Satisfaction Factor

#34 - Breaking Down Our Top 10 Hidden Forms of Dieting

May 18, 2022 Naomi Katz & Sadie Simpson
Satisfaction Factor
#34 - Breaking Down Our Top 10 Hidden Forms of Dieting
Show Notes Transcript

This week, we're breaking down some of the most common forms of hidden dieting behaviors that we see in our work. Because even when we've started to disengage from the concept of dieting for weight loss, some of these behaviors can stick around & have a pretty significant impact on our relationships to both food & our bodies. As always, noticing these things is the first step to making changes, so in this episode we're: identifying 10 common hidden dieting behaviors (plus a bonus behavior that ties them all together!); discussing the origins of these behaviors & how they might be keeping us stuck in diet culture; and offering a framework for how we can recognize sneaky diet behaviors that might not be on this list. 

You can stay up to date on all things Satisfaction Factor by following us on IG @satisfactionfactorpod!

Here's where to find us:
Sadie Simpson: www.sadiesimpson.com or IG @thesadiesimpson
Naomi Katz: www.happyshapes.co or IG @happyshapesnaomi

For this episode's transcript, visit: www.satisfactionfactorpod.com

Naomi Katz:

Welcome to Satisfaction Factor, the podcast where we explore how ditching diet culture makes our whole lives more satisfying. Welcome back to Satisfaction Factor. I'm Naomi Katz, an Intuitive Eating, body image, and self trust coach.

Sadie Simpson:

I'm Sadie Simpson, a group fitness

Naomi Katz:

So this week, we are talking about some sneaky, instructor, personal trainer, and Intuitive Eating counselor. hidden ways that dieting practices and dieting behaviors show up for us, even when we might feel like we've left dieting behind.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, I'm excited about this episode, because this is going to be a first for us because we're going to do a little top 10 list, and share with y'all some of the top 10 ways we feel like dieting is done in kind of this sneaky and hidden way that we might not recognize on the surface.

Naomi Katz:

Before we dive in, just a quick reminder that if you are interested in supporting us, one way you can do that is by leaving us a rating or a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. That helps us to reach more people.

Sadie Simpson:

Living in diet culture- which is something that we are all doing right now, every day, every hour, every second of the day- and sometimes we participate in dieting type behaviors or diet culture driven behaviors without really recognizing it, or even recognizing the harm that it may potentially be causing for us physically and mentally. So even if you're not officially on a diet- so if you're not following a specific plan, like Noom, or keto, or Weight Watchers, or whatever the program or plan is- our minds have this tendency to remain in a dieting mentality, which can sometimes evolve into restrictive eating behaviors. And there's a lot of blurred lines between participating in some of these diet mentality type behaviors, and the pursuit of authentic health, or, quote unquote, living a healthy lifestyle. And it's helpful to recognize where some of these behaviors show up and maybe understanding some patterns that we might experience.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that's definitely true. And there are some really obvious ways that this stuff can show up that I think most of us are a little bit more tuned into these days. So things like the, quote unquote, wellness diet, as Christy Harrison calls it, where we're doing a lot of clean eating, and detoxing, and cutting out specific food groups in the name of wellness, or health, or whatever. But there's also a lot of less recognizable and more ambiguous or more nebulous types of dieting behaviors and concepts that show up that I think might be a little harder to recognize without some intention. So things like moderation, which I feel like a lot of people consider to be very clearly not a diet. Maintenance- so like weight maintenance, as opposed to weight loss. And then even just sort of looser concepts, like being careful, and eating mindfully, or being good, or like portion control- things that are very, very normalized, and especially normalized in a way where, you know, I think mainstream people consider a lot of these things to be not diets, or like the alternative to dieting even. But that's kind of all based in this very common misconception that if you're not actively trying to lose weight, or if you're not actively counting calories, or macros, or points, or whatever, then you're not dieting.

Sadie Simpson:

So before getting into our top 10 hidden forms of dieting list, it's really important to recognize that, as we go through this list, this isn't meant to be a way for us to judge ourselves if we still do these things, or if we've done these things in the past, where we can recognize where there might be some opportunities to create shifts, or to notice patterns, or just to build a little bit of awareness around some of this stuff.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, it's like we always say, like you- building awareness has to be the first step, because you can't even make a decision about whether to shift something until you know it's happening, or until you know it exists.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And so, just call- you know, just starting to to notice, like, are these things that I do? Am I happy with them? How do they impact my life? Like, are these things I want to shift moving forward?

