help you get off that emotional rollercoaster because it’s exhausting isn’t it?!

To help understand it in the simplest of ways, I want to talk about babies. Cute little babies. I have a darling baby girl who at the time of this recording is 9 months old. She’s currently trying to figure out how to get her body from one place to another by trying to crawl and pulling herself up on anything and everything she can grab. 

In just 9 short months, my baby went from a 100% limp creature not even being able to hold her head up, to sitting up and even attempting movement. In just a few more months she’ll be crawling, walking, and then running away from me as fast as she can (I already know she’s going to be the kid that I lose in the grocery store and find only because I heard a giant crash on the next aisle over). Ok, really I love her and I especially love her determination. 

There’s something about babies that is very applicable to our relationship with food. You have probably been (or may currently be) in a place where you feel 100% dependent on a diet plan to help you navigate your nutrition. You feel like you have no idea what to eat, how much to eat, and what’s really “healthy” anymore. You essentially feel “limp” to the diet plan. Then, you mess it up or go off it and you have no idea how to hold yourself up on your own. 

Then someone swoops in, picks you up, tickles you and then all is right in the world again (no, I’m just kidding, but it works great for my baby hehe). 

But really, after being in this cycle for weeks, months, and probably even years, you finally find the idea, the concept of intuitive eating (and if you’re new to the concept, welcome, you’re in the right place!). Just like a baby, you discover that you are in charge of your hands and your feet and they can get you places. You start learning new skills. You start learning that there is a better way than being limp or bound to a diet just like a baby would be to laying on the floor unable to move. 

Here’s where we get stuck. We get up, we walk, we start exploring on our own and then what happens? We fall. Just like an infant who falls down over and over again as they start to learn how to walk. 

The problem is that we have a different viewpoint than the infant. When we “fall” as adults, we view it as starting over. We often feel like we’re back at square one. What I’m here to tell you is that you’re never at square one. You fell down because you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone and instead of being back at square one, you’re already a step ahead. You learned something from that fall, and just like a baby doesn’t go from walking to being immediately unable to keep their head up like a newborn, you don’t go backward. 

You pick yourself up and start walking again, this time with even more skill than you had the last time you tried it. 

So, can you eliminate the phrase “starting over” from your vocabulary? You’ve already started and you’re already in a great place. Just being right here, right now is a thousand steps in the direction you want to go! 

I know, it’s a little easier said than done, so I’m going to walk you through 4 steps to help you eliminate the “start over” mentality from your life. 

First, no matter what happened, when you find yourself wanting to “start over” with whatever you’ve started (because a lifetime of thinking this way will not just disappear overnight), all you need to do is acknowledge that it happened. Be aware of it. Recognize those feelings of needing to start over. Then, name those feelings. Name those feelings “diet mentality” - it will immediately put up a red flag that you’re not going back down that path again, you’re moving forward. 

Recognize the thoughts. Name the thoughts. “This is a diet mentality. I’m on a different path now”. Put those thoughts in the past. 

Second, give yourself grace. Sometimes a baby cries when they fall down, but how long do they usually stay crying? Not very long before they’re back pulling themselves up on everything and attempting to move again. 

It’s ok to be frustrated. It’s ok to feel those feelings. They’re totally normal. You’re trying a new way of life, of course you’ll hit frustrating moments. Recognize what happened, give yourself grace, and get back up and keep trying. 

Third, spend a short amount of time assessing the situation. This should take less than 3 minutes. Look at what happened, possibly find your trigger or the reason you felt like going back to the “starting over” cycle and spend a couple of minutes assessing why you might be feeling that way. Come up with a simple idea or solution to try next time and then move on. Don’t break it all apart and go into every detail, just look at it as a whole, spend a couple of minutes making a plan for next time, and leave it alone. 

When we dwell, we’re focusing on the past and not the future. 

Which leads to my last step which is to let it be. 

As far as I know babies don’t sit and analyze what happened. They look for a way to do it better the next time and get on their way. 

So, when you feel the need to “start over” when it comes to healing your relationship with food, fitness, or your body remember you’re already 1,000 steps ahead. Take one more step, then two more and so on. 

You are already a woman of wellness and I’m so impressed with you being here and showing up for yourself in this exact moment. You already running! (and if you don’t like running, maybe come up with a different metaphor hehe). 

I guess that means I should make sure my own baby isn’t running off without me right now… bye!