What is diet talk?
When I refer to ‘diet talk’ I am referring to the triggering conversations about dieting and food restrictions that people do when they are dieting or wishing to diet. Diet talk is rampant in my own work place, as well as in many others, and it can have a severe negative affect on people’s mental health.
I would consider myself in recovery from an eating disorder. I am not fully recovered and I still regularly have disordered thoughts about eating. Therefore, I find it extremely difficult to cope with talk about weightloss and dieting, as it is a trigger for me to begin the cycle of disordered eating and dieting.
Why am I talking about this now?
January is traditionally known as the month where people start the ‘new year, new me’ mindset, and many begin dieting and cutting various food types from their daily intake. People begin to focus on losing weight and changing themselves.
It’s not the only time of year that this happens. I find that people start crash dieting for many occasions in their lives – weddings and holidays especially, but I find that by February, the enthusiasm begins to wane and people begin to struggle in their weightloss efforts.
So now is the perfect time to start talking about how to deal with those disordered thoughts brought on by dieting.
It took a long time for me to break the cycle of disordered eating brought on by thoughts focussed on my body and on comparing my body to others.
I talked about how I broke the cycle in my blogpost The Battle so I won’t go into it again. However, what I will say is that dieting, for me, is the catalyst for disordered eating hidden in seeking optimum health. It’s harmful and I just cannot condone the diet industry and everything that goes with it.
How to Deal With Diet Talk
- Be mindful of your diet talk
Be mindful of your talk of dieting around others, friends or not, as this can be a trigger for others with a history of disordered eating. I don’t just mean ‘don’t call other people fat’, I mean do not comment on other people’s weight at all, whether they’ve lost weight or put weight up! It is none of your business. Seriously. And you never know what somebody is going through. Somebody might be going through an eating disorder and your comments will not make things better for them. Also, diet talk will only increase your anxiety and disordered thoughts about eating and will make you feel inherently worse.
- Set boundaries
Make it clear that you don’t want to talk about food or dieting. Simply change the subject or say ‘I don’t know anything about that’.
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
This is so difficult to do. I wrote a blogpost on it here: How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others so I won’t go into detail but I will say, in my experience, that it is seriously detrimental to your mental health (and physical health) to compare yourself to others, and it led to me developing an eating disorder in the first place.
- Write down your thoughts
I keep a journal where I write my thoughts. It helps me to keep track of the types of thoughts I am having – positive or negative. Then I can look back and see what my triggers have been.
- Do something new that takes you away from your thoughts
I’ve recently started yoga and I’ve started volunteering with a local sports club which allows me to distract myself from my thoughts, and channel my energy in to something outside of myself.
As always, I am not a professional, I am simply writing what works for me. So if you seek help, visit the Where to Find Help section of my blog.