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Breaking Up With The Diet Mentality

Breaking Up With The Diet Mentality

What is the diet mentality? 

Even though you may not be consciously “on a diet,” our culture automatically feeds into the diet mentality. It’s the underlying ideas about things like” willpower,” the need to trick or ignore hunger cues, moral judgment of foods, or punishing yourself for things like “falling off course.” 

Many of us experience diet mentality without even realizing it. This mindset blends in with the background of what’s normal in our culture. You may notice yourself doing things like weighing yourself each day and putting a lot of value into that number. Maybe you withhold food from yourself if you feel you “overindulged” at a previous meal. Or perhaps you make judgments about different foods such as vegetables being “good” and cupcakes being “bad.” 

How the diet mentality holds us back

It’s not uncommon to want to pursue health. What we often get confused about is the message that weight = health. These are two very different things and the pursuit of weight change, rather than health, can often lead us to unhealthy places. Have you ever made changes to your “lifestyle” with the intention to lose weight, find that you aren’t losing the amount you expected, and turn those changes into more severe and rigid plans? Have you ever thrown out health changes to your lifestyle due to a lack of “results” in the form of weight loss?

Or perhaps you’ve chosen a diet plan that seems “healthy” but you just can’t seem to stick to it? Here’s the deal – any time you find yourself asked to ignore or manipulate your hunger cue, it’s a diet. Anytime you aren’t allowed to eat until you’re satisfied and choose a variety of food you enjoy and that fuel you, it’s a diet. These things eventually backfire. Sooner or later, you’re going to have what the diet industry calls a “loss of willpower.” Spoiler alert: it’s actually completely physiologically normal for these efforts to “backfire!”

But this is a false idea and the trap of the diet mentality. 

You didn’t lose willpower. And you didn’t mess up. And you don’t need to punish yourself by working out harder the next day or having even less to eat. 

The Cycle of Diet Mentality

When we have been limiting ourselves and trying not to respond to our hunger, we often end up eating more food at our next opportunity. This is a normal physiological response to not having had enough to eat. It is NOT a loss of willpower. When this repeatedly happens, over the lifetime of the diet (or many diets), many people start to experience things like obsession with food, low energy, and disordered eating habits. And even if it results in weight loss in the short term, studies show that in the long-term, 85%+ people regain weight that was lost and can actually end up weighing more than when they started the diet. 

Weight, Diets and Motherhood

As moms, we are given a lot of messaging that getting your body back is something that’s attainable and desirable. Most workout and nutrition programs are marketed to moms in this way.

After having children our bodies have changed through pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood. On some level, many of us don’t recognize ourselves (physically and mentally) or our lives. Some find a sense of security and familiarity in dieting if that’s something that’s been used in the past; it’s what we know because of our culture of the diet mentality. We tend to believe if we want to feel better, we have to change the way our body looks and we’re constantly told in times of change in our lives that the way our bodies look matter – puberty, college, marriage, motherhood, menopause and even divorce! We CAN opt-out. Now, no judgment if that doesn’t feel like an option right now. Perhaps just consider this an invite to dip your toe in and consider an alternative.

The Healthier Option to Dieting

My goal is to provide a safe space for women who want an alternative to the dieting cycle. There is an alternative to choose whatever you want to do with your body and your health. It’s a false belief that the only option is the automatic desire and response of dieting. 

Intuitive eating is something that can bring more peace to your own eating experience and your body image. It will also help you when feeding your family and fostering a healthy body image. This is why clients usually come to my practice; they have experienced a poor relationship with food, and they’re stuck in the diet mentality. They want something better for themselves and their families. Now that they have children of their own, their worst fear is for their children to grow up feeling the same way. While you don’t have full control over this, there is a lot you can do and it starts with you.

You can find peace with food. You can be in charge of your eating experience. You don’t have to live in a constant state of monitoring, limiting, counting, and restraint. This is such a big and powerful step in intuitive eating and a boost in confidence. If you want to learn more, check out my FREE Busy Mom’s Starter Guide to Making Peace With Food!