Sadie Simpson:

So let's get into it. These are our top 10 list of hidden forms of dieting. And that's not to say that this is ranked in any particular order, or this is an all encompassing list. These are just 10 hidden forms of dieting that we have seen a lot with the folks we work with, that we've experienced ourselves, that just tend to show up a lot in our world. So hopefully, this is something that the folks who are listening can recognize and relate to this too.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, let's do it.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Hidden rules of dieting number one. So the first one is, I try not to eat blank. So you can fill in the blank with whatever food it is that you might restrict. So maybe it's carbs, or sugar, or fat, maybe it's artificial sweeteners, processed foods- whatever it is, fill in the blank for whatever food that you tend to restrict on purpose.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that's a really good one. And I think it really falls into kind of all of those different little like types of sneaky hidden dieting things that we talked about before. But especially that wellness diet one.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Where we're just like- not because of an allergy, not because of a sensitivity, not because of any health reason, like not any like actual health reason, at least- we're just lifting out an entire category of foods from our- from our diets.

Sadie Simpson:

And this rule, specifically, is definitely founded in following restrictive programs- maybe like keto, where you completely eliminate all bread, pasta, and whatever else, like rules you have to follow in that plan. And it's really hard sometimes for folks to break out of that mentality when it's been drilled in their brains for so long that we have to avoid X food because it creates X problem, and the problem tends to be weight gain.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, that's definitely true. And I like that you pointed out that a lot of times this is like a carryover from a- like a very specific restrictive diet. Because I think that's very true. Like, okay, maybe we've done keto, or paleo, or whatever in the past, and now we're not doing that anymore, but we still try and avoid the certain foods that might have been demonized within those, like, more structured diet plans. And like, sometimes we don't even really 100% realize that we're doing it, but we are. We're still trying to make sure we only have one carb at each meal, or, you know, we're trying to make sure that if we're buying processed foods they're the organic clean versions, or all kinds of things like that. And so it's really interesting how that stuff can just linger afterwards. And it's not even really intentional. Sometimes it becomes almost like autopilot to limit these foods.

Sadie Simpson:

Up until even maybe five, six years ago, even after I was kind of disengaging from participating in diets, I would still eat cheeseburgers without the bun. And I don't have a gluten intolerance. And then one day it clicked, I was like, hmm, why am I not eating a bun on a burger. And that- like that was a big one for me to kind of really recognize and get over. And now I love a burger with a bun, and couldn't imagine it any other way. Yeah.

Naomi Katz:

Okay, so, hidden form of dieting number two- I I think I told the story on the pod like a few weeks back or something about buying vanilla yogurt instead of just plain yogurt. And like that I didn't even really realize- usually describe a day of eating or a meal as either good or bad. again, like years into this practice for me, I was- all of a sudden in the grocery store, I was like, why the hell am I not buying vanilla yogurt? Like it was a holdover from my dieting days. And so yeah, you know, just starting to notice these behaviors. Again, it's not a judgment. It's not like, oh, I failed at not dieting, or something like that. It's just like, oh, here's a thing to unpack why I'm doing it. And does it still serve me?

Sadie Simpson:

That's a big one. And I tend to hear folks say this a lot in the world- like if I'm out at a restaurant with somebody, or just in any kind of group setting where folks are talking about food, especially around the holidays, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, and things like that. But it's such a common thing to just assume that if it's not a salad, or if it's not fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, then it's automatically labeled as, quote unquote, bad. And this, again, is another thing that stems from that wellness diet, or from this black and white mentality that foods are either good or bad, there's no neutral ground in between. And then we get into this whole thing where, when we eat what we consider to be, quote unquote, bad, that makes us bad people. And it just snowballs into this whole moralization of food.

Naomi Katz:

And I think this one exists, even if we've- okay, we've done the work to be like, it's okay that I'm eating bad food- but we're still calling it bad food, and so we clearly still have some beliefs around it. And this is where we get into that biological restriction versus mental restriction that we've talked about before, where like, you know, you're eating the thing, but you still on some level think it's bad, which means you might be feeling guilt or shame about it afterwards, you might be overcompensating in some way or another, or you might be like portion controlling in ways that you don't realize you're doing it, just because you still have this lingering, you know, morality, judgment about it. And as always, it's very important to look at things from a higher level, like structural issue too. And, you know, taking a look at which foods we say are good, and which foods we say are bad, and how those different foods are incorporated in different cultures, and stuff like that. You really get a sense that what's good and what's bad is a very white version of what's good and what's bad, as well. And, you know, that also says things societally, like that teaches us things about how we're moralizing identities as well. And so it's just- it's always a good idea to like broaden the lens and see what else is going on when we talk about this too.

Sadie Simpson:

Hidden form of dieting number three- if I eat dessert- or if you're not a dessert person, you could fill in the blank again with whatever else, bread, or pasta, or sugar, whatever- I make a point to exercise more.

