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3 Mindset Mistakes That Will Keep You From Having Peace With Food

May 2, 2023

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

Lately there have been some ways that I’m noticing my body is speaking to me, especially when I feel big emotions. I am working on noticing those emotions, and allowing them to come and go without getting overly attached to them. I’m also working hard not to avoid them. And this can feel like a tightrope to walk on. 

I’m working hard to observe my thoughts and what psychologists call “thinking errors.” These are basically distortions in our mindset that we all have because it’s part of being a human being. I’m really prone to things like all-or-none thinking, or catastrophizing, and also future tripping. So when I catch myself thinking in these ways I try to step back and think about why I am feeling this way and how to shift to a more balanced perspective, which is usually a much more helpful way to think. 

Let’s use a quick example with food to give you a taste of what I’m talking about. Have you ever had one of those moments where you ate something that was really tasty, and it was so delicious that you didn’t want to stop eating it even though you knew you were full? I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there before. And if you ended up eating past the point of comfortable fullness you might start thinking things like, “Why do I ALWAYS do that?” or, “That was so unhealthy and I need to stop eating crap like that.” Those aren’t helpful ways of thinking, are they? Beating ourselves up doesn’t help us take better care of our bodies. Research shows that shame is an extremely poor motivator for behavior change. In fact, how often in those moments have you turned back to food to cope with how guilty you feel for eating the food in the first place? We call that the “what the heck” response – where you feel like, “I already blew it so I might as well keep eating and I can start over tomorrow.” 

It’s these types of thinking errors that are wreaking havoc on our mindset. Where we do things like overgeneralize by saying “I always do that,” or “I just can’t trust myself to have these foods in the house.” And we use judgmental language and labeling things as black and white or good and bad with food (even though there is no food that is inherently good or bad for us). 

If you can start to notice and shift these thinking errors, your mindset with food will start to change, and you’ll be able to have more trust with yourself around all types of food.

That’s food freedom, folks. 

Mindset mistakes that will keep you from having peace with food. I see a lot of people making these mistakes that are tripping them up. So if you want to have more peace and freedom with food, let’s shift the way that you are thinking about food and the way that you are relating to food. Because that will make a HUGE difference.

Diet culture has gotten us so messed up in the way we think about food and our bodies that it can feel like a lot to un-learn. But don’t be intimidated. We are going to keep working through this together.  You deserve to be able to eat the foods you like, to listen to your body, to honor your health, and to not have to obsess about all of it 24/7. 

What are “thinking errors?” How do they mess with your head and prevent you from trusting your body?

Thinking errors are exaggerated and inaccurate ways of thinking, and sometimes psychologists call them “cognitive distortions.” We ALL experience this at times, and it’s part of being human.

Some examples include black-and-white (or all-or-none) thinking. You might have thought something like, “I’m NEVER going to be able to accept my body!” Or, “I can’t keep ice cream in the house or else I’ll eat all of it.” 

Another example is called the mental filter, which is where we only pay attention to certain types of information or evidence. You might think to yourself, “I had such a bad day today because I ate X food!” You’re only thinking about the “bad” thing you ate and you’re not seeing the bigger picture of everything else you ate that day and the things going on outside of food. You’re also not recognizing that no one day of eating determines your health or your worthiness as a human being.

It’s SO easy to be overly critical of ourselves – especially with our bodies and our eating.

There are many more examples of thinking errors that I encourage you to check out here

The 3 most common thinking errors I see in my clients and students

1: Black-and-white (or all-or-none thinking). I’m being good/I’m being bad.” Or “I’m doing well/Things are terrible.” Or “I couldn’t do the workout I wanted today so I won’t exercise at all.

There’s comfort in the extremes and dichotomy of good/bad or right/wrong, but real life doesn’t work that way – especially with food and health. A big part of the work I do with my clients and students is to find ways to think “in the gray” and to be more flexible with themselves. 

2. Labeling. Thinking of food as good/bad, or healthy/unhealthy. Saying things like, “I shouldn’t eat processed food.” Labeling food as bad, unhealthy or processed has such a negative connotation that it makes us feel guilty about eating these things, which messes with our relationship with food.

Another example is “junk food.” How do you feel when you eat something you’re labeling as “junk?” You feel like you ate something that was bad for you. You feel like you did something wrong. 

3. Shoulding. I’ll often observe to my clients and students that they are “shoulding” themselves up one side and down the other. We are so critical of ourselves, and we tend to get hung up on the ways that we feel like we don’t measure up. We can make ourselves feel bad about almost anything. 

How to avoid these thinking errors so you can have peace with food

Be aware when it’s happening. Stay curious about which of these thinking errors show up for you most often so you can catch yourself when it’s happening. 

Aim for a more flexible and balanced way of thinking. Try to find the middle ground. Practice cultivating mindful awareness of your thoughts, without judgment. Choose new thoughts that are more accurate, flexible and aligned with your values. 

Be patient with yourself. Remember that we all have these thinking errors, so it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you when it happens. The key is to practice shifting away from them, which becomes easier over time. You’ve got this!

Click here to listen to the full episode!

Before you leave I have one quick question…Are you a member of my FB group? Inside the group I do extra trainings and I share exclusive content. It’s called Intuitive Eating Made Easy. It’s a wonderfully supportive community and a great place to ask questions and to learn from others who are on this journey. Click here to join!

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I covered it all in episode 75 3 Mindset Mistakes That Will Keep You From Having Peace With Food


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