Raising Body Positive Children

Raising Body Positive Children

Busy Mom's Starter Guide to Making Peace with Food
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We all want our kiddos to feel comfortable in their bodies, but we can’t always protect them from the cultural messaging and outside voices implying that there is a right and wrong way to eat. And for those of us who struggle with eating and body image disorders ourselves, there is the added worry that we might pass these issues on to our children. So, what can we do to raise body positive children with the confidence and autonomy to practice intuitive eating?

Karen Diaz is a registered dietitian certified in intuitive eating. She earned her BS in Dietetics from James Madison University in 2001 and completed her internship at the Cornell Campus of New York—Presbyterian Hospital in 2003. Karen spent several years working as a clinical dietician in the nutrition department at The Renfrew Center, one of the leading centers for eating disorder treatment on the East Coast, before creating The Free Life, a platform designed to support women in overcoming eating and body image disorders. She is also the author of Within: Making Peace with Food and Body Image to Create a Healthy Family and Home.

On this episode of The Embodied & Well Mom Show, Karen joins us to discuss the challenges moms (and parents) face in judging ourselves when it comes to body image and food. She shares the two overarching themes from her book on confronting eating and body image disorders, building yourself up first—and then opening a dialogue with your children. Karen also describes the value in developing a Family Manifesto around food and learning to practice ‘appreciative looking.’ Listen in for Karen’s insight on talking to your kids about cultural messaging and learn her top strategies for raising body positive children!

Key Takeaways


What inspired Karen to specialize in eating disorders

  • Addiction issues in family, friend with eating disorder
  • 8 years in nutrition department at eating disorder clinic

How we judge ourselves around body image + food

  • Rules make it hard to be active participant in relationship
  • Remove mom-guilt that we caused child’s issues

The two overarching themes in Karen’s book Within

  1. Build self up so strong that diet culture crumbles at feet
  2. Open dialogue in home to address struggles

Karen’s Family Manifesto around food

  • Set of beliefs, e.g.: food shouldn’t be reward
  • Don’t judge other families for different values

The value in facilitating an open dialogue on body image

  • Ask questions to let kids be heard
  • Avoid bringing own worries into conversation

The concept of appreciative looking

  • Look at photographs 3X, find something like
  • Learn to see self in different way

Karen’s advice on shifting negative cultural messages

  • YOU determine your environment
  • Choose foods that taste good, feel good for you

How to educate your kids on cultural messaging

  • Point out lack of size diversity
  • Discuss shows with personality based on body size

Karen’s insight on talking to preteens about body image

  • Proactive strategies (i.e.: write letters to parts of body)
  • Don’t panic about phases, doctor’s comments

Connect with Karen

The Free Life

Karen on Facebook

Karen on Twitter

Karen on Pinterest

Within: Making Peace with Food and Body Image to Create a Healthy Family and Home by Karen Diaz RD


Connect with Lindsay


Intuitive Eating Moms

Embodied & Well Mom Show on Facebook

Lindsay on Instagram

Lindsay on Pinterest

Lindsay on Twitter

Lindsay on LinkedIn




Wendy Yalom Photography

How to Get Help For Binge Eating Disorder

How to Get Help For Binge Eating Disorder

Busy Mom's Starter Guide to Making Peace with Food
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Dr. Marianne Miller specializes in eating disorder treatment for adults and teens. Marianne has been a practicing therapist for more than 20 years, earning her master’s in marriage and family therapy from Abilene Christian University and her doctorate from Texas Tech. In addition to being a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California, she is a member of The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals Foundation and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Marianne is committed to helping clients with all types of food and body anxiety through her private practice in San Diego.

On this episode of The Embodied & Well Mom Show, Marianne joins us to share the definition of binge eating disorder and discuss its prevalence in the US. She walks us through her approach to working with a client with binge eating disorder, describing several of the coping strategies she teaches to manage emotions and anxiety. Marianne also explains the spiritual aspect of her work with the clients as well as her support of clients in the LGBTQ+ community. Listen in for Marianne’s insight around the impact of weight discrimination and learn why she is an advocate for Health at Every Size!