Naomi Katz:

That's a big one. I think- yeah, and I think very often can be like a subconscious reaction to the fact that we consider whatever one of those things is to be a, quote unquote, bad food. But it's interesting because that one in particular has an impact both on our relationship to the food itself, and on our relationship to exercise and movement.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, well, and working in an exercise setting, I still, to this day, hear a lot of this, especially after weekends or, again, after holidays, or something like that. People will still make just kind of flippant comments of, oh, I, you know, had my kid's birthday party this weekend, and we had cake and cookies and ice cream, so I've got to take two fitness classes today. It really does skew our relationship to both eating and exercising, and it keeps us in this place of using movement or exercise solely as a tool to burn calories or to earn calories. And it doesn't help that a lot of fitness programs, a lot of gyms, a lot of marketing of fitness programs and gyms, use this exact verbiage- like burn it to earn it. This is something that's definitely reinforced by fitness culture and gym culture. So it's a hard one to kind of break free from because it's accepted as the norm that exercise and movement is a tool to punish ourselves for eating an extra piece of cake. Mm-hmm. Yup.

Naomi Katz:

Definitely. And, you know, it's interesting. I think You know, and so, it's interesting to notice how sometimes gyms and movement facilities do this almost even in a more subtle way, where like, even if they're not flat out saying burn and earn, they promote classes the day after Thanksgiving, or like around the holiday, or like right after New Year's, and stuff like that, that are- even if they're not saying burn off that turkey, they're still like, we know you want to burn off that turkey. that stuff comes up even in more subtle ways. So hidden form of dieting number four- if I perceive I ate too much at a particular meal, I'll automatically eat less at the next meal, regardless of my hunger or fullness level.

Sadie Simpson:

Mmm, this is a complex one. Well, even kind of like the last one, the burning and earning with exercise, we are so conditioned that we have to pay penance for food. If we maybe ate past the point of comfortable fullness at a previous meal, we feel like we have to punish ourselves for eating that, even if a couple hours later we're legitimately physically hungry again. And that is a really, really, really challenging thing for folks to get over. Because even if we are physically hungry, we get in this mentality of like, well, I ate such and such for lunch, maybe I shouldn't eat this other thing for supper, and just wait until breakfast the next day, and start back over again tomorrow, or something like that.

Naomi Katz:

First of all, it boils our whole relationship with food down to this very like transactional thing. Food is much more relational than transactional. Diet culture makes it this very calories in calories out, it's the math of food, and all of that. But the reality is that our relationship to food is driven by so much more than just math, and transactions, and stuff like that. And so part of the problem with this is definitely the way it strips our relationship to food. But also, here's sort of another kind of interesting, very specific way that this one shows up. Sometimes we skip breakfast, or we skip a meal, or we under eat at a certain meal- just because what's available, we- like we're just doing what we can to get by, we didn't plan, like for whatever reason. So what happens then is that later, when we do eat, we usually are very hungry, and we might eat a significant amount because we're sort of catching up a little bit. Very, very often what happens then is that- like, especially if we still have some of these lingering dieting thoughts- later in the day, when we're hungry again, we think, oh my God, but I had a huge lunch or whatever, so I'll just eat a light dinner. So what happens then, when we under eat like the next meal, is that we start to create this like snowball of hunger effect. You know, I think we've talked before that, like, you know, when we're talking about food needs, some people might prefer to eat less food in one sitting for comfort reasons, or for whatever. But that like the most important thing about that is it means they have to eat more often, because you still need to get a certain amount of food. Let's say you skip breakfast, or you under eat breakfast, and then you eat more at lunch- you're just making up for breakfast, you're not overeating lunch. But if you see it as overeating lunch, then come dinner, you're going to undereat at dinner, and then you're going to end the day short on your energy needs. Because technically, you underate two meals and only ate one meal. So all this to say, it has some very real repercussions for how we relate to both hunger and fullness, and how we are able to meet our energy needs from day to day.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. That's a really good segue into the next hidden form of dieting, number five- if I'm planning to go out to dinner, or a party, or something like that, I'll cut back on how much I eat during the day to, quote unquote, save up for the big meal. And this tends to happen a lot when you're following a certain diet plan. Weight Watchers, in my mind, just really screams this hidden form of dieting. So I feel like, for a lot of folks who may have followed WW at some point in their life, have probably experienced this, because the whole premise of the program is to eat your allotted point value throughout the day, which often leads to folks saving up their calories, or saving up their points, for the party or for the big meal. And even if we're not following the plan anymore, again, this is one of those things that tends to stick with people for a really long time, because it's such an ingrained behavior, that if we're going to a party, or we're going to a big dinner, or going to an event, we have to bank up our calories, or bank up our carbs, or whatever it is that we mentally feel like we have to save up in order to splurge on the big meal.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I feel like if we've had any experience with any form of like counting based dieting, this is one that can linger afterwards, where, even if we're not still counting, we still just kind of know, like, oh, I'm going to eat whatever for dinner, so I'll just have this little salad for lunch. And like even, again, even if we're not consciously aware of it, even if we're not actually counting and saving up and planning, we're still, in a behavioral way, doing the same thing, just because it's so ingrained. And yeah, it's that whole- it's that same thing of like, compensation and transaction- and like that transactional relationship, and all of that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. And I mean, obviously- well even thinking about this from a parenting perspective, I'm not going to feed my kid like a big snack an hour before we go out to eat a big meal, because he's not going to eat the big meal that we've spent a lot of money on or whatever. So I think there's that aspect to this. But what I feel like we're talking about here is actively- or actually, maybe even subconsciously- counting, restricting, maybe skipping a meal in order to save up. And often, a lot of times what happens in that situation, too, is it- it kind of could snowball into some binge eating like behaviors. And we'll talk about this in a few minutes when we talk about cheat meals- spoiler alert- but if we restrict for so long, we physically get hungry, and then when we have food in front of us, we may eat to the point of physical discomfort.

