At What Point Does ‘Should Talk’ Turn Into ‘Diet Talk’?

At what point does ‘should talk’ (e.g. “I should eat more veggies”) turn into ‘diet talk’?

One of the members of the Nutrition Empowered Mums Facebook Group asked a brilliant question.

The question was:

“If you get a chance to cover it I would be keen to hear your ideas on how to identify diet talk versus non diet talk. I often find myself wondering where the line is and can see from a lot of the conversation on here that others do too.

For example, the dilemma of I feel like eating ‘X’, but I think I should eat more ‘Y’ because that’s what the guidelines, the doctor, etc say. Or a more subtle example of ‘ I think I should eat more veges’ .

Logically for good nutrition this is probably correct but is it or does it become diet talk at some point? Is it all just irrelevant if we learn to trust our intuition?”

Click here if you want to hear me answer the question in this Facebook live video I did within the Nutrition Empowered Mums Facebook group.

Answering the question within the Nutrition Empowered Mums Facebook Group.
The simple answer to this complex question is that only you can determine if you have crossed the line into diet talk. When you have crossed the line, the talk will feel unhelpful.
Many people struggle to identify if they crossed the line because of the diet culture we all live in. It is normal to experience this ‘should talk’ and it can be helpful, however, it can also be unhelpful and this is where problems arise.
If you feel like the ‘should talk’ is causing you issues such as distress from your behaviours, reach out to a non-dieting health professional like myself who can support you to manage or diffuse the unhelpful ‘should talk’.

Some examples of unhelpful versus helpful ‘should talk’ include:

Unhelpful ‘should talk’ –

  1. The talk leads you to worry about your body, shape, size or weight and pursue changing your body with weight loss dieting.
  2. You may feel like you are judging yourself and losing the sense of self-compassion. Feelings of guilt or shame are classic examples of what ‘should talk’ leaves behind. It frankly leaves you feeling not great or not good about yourself.

Helpful ‘should talk’ –

  1. Folate Supplementation – Thinking you should take folate supplementation if you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant. This ‘should talk’ is helpful as folate is an important nutrient for the prevention of neural tube defects in the developing foetus.
  2. Bowel regulation – Thinking you should increase your vegetable intake can be helpful to prevent constipation and other bowel issues.
  3. Increased satiety – Increasing vegetable intake can leave you feeling fuller for longer.
  4. General well-being – Increasing vegetable intake is known to be positive for overall well-being.

Please be aware that we all experience this ‘should talk’. It is normal to hear this ‘should talk’. It is part of living in our diet culture.

The second part of this question relates to trusting our intuition, rather than worrying about the nutrition guidelines and advice of well-meaning people around nutrition. When an individual truly eats intuitively, they usually find balance within their dietary intake.

So in the first instance, intuitive eating should be prioritised with concern over nutrition being a secondary issue, because, by the stage of worrying about nutrition, the individual is competent in the basics of the ‘how to eat’, which usually leads them to meet their nutritional needs without turning nutrition recommendations into another diet.

Of course, each individual is different and this process may not be relevant or appropriate, especially those with medical conditions. Please seek individualised dietetic advice.

For support around minimising the unhelpful nature of ‘diet talk’ download your FREE copy of ‘How to Stay Focused to Never Diet Again’.


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