Key Takeaways


The definition of binge eating disorder

  • Eat excessive amount of food regularly
  • Feel shame, regret + distress

The prevalence of binge eating disorder

  • Became official diagnosis on DSM-5 in 2013
  • Impacts 6% of population (more men than women)
  • Common in pregnancy, postpartum

Marianne’s approach to supporting someone with binge eating disorder

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (emotion, anxiety management)
  • Family of origin work
  • Refer to dietitian who specializes in eating disorders

The spiritual aspect of Marianne’s work with clients

  • Tap into client’s faith, spiritual beliefs as resource
  • Address harmful beliefs (i.e.: body = shameful)

Marianne’s approach to working with LGBTQ clients

  • Validate experiences of discrimination
  • Understand coming out journey, build chosen family

Why there’s a higher prevalence of eating disorders in the LGBTQ community

  • Gender dysphoria in trans individuals (effort to change body)
  • Stress from discrimination triggers eating disorder

Marianne’s insight on the impact of weight discrimination

  • Some clients shamed by physician
  • Work toward self-acceptance (Health at Every Size)
  • Think critically about messages you receive

Connect with Marianne

Marianne’s Website

Marianne’s Blog

Marianne on Facebook

Marianne on Instagram


Connect with Lindsay


Intuitive Eating Moms

Embodied & Well Mom Show on Facebook

Lindsay on Instagram

Lindsay on Pinterest

Lindsay on Twitter

Lindsay on LinkedIn




Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Dr. Marsha Linehan

Health at Every Size

Linda Bacon

Association for Size Diversity and Health

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon

Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor

Center for Discovery

Responsive Feeding & “Picky Eating”

Responsive Feeding & “Picky Eating”

Busy Mom's Starter Guide to Making Peace with Food
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Parents receive conflicting messages about feeding. We’re told that getting the right nutrients is incredibly important to our child’s health and wellbeing. Then, we’re told that we should simply offer our kids food and let them decide whether and how much to eat. So, how do we follow both sets of advice? The fact is, nutrition is the result of a trusting feeding relationship, and if you can learn to appreciate your kiddo’s presentation and respond to their cues, you can achieve a stress-free mealtime.

Grace Wong is a certified eating disorder registered dietitian with 15 years of clinical experience in mental health and pediatric nutrition. Grace works with a diverse presentation of feeding and eating disorders and supports children with co-existing conditions like ADHD, autism, sensory processing challenges, anxiety, depression, addiction and trauma. She is committed to helping clients uncover their family feeding history and establish a comfortable environment at mealtime. Grace’s practice is based in Calgary, and she does online coaching through her Facebook business page.

Today, Grace joins us to explain how she supports parents whose kids have complex feeding presentations. She discusses the concept of food acceptance, sharing her aim to get children to a place where variety is not disruptive and her approach to establishing a peaceful mealtime. Listen in for Grace’s insight on the challenges of parenting neuro-diverse kiddos and learn how to appreciate your child’s feeding presentation and build a trusting feeding relationship!

Key Takeaways


How Grace supports parents whose kids eat differently

  • Don’t treat child as ‘problem’
  • Learn story, family feeding history
  • Identify cause of current challenges
  • Move child closer to natural trajectory

The tenets of division of responsibility in feeding

  • Parents responsible for when, what and where
  • Children responsible for whether, how much

The concept of responsive eating

  • Relationship rather than set of rules
  • Read child’s cues, respond appropriately

Grace’s insight on the idea of food acceptance

  • Limited diet grows with experience
  • Get to a place where variety not disruptive

The conflicting message parents receive re: feeding

  • Nutrition important, necessary for wellbeing
  • Offer children food and let them decide

How Grace works to establish a peaceful mealtime

  • Collect story and identify stressors
  • Give child autonomy to choose or remove
  • Address concerns (e.g.: anxiety, appetite)
  • Make meals safe + comfortable

The challenges of parenting neuro-diverse children

  • Shaming or judgment from friends, family
  • Kids employ masking to appear normal
  • Increases anxiety, creates more aversion

