There may be a way that you can STOP starting on Monday. First, tell me if any of this sounds like you:
- “I ate so bad this weekend, I’ll get back on track this Monday!”
- “I’m going to eat all of this food now before my diet starts again!”
- “I’ll make up for what I ate tomorrow!”
If you’re nodding your head yes, you’re in the right place. Let’s look at the facts!
Last Supper Mentality
Picture this: It’s Sunday evening and you’re getting ready to “start over” tomorrow. You feel guilty and ashamed for what you ate over the weekend. You pledge to “swear off” treat foods until next weekend. Since it’s your last night to eat whatever you want, you order your favorite takeout and eat wayyyy past comfortable fullness.
This is referred to as the “last supper” mentality. The last supper mentality is the idea that: “I must eat this food now before it’s off-limits again.” It’s the same as eating all of your favorite “guilty pleasure” foods before a diet starts.
The Root of Restriction
The last supper mentality is harmful because it’s impulsive and rooted in restriction. Multiple studies reveal the negative impact of food restriction:
- Restricting a particular food heightens your awareness of that food
- Restricting food groups can lead to unhealthy nutrient deficiencies
- Restriction leads to unnecessary food guilt, which triggers negative self-talk and shame
Science aside, reflect on your own experience. When you deem a particular food off-limits do you think about it more? Do you get intense cravings for the foods you restrict? What about the guilt you feel for eating “forbidden” food?
This start-and-stop cycle between dieting and eating whatever you want is exhausting! It’s time to put an end to it once and for all.
3 Affirmations to Stop Starting Over on Monday
There is a way you can view food as nourishment, develop a positive mindset around food, AND enjoy your favorite foods without guilt!
1 – I establish trust with my body by not restricting food.
First, give yourself unconditional permission to eat. I understand it may feel scary, especially if you’re used to the structure of diet rules. That’s the VERY reason you need to practice permission. Stepping out of your comfort zone is where growth happens!
When you practice permission, it’s easier to listen to your body. You can make food choices with clarity. My client Meredith summarized it perfectly when she shared this:
“An unexpected benefit has been that I TRULY want/crave fruits and veggies. You can’t explain it until you experience it, but it’s so relieving/refreshing to have total trust in my body each day to desire what is best for it. Some days that’s more food, some days that’s less food. Some days I get my energy from blueberries, and some days it’s the comfort I get from pizza.” – Everglow Nutrition Client
Trusting your body is what you want, isn’t it?
2 – I deserve to nourish my body.
Second, pay attention to the language that you use to describe food. Do you view certain foods as sinful, bad, or guilty? Do you view others as good, clean, or healthy?
Instead of categorizing food into “good” and “bad”, remind yourself that ALL food is nourishing in different ways. Sure, a carrot is more nutrient-dense than a slice of carrot cake, but that doesn’t make carrot cake bad. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a slice of carrot cake in celebration with your friends!
- Instead of: “I indulged in bad foods yesterday.”
- Reframe it to: “I enjoyed fun foods full of flavor.”
When you stop calling food “bad” you stop feeling like a “bad” person. When you stop labeling food as “guilty” you stop feeling guilty. You can make this small change in language today!
3 – What I ate yesterday does not dictate what I eat today.
Picture this: You begin your day with a balanced breakfast that gives you energy throughout the morning. On your lunch break, you take a brisk walk to your favorite cafe to pick up lunch. You feel satisfied and recharged going into your afternoon. When you notice subtle hunger around 4 pm, you allow yourself to take a mini-break and enjoy a grab-n- go snack from the fridge. After work, you meet a few friends for dinner where you split multiple entrees and appetizers. You feel at ease, relaxed, and satisfied.
Feeling at ease around food is what you want, right?
This scenario was possible because there wasn’t any restriction. If you skipped breakfast, you would’ve been distracted by hunger pangs. If you obsessed over the menu at dinner, you would’ve missed out on the relaxing conversation with friends. No restriction = greater fulfillment!
Consider the following prompt:
What would a Monday without restriction look and feel like to you?
Drop your response in the comments!
Want More Support?
Begin with my 5 Steps to Eating Intuitively, a free guide to help you get started on your intuitive eating journey today.