How your mindset could be affecting your DAY-TO-DAY nutrition


Psychology is the real driving force behind our food-related decisions.  How we think determines how we feel, which translates to how we act in terms of food and eating choices.

Have you ever wondered why so many people aren’t succeeding despite “knowing” what to eat, despite having a meal plan, despite reading every nutrition textbook on the library, despite spending thousands of dollars on nutritionist, on diets, on supplements, etc?

The problem is not about how much you know, but about the things you don’t know you know.

But first…

Why is nutrition so important?

Eating properly is an ART and is vital for our good health and wellbeing. Food provides our bodies with the energy and essential nutrients to live, grow and function properly. We need a wide variety of different foods to provide our body with the right amounts of energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals for good health.

Poor nutrition can contribute to stress, tiredness, and our capacity to work, and over time, it can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems.

Each time we eat there is an opportunity to contribute to our health and work towards our goals. So each time we eat we’re making a choice about what we are going to put into our body.

Our body is our home and what we put in reflects what we give out.

Psychology is the real driving force behind our food-related decisions.  How we think determines how we feel, which translates to how we act in terms of food and eating choices. So this is why our mindset affects our day-to-day nutrition.

It’s not enough following a new meal plan and knowing what to eat. Before getting into the weeds regarding nutrition, we’ve got to understand the big picture, we have to understand all those believes, ideas and thoughts (unconscious and subconscious). We have to be aware of our mindset.

Mindsets, originally referred to as implicit theories, are lay beliefs regarding the stability or malleability of a trait or attribute (Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Molden & Dweck, 2006).

The view we adopt for ourself profoundly affects the way we lead our life. Our mindset determines the person we want to be and whether we accomplish the things we value.

Broadly, individuals’ mindsets fall into one of two categories, the “fixed” mindset and the “growth” mindset. It’s a bit like “nature vs nurture”:

Fixed mindset:

Individuals who believe that attributes are unchangeable. They think that qualities like intelligence, character, and personality are fixed, because that’s how you were born.

Fixed mindset is adopted in part thought our education system where success was conditioned by praise. From a very young age, we are taught to believe that we have a certain level of ability in doing things (“you are smart, you are dumb, you are average.”)

Learning and improvement is very static, kids become very brittle, and they grow up with this sort of understanding of their abilities.

When it comes to nutrition, a fixed mindset can be harmful.

People with fixed mindset think that they don’t need to apply effort, effort is for those who can’t make it on talent. They live behind excuses and any kind of adversity or failure is devastating.

They attempt restrictive and unrealistic ‘diet’ because they only care about the outcome. Everything has to be perfect and they fix their identity to the false idol of perfection.

They consider theirselves as a finished product not a work in progress.

Growth mindset:

Those with a growth mindset believe that attributes are changeable. They believe that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through application and experience. Everyone can grow and change making an effort and that’s the key of success.

They follow a proactive way of life in which they’re fundamentally moved from the inside out, constantly striving to make choices that follow through with their intentions.

When it comes to nutrition, people with growth mindset want to change their life, they want to master their diet and improve their lifestyle fro a long term success. They want to become more than what and who they are now because they know they can.

It’s all about the process, about the choices they make every day, the progress they’re making, and how fully they’re investing in becoming a better version of theirselves.

The growth mindset believes adversity and failure are worth investing in, because that’s how you’ll learn and improve for a similar situation. They are curious about their mistakes because is an opportunity to unpack what went wrong, learn from it and be ready for the next time:

Let’s have a look some examples:

Examples Fixed Mindset:

I didn’t pack my food today my diet plan is ruined.

“I was overwhelmed at my friend’s party and gave in to the pizza and beer and sweets. I’m such a mess. I can’t do this. I have to be 100% perfect on this diet.”

“I was overwhelmed at my friend’s party and gave in to the pizza and beer and sweets. I’m such a mess. I can’t do this. I have to be 100% perfect on this diet.”

“Of course she is fit and trim, she doesn’t have to work! I could be fit if I had more time.”

I still haven’t lost weight, I’ll never be able to lose weight so what the point?

There is birthday cake in the office today so I ate that for morning tea because that’s what we always do.

I didn’t have a healthy lunch so why have a healthy dinner.

I can’t eat first thing in the morning before training it makes me feel sick.

“This food is “bad for me. this food is good for me”Comparing what you’re eating to others as a benchmark for whether your diet is on track.

Your main priority is reaching a number on the scales or certain body fat percentage, rather than health or well-being.

Thinking you’re not worthy of self-care or you don’t deserve to look good.

Thinking Eating bad food makes you feel good.

Banning foods or whole food groups

Held back with excuses and reasons why you can’t eat healthy or why you can’t make changes or do better to reach your goals.

Examples Growth Mindset

It’s a little extra effort but I will get myself to that sandwich shop so I can still have a balanced choice, it’s just different to what I had planned.

“Last night I had some pizza and beer, but this week I have been so good with my diet so, I makes me feel good giving myself off one night per week because I’m not shooting for perfect.”

“I’ll master my diet eventually. I know that it’s gonna take me work and dedication but I’m committing to putting in the effort, day by day, habit by habit.. I know that if I focus on making healthy choices instead of losing weight, I will feel good in my own skin. I will focus on the process, not the outcome.”

It’s a little extra effort but I will get myself to that sandwich shop so I can still have a balanced choice, it’s just different to what I had planned.

I enjoyed my lunch so won’t let feelings of guilt or regret ruin that, but I will refocus my choices at dinner to continue habits which benefit my health more.

Perhaps I can learn from this to be mindful of choices and reduce or modify my intake but still include a food I enjoy.

I find eating in the morning difficult but if it helps me to train harder I will try something small and build on that.

*This article has informational purposes only, even if this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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