Naomi Katz:

I always think of the episode of Friends, where they're all supposed to be going out to dinner for Phoebe's birthday. And like everybody's late, but Joey is like, I haven't eaten all day because I knew we were coming here, or whatever. And then he ends up eating all six of their meals, plus dessert, because everybody leaves. And I'm like, that seems about right.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, it does. Like that's a very good depiction of what this actually is.

Naomi Katz:

I also think that there's kind of a flip side to this, that- also relating to like, special occasion- like you know a special occasion that's coming up- which is the diet advice of always eating something before you go, so that you eat something- like oh, you eat veggies, or protein, or like you eat something, quote unquote, healthy before you go, because then you won't be tempted to splurge, quote unquote, when you're at whatever the event is. And I feel like these are just- they're flip sides of the same coin. But I felt like it was worth mentioning that side of this too.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

Hidden form of dieting number six- I allow myself cheat days or cheat meals where I'll eat whatever I want, regardless of hunger or fullness, or even if it's something I like. So, like you said, that's very much related to what we were just talking about, and the restriction leading up to a binge.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, and cheat days, cheat meals, that is another commonly accepted thing in our society. It's just- it feels like it's a normal thing that people are talking about. They're like, oh, it's Friday, it's my cheat day, or oh, it's Sunday lunch is my cheat meal, or whatever. And we've talked about this before on the podcast, whenever we associate cheating with food, it's another thing that really just skews our relationship with food and with eating because this also moralizes and demoralizes food, just like being good or being bad does, because if we're cheating, that automatically associates the action with being a bad thing.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, definitely, that language is real heavy on the morality. I feel like there's no context in which the word cheat is something that is good. We know that that's a bad behavior. And, you know, something that I feel like I've noticed with folks, as they start to disconnect from dieting, is that even if they don't necessarily think of it as a diet versus a cheat meal, or something like that, that they still sometimes hold on to these patterns, where they eat really, again, quote unquote, healthy or, quote unquote, clean, or whatever their definition of that is, during the day, or during the week, or whatever, and that they tend to eat differently on the weekends, or on vacations, or, you know, something like that. And so I think that sometimes that eating pattern can linger also, again, even if we're not doing it intentionally. But noticing that pattern gives us, you know, a little insight into like, oh, I might still have some thoughts about what foods are okay for everyday versus special occasions.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, for sure. Hidden rule of dieting number seven- once I eat a forbidden food and think that I blew it, I'll eat whatever I want in larger quantities, regardless of hunger or fullness. I think there's a lot to unpack with this one.

Naomi Katz:

There's so much. There's like layers. I feel like there's layers to all of these, but this one especially is- like there's- there's a lot.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, well I think first and foremost- I feel like I'm going back to my English teacher days breaking down this phrase a couple of words at a time- because first and foremost, what stands out to me in this one is the idea of a forbidden food. And we've talked about this a lot like already throughout this episode, with bad foods, and good foods, and cheat meals, and cheat days, and that sort of stuff. This is another thing that is kind of in alignment with with all of those other things. Because unless we have an ethical reason, or an allergic reason, or something like that, there's not really any reason to forbid any specific foods from what we eat.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my god, that's so important to talk about, because like, okay, why are foods good or bad? Why are our foods forbidden? Why are foods cheat foods or any of that stuff? It's always- again, in the absence of food sensitivities, and allergies, and things like that- but in the absence of that stuff, it is always because we think they're going to make us fat. It is always a fear of fat, not an actual issue with the food itself.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

And so, just to be really, really clear, that- that's totally what we're talking about here. Once I eat a food that I think is going to make me fat, I think I blew it.