Grace’s advice on appreciating your child’s presentation

  • Develop trusting feeding relationship
  • Outcome = nutrition, peace with food

Connect with Grace


Grace on Facebook


Connect with Lindsay


Intuitive Eating Moms

Embodied & Well Mom Show on Facebook

Lindsay on Instagram

Lindsay on Pinterest

Lindsay on Twitter

Lindsay on LinkedIn




Ellen Satter’s Division of Responsibility

Dr. Katja Rowell

My Kid Has a Food Allergy and I Need Support

My Kid Has a Food Allergy and I Need Support

Busy Mom's Starter Guide to Making Peace with Food
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If you have a child with a newly diagnosed food allergy, you are likely consumed with learning as much as you can to keep your kiddo safe and healthy. This may also mean that you are neglecting your own self-care in order to take on the extra responsibility of eliminating allergens from your home and meeting with daycare providers and school administrators to develop a plan for your child. What can you do to take care of yourself during this challenging time?

Diana Rice, RD, is a nationally recognized nutrition professional and family health expert. She is passionate about communicating effective and evidence-based strategies that incorporate good nutrition into the challenges of modern-day life. Prior to launching her consultancy, Diana served as the Associate Director of Nutrition Communications at The Monday Campaigns, where she spearheaded the Kids Cook Monday initiative. Now she focuses on perinatal, infant and child nutrition, and food allergies, working directly with families to implement practical strategies for improved health. Diana is also a frequent contributor to national media publications, including Parents, The Huffington Post, and Everyday Health, among many others.

Today, Diana joins us to describe how a child’s food allergy diagnosis impacts the entire family. She shares the professional advice around introducing allergens early and often, explaining the ‘mom guilt’ she felt for not doing everything she could to reduce her own child’s risk. Diana also walks us through the steps she took to manage her daughter’s allergy to peanuts and tree nuts and offers advice for parents on reaching out for the support you need. Listen in for Diana’s insight into why food allergies are so much more complex than simply eliminating a particular food from your diet—and learn how to advocate for your child AND take care of yourself as an allergy mom!

Key Takeaways


Diana’s transition to motherhood

  • Smooth process with first daughter (support network)
  • Relocated when second daughter just 3 weeks old
  • Started to slack on self-care, developed anxiety

Diana’s second daughter’s health issues

  • Introduced potential allergens ‘early and often’
  • Diagnosis of allergy to peanuts and tree nuts

How Diana responded to her daughter’s food allergies

  • Eliminate foods manufactured on shared lines
  • Meetings with daycare providers, school
  • Research around brands with dedicated facilities

The professional advice around introducing allergens

  • Prompted by study of Israeli kids in UK and Israel
  • Introduce potential allergens early to reduce risk

Diana’s mom guilt around her daughter’s allergies

  • Couldn’t say ‘did everything I could’
  • Tell self that your best is enough

The responsibility of managing a child’s food allergies

  • Challenge usually falls to mom
  • Focus on child’s needs AND own self-care

Diana’s insight on navigating your child’s food allergies

  • Recognize that diagnosis affects whole family
  • Get support you need (e.g.: therapist, dietician)

Diana’s advice for parents of children with allergies

  • Identify anxiety triggers (i.e.: grocery shopping)
  • Connect with other allergy parents
  • Set aside time to dig through info
  • Talk through concerns with partner

How parents of kids without allergies can provide support

  1. Understand risks of cross-contamination
  2. Respect school policies re: outside food
  3. Cultivate empathy for families with food allergies
  4. Don’t give child food without parent permission
  5. Celebrate with non-food alternatives (e.g.: stickers)

Diana’s top tip for food allergy moms

  • There’s no shame in being ‘that mom’
  • You deserve to advocate for family’s health


Connect with Diana


Diana’s Website

Diana’s Facebook Group – Self-Care for Allergy Moms

Diana on Instagram

Diana on Twitter

Diana on Pinterest

Diana on Facebook

Connect with Lindsay


Intuitive Eating Moms

Nutrition Instincts – San Diego Nutrition Therapy

Embodied & Well Mom Show on Facebook

Lindsay on Instagram

Lindsay on Pinterest

Lindsay on Twitter

Lindsay on LinkedIn




Born to Eat: Whole, Healthy Foods from Baby’s First Bite by Wendy Jo Peterson and Leslie Schilling

Peanut Allergy Study in Israel vs. the UK

Diana’s Halloween Food Allergy Article


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