Sadie Simpson:

Right. And that's another thing. Another thing we need to break down here is the whole concept of, I blew it. Because I've heard this many, many times, from folks I've worked with, from myself in the past, from just people I am around in life. And just this whole concept of, quote unquote, blowing it on food is yet another thing- I feel like I'm gonna be super repetitive in this episode- but it's just another thing that keeps us in this cycle of having a very negative relationship with food, and negative relationship with our bodies, and just associating negative actions, negative feelings, even negative emotions, attached to specific foods- specifically, foods that we associate with making us fat. Yeah, yeah.

Naomi Katz:

And that adds up too. So again, if we can sort of Sometimes what can be really helpful is to like fill in words, like to see what we're really talking about. So rephrase this whole thing, once I eat a food that I'm afraid is okay, I blew it. Well, you blew what? I feel like the only gonna make me fat, I think I blew my diet. answer to that is my diet. And if that's the case, then like, clearly this is a dieting behavior.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, I think that's such a good point. And even, kind of finishing up the rest of this hidden form of dieting, once we, quote unquote, blow it, we'll eat whatever we want in larger quantities, regardless of hunger or fullness. And this hidden form of dieting stems from a lot of different things. Again, there's a lot of layers here. But one thing that I think is important to mention is this whole idea of the binge restrict cycle. We put food in these specific categories, and we only maybe allow ourselves certain foods for cheat meals, or cheat days, or when we're being bad, or on Saturdays, or on vacation, or whatever. And then when we are exposed to some of these foods that are forbidden, or are, quote unquote, bad, we don't have any restraint around them. And I'm not saying we should have restraint around foods. I feel like we should eat what we want when we want it. And there's this whole mental aspect of, well, I can only have this food on this certain day, so I'm going to eat all of it at one time to the point of where it makes me physically ill, I don't feel good after I eat it, so maybe I won't want to eat it again. And so it kind of plays this mind game with us, that if we fill up on it, that we're going to be so sick of it that we will refuse it the next time. And it's another hidden form of dieting within its own hidden form of dieting almost.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, absolutely. It's the- this is the inception hidden form of dieting.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes.

Naomi Katz:

But yeah, that's totally true. And it's all rooted in that mental rebellion, where we're not even making choices anymore, we're just in pure rebellion mode. And just, yeah, like, I'll show you, kind of a- kind of thinking.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, and this also feeds into that, I'll get back on track tomorrow morning, hidden form of dieting as well.

Naomi Katz:

Definitely. 100%. So hidden form of dieting number eight- I participate in work, or friend group, or social media, weight loss competitions or challenges. So things like 30 days of no wheat, or a 30 day sugar free challenge, or things like that.

Sadie Simpson:

I think this one's really interesting because a lot of folks would not look at this as a diet, but instead a challenge, or a way to kickstart a healthy habit, or something like that. But it's definitely a form of dieting.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, I have heard so many people talk about joining one of these things, and saying right off the bat, I mean, I'm never going to do this forever, but I feel like it'll kickstart me into doing something more sustainable at the end of it. And like, that's just not how this works. We're much more likely to end up at the end of that 30 days in like full blown rebellion, binge mode, like at the end of that restrict cycle and heavily into that binge cycle. Like, it's so much more likely to go that way than to be like, well, now I can transition into something sustainable. Like, that's just not how our bodies work, or our brains for that matter.

Sadie Simpson:

And people really want that to be true. And it's just not true. When you look at this historically, if you've ever done anything like this, or maybe you've you've known someone who has done this, it's the same story, different title, just like starting and stopping different diet plan after diet plan, this whole idea of I'm going to do this thing to kickstart my new healthy habit, it doesn't work out, it never works out the way we think it will at the beginning,

Naomi Katz:

there's like two other layers to this that are worth talking about. One of them is the fact that this is very much the kind of thing where we see people like well, but it's community or, you know, something like that. And like really recognizing that this is not bonding, or community, it's a competition, it's a challenge. And so recognizing that this is a really good example of the ways that diet culture pretends to be community and supportive and all of that, but like accountability is not community. Competition is not community, it's more destructive than that. And that kind of leads into the other layer of how this is destructive, which is that it's it puts a really heavy dose of stigma, like weight stigma and diet culture into communal settings, like work or a friend group or things like that. Anytime something like this comes up in a place like that what we're really doing is just stigmatizing and causing a hostile environment for anybody who's in a larger body in those places, or struggling with an eating disorder or any of those things.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad you said that. Because those are two things that we just tend to forget about whenever we are stuck in that dieting mentality. Because whenever especially if it's a workplace, and they are sponsoring or promoting this whole wellness thing that is a 30 day weight loss challenge, or whatever it is, the conversation that is never had is how does this affect fat folks? How does it affect people who have had an eating disorder or currently have an eating disorder? Those two specific things are just completely left out the conversation?

Naomi Katz:

Yep, absolutely. And it can be really, really harmful and destructive to people in those situations. I mean, again, I don't know how we can claim anything as community when it's necessarily stigmatizing and exclusive.

Sadie Simpson:

Yep, hidden a form of dieting. Number nine, if I'm eating with others, I'll compare what I'm eating to what others are eating,

Naomi Katz:

there's like a couple of ways this can play out, probably the most common one is, and I eat less. Like I intentionally eat less than I would otherwise, or I order maybe something that, you know, isn't as satisfying as what I want to order because it looks healthier or whatever. So like, that's the big one. And I think the most common way that this plays out, but I think there's actually another way that this plays out too, which is I compare and my meal has to be healthier or cleaner or you know, something like that. And it's more of like a moral comparison as opposed to a like quantity comparison. Does that make sense?

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah, well, and speaking of quantity comparison, this is something that I've recently read Ignaz that sometimes still shows up for me subconsciously, if I am cooking a meal for my family, and say it's like a piece of chicken or a piece of fish or beef or whatever, like, say we have two pieces of something, and I'm putting it on a plate, I will automatically subconsciously put the larger piece on my husband's plate. And I've caught myself doing that a lot. You know, over the years, I'm like, huh, but the interesting thing is that between the two of us, my appetite is generally bigger than his when we sit down and eat a meal. So that just doesn't make sense, other than I have subconsciously tried to control the portion

Naomi Katz:

that is so interesting, and also really speaks to the way this can be a very gendered behavior. It is not necessarily I definitely know people raised and conditioned male, who also do this. So like, it's definitely not like 100% gendered. But it is, I think, in women and femmes a behavior that is learned over the years to have never wanting to be the one who's eating the most. And like this idea that you should always eat less than your partner. This is also one where I think it's really important to talk about weight stigma, because it's a fear that I think shows up especially for folks in larger bodies, and is like kind of grounded in reality for folks in larger bodies to because especially when you're in a larger body, like people do make judgments about how much you're eating, they make the cause and effect assessment that's really, really problematic. And so when we, even when we're not in larger bodies are in that position, and we have that fear or that concern and let and allow it to impact our eating, what we're really doing is recognizing, we don't want people to stigmatize us the same way they stigmatize folks in larger bodies in real life. Okay, which brings us to a hidden form of dieting number 10. I watched TV shows like The Biggest Loser in order to inspire myself to lose weight. And I would add to this things like my 600 pound life, and I feel like there's some dating show that has this angle to it also. But I would also add to this, the like kind of the flip side of collecting things, inspiration, photos of like people in your ideal body to like, counter that.

Sadie Simpson:

Yes, yes. Well, just to self disclose, you know, I love me some reality TV. And back in the day, The Biggest Loser was one of my shows. And even looking back on that, and thinking back on how messed up that was even like, I watched that as a teenager, and how that really just distorted my perception of exercise and a food as a 14 1516 year old. That's one side of it. And then there's the whole other side of it, of just how we treat people, how we treat people in fat bodies, how we assume people in fat bodies should be acting and should be eating. It's just, it's a whole hot mess, The Biggest Loser and anything adjacent to the Biggest Loser.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, absolutely. I, you know, I am not a reality TV person. So I actually have never watched like any of these shows, oh, but I have always been, like painfully aware of them. Because they just, they just, you know, live in the public consciousness, you know, so I'm certainly aware of them. But you know, there are plenty of folks in fat bodies out there who have talked about their experience of knowing the show existed, or even watching the show, or even seeing the show is aspirational, or something and how incredibly harmful and damaging it was to them. And so it's so bad. It's just bad. It's so bad. You know, and this is one of those things. Again, it's not judgment. I mean, it's sad. It's like you said, you, you certainly watched this when you were younger. And so we're not it's not a judgment of like not knowing that this was stigmatizing at the time. But now we have the knowledge and the access to the knowledge and the culture has moved in such a way that like, we're eight we should be able to step back and be like, what is it about this show? Why am I watching this? Yeah. And unfortunately, I think a lot of the time the answer is because one we want to there's like a comparison there of like, oh, at least I'm not that Fat two, there's this like catharsis in stigmatizing bodies that are fatter than ours that make us feel like, again, at least I'm not that like, at least I'm doing better. I honestly don't even know that it's actually inspiration to lose weight. I would question whether that's actually the reasoning behind it.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, man going deep here. But yes, I feel like that is a really important question, honestly, that we all should be asking ourselves, whenever we consume media in general, whether it's a TV show, we're social media, or magazine, newspaper, article, whatever, when we consume any kind of media that is related to body size change, and becoming a little bit more critical of the underlying reasonings. One behind why we are either entertained or interested in reading and viewing and consuming this in the first place, and to why it's being produced in the first place.

Naomi Katz:

And then the flip side of that being the like collecting things, inspiration, SPIRATION posts and stuff like that, like it's Bo or whatever, to try and inspire us. You know, I've known people who have done that. And personally, it's not something that I've ever really understood. And I think I was just very tuned into, that actually just makes me feel like ashamed and guilty and miserable. Like, I think the people who do this are feeling those same feelings, but they think it's going to motivate them. And the reason I think these two are connected is because the idea of the Biggest Loser, being inspiration to lose weight is also very much rooted in this idea that we can shame people into changing their bodies,

Sadie Simpson:

hit the nail on the head right there, because that's exactly it. Like all of this is rooted in shame and guilt and bullying yourself, or having someone like Jillian Michaels bully you into losing a bunch of weight. And then it just becomes not only just this social problem on a large scale, but it creates a lot of internal mental and emotional problems as well. So none of this is good for anyone. Yeah,

Naomi Katz:

totally. I know that we said this was the top 10. But we actually have a bonus 11th item here that kind of ties all of these behaviors together. And that is, I believe that I have to lose weight in order to be healthy.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, that's a really deep one to save until the end, and one that is really, really intertwined into all of these hidden forms of dieting that we have talked about, up until this point, I think

Naomi Katz:

these days, there's a very strong push to getting away from the concept of dieting for aesthetic reasons of like, Oh, I just, you know, I want to lose weight, so I can look good. Even dieting companies aren't saying that anymore. One of the reasons why we tend to let go of formal dieting plans, like NuMe, and stuff like that, are because we get to this point where we're like, Okay, I'm not in it to lose weight, I just want to be healthy. But then all of these other behaviors linger, because we feel like if we gain weight, we won't be healthy. And so we treat these like their health behaviors, instead of weight maintenance behaviors.

Sadie Simpson:

And something that we have to recognize, again, that ties into all of these hidden forms of dieting, but especially this one is that, for one thing, weight isn't a behavior. And often, whenever we're talking about becoming more healthy, or improving our health or adopting healthier habits, then the idea of weight loss or weight maintenance is just automatically tied into those things. And that's just not true. And without getting into a lot of the research and weigh down deep into the weeds. There's so much information out there now that we have to prove that health is not specifically tied into body size, body shape, that sort of thing. And that's just one layer of this again, this is something that's very, very, very complex.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, definitely. So when I work with folks on this stuff, I think a lot of times the question to ask is If you were doing this health behavior, and you felt really good, and like your labs were good, and you, whatever, you had all these other objective markers of health, but your weight didn't change or your weight went up? How would you feel about those behaviors? Would you feel like they were working? Or would you feel like they weren't? And like, I feel like that's the question to really get at like, are you pursuing health? Or are you pursuing weight loss? Yep. You know, we love a good framework here.

Sadie Simpson:

Love a framework.

Naomi Katz:

So we wanted to offer just like a little bit of a framework for how can I tell if something is a hidden dieting behavior, if I have the behavior that I do, or a habit that I have, or something like that? And I'm just not quite sure, like, is this a healthy thing? Is this a diet like, what I'm what's happening here? Let me just say off the bat, if you're asking yourself that question, there's a reasonably good chance that the behavior you're talking about is probably a dieting behavior. Because we know, we know, we're smart people, we've read things we know. And so trust yourself, for one thing. But beyond that, there's sort of three things that we can look at. The first is, is there a goal based on the manipulation or control of our body size, so is like the success or failure of this behavior are going to be determined by whether our body size changes. And that goes for both losing weight. And for maintaining our weight as a goal, both of those things are talking about manipulation or control of body size. The second thing is, are we prioritizing an external factor or a rule over our internal cues, you know, that goes along a lot with the like saving up to eat later, like, are we ignoring our hunger cues all day, in order to eat later and like manage our points are our calories or things like that. So that's a big one. And then the last one, which I mean, we talked about through literally every one of those behaviors is the moralizing of food choices, good food versus bad food, and things like that. And just like we talked about earlier, really recognizing that good versus bad, very much comes down to, I think it's going to cause me to gain weight, or I think it's not going to cause me to gain weight. And recognizing that that's a lot of where that morality comes from, in our food choices.

Sadie Simpson:

Those are three really great red flags to be on the lookout for and to recognize when we're listening to this episode, or maybe even after you're listening to this episode. And you're going about your day. And you're kind of remembering some of these hidden forms of dieting that we talked about. Maybe recognizing where some of those have shown up. And this is something Naomi and I both do with our intuitive eating coaching programs, is work with folks and just kind of talk about how some of these behaviors show up without judgment, but instead with a little bit of curiosity, and just to assess and recognize the patterns that might still exist.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, it's like you said, the goal here, not judgment, it's not to like, you know, beat ourselves up for doing these things. The goal is to try and assess is this a behavior that I can and want to shift? If we go through this assessment, and we determine, oh, this is the dieting behavior, that next step can be does this behavior serve me? What systems is this behavior upholding? Does this behavior align with my values? And then we can sort of make a determination of whether it's something we want to keep doing? Or whether it's something we can like that. And again, yeah, that's totally a process that both of us work through with our clients within coaching.

Sadie Simpson:

You're listening to this episode, and you have had any kind of lightbulb moments or oh shit moments or anything in between, and you want to talk to somebody about it, feel free to come on over to our Instagram page, we are at satisfaction factor pod. We love hearing from folks just their thoughts, their insights, and all of that good stuff. Send us a message and be sure to share about this episode in your stories on Instagram.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah, we love seeing your shares. That's that's always fun. So sad. What's satisfying for you right now,

Sadie Simpson:

this is pretty relevant to this episode, actually. So for years, as I was disengaging from diet culture and working on rejecting the diet mentality, I went through some various phases of where I had to reestablish a new relationship with certain foods, specifically foods that or perceived to be healthy. So salads are a specific thing that I'm talking about. I've always associated salads with being a diet food like a nasty bland Jura salad without toppings like that just has always been associated with dieting to me. And over the years I've kind of a re established a loving relationship with Sal as especially this time of year. When it gets to be hot outside, I want something cold to eat. And recently, I have started making the salad at home, which is a big deal because usually, home salads don't do it for me restaurant salads are a different thing but salad you make at home, still kind of blah. But I found this dressing and Aldi Of course. And it is a ginger vinegar it and I've been making the salad with some spinach and just some other greens, whatever we have. And so it's got spinach. It's got a piece of salmon on it goat cheese, pecans. And this ginger vinegar it what's in it has been my life. Like I will sit and eat the salad. And it's one of those things after every bite. I'm just like, oh, this is so good. And this like dressing with like just the goat cheese and the nuts and the fish like it is just the greatest thing ever. So that has been very satisfying for me lately to eat an ice cold, tasty salad on a hot spring day.

Naomi Katz:

Oh my God, that sounds so good. And also makes me very much want to just get off this podcast recording and go eat a salad. Which I have nothing in the house for right now. But I might need to go and make it happen because I also really really love salads this time. Yeah, I mean through like all the warm months selling favorite things. So yeah, my God, that sounds so good.

Sadie Simpson:

I felt really great about myself for being able to make a tasty salad at home too. That didn't come from a restaurant. So

Naomi Katz:

yeah, I definitely I remember when I first started doing that, and it being like a huge moment, because I also was always like no only restaurant salads or salad bar salads like oh, yeah, although I'm not sure I could ever go back to a salad bar at this point. But But yeah, interesting.

Sadie Simpson:

Naomi, what's satisfying for you right now.

Naomi Katz:

I have been over the past few weeks, like revisiting a lot of the music that I listened to as like in my like late teens and early 20s Which

Sadie Simpson:

sounds fun. Yeah, it's it's been

Naomi Katz:

really fun. It's been so like the a lot of that music for me was very much like, you know, women vocalists on guitars and stuff like that. And so I've been like really leaning into that the past couple of weeks and I think it was even further inspired by the fact that like one of my absolute like favorite albums that was like, truly formative for me during those years just got rereleased for it's like 25th anniversary, and I purchased that I'm not going to get it I like pre ordered it. I'm not gonna get it till later this summer. I think I've just been so excited about it that I've been like going back and listening to all the music from that time. And it's so interesting one, I still love the music so so much. And too. It's been interesting to think about the memories that it conjures and sort of seeing just how different my life is from then in ways that I could not have even conceived at the time. Been a really interesting reflection,

Sadie Simpson:

so I'm dying to know what is the album that you have purchased?

Naomi Katz:

Oh, it's a it's ani DeFranco living in clip.

Sadie Simpson:

Oh, that is super late. 90s Yeah, that's gonna be awesome.

Naomi Katz:

Yeah. Yeah, I this is what I'm, this is what I'm saying. Like, like, 90 is I hate calling it I feel like people refer to it as like chick rock or like, whatever. And I hate that. That's like the worst phrase for it. But it is, you know, 90s women and guitars for sure.

Sadie Simpson:

Yeah. Angry feminist music from the late 90s Yeah, that's the best. Really is.

Naomi Katz:

Exactly. So yeah, I've been and what's been really cool is how much Ben has actually been enjoying it with me too, which is kind of cool.

Sadie Simpson:

Now you make me want to go back and day out mo Hanson albums for middle school. Got rid of Oh, have listened to but from time to time

Naomi Katz:

definitely 100% the same thing.

Sadie Simpson:

So that wraps up our episode this week on the hidden forms of dieting again, feel free to leave us any feedback. Share your comments over on our Instagram page at satisfaction factor pod or an apple podcast or Spotify where you can leave us a rating and review.

Naomi Katz:

Thanks, everyone. We'll catch you next week.