How to change your mindset about food

  • 3 Minutes Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

When dieting, it feels like most of us face an abundance of food, so how do you change your mindset about it when it is everywhere? Is it a trigger for overeating, even when you are not hungry? Do you have a birthday mindset or a healthy mindset?

How to change your mindset about food

Learn some ways to change your mindset about food

Is our first-world, abundant food supply a blessing or a curse? Your response likely depends on your approach toward the large quantity of food that's available.

Do you operate in birthday mode or health mode? I'll explain. You're pursuing a healthy mindset if you're regularly using MyNetDiary to track your food intake and make conscientious choices ahead. A birthday mindset is looking at food as deserved indulgences on a regular basis. For example, you may seek extra portions or unhealthy foods because you "earned" it, got a good deal on it, or want to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out). Maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves mindful strategies to make healthy choices when faced with the convenience of food on every corner. Consider the following everyday scenarios and learn to operate in a healthy mindset for your weight and health.


Birthday mindset: While watching TV, you eat chips out of the family-size bag without checking the portion size. Before you know it, you've polished off half the bag. Oh well, you have plenty because you bought the two-pack at the big box store.

Healthy mindset: After you've checked the nutrition facts, you get out your single-serving bowl to serve yourself precisely that amount of chips. You sit down and savor the chips, mindfully enjoying the snack.

Pizza party

Birthday mindset: Work has been exhausting, and you haven't made a grocery run in a week. You order a pizza for the family dinner. They have a meat lover's special: get a free, large, double -pepperoni pizza and a two-liter bottle of soda when you order an extra-large meat pizza. You pick up the special on the way home from work and put it on the table. The four of you are starving and manage to finish it off. The sauce counts as a vegetable, right?

Healthy mindset: You make a grocery list on Sunday for the following week based on meals using favorite family recipes. Each week, one family member plans the toppings for pizza night, which must include at least two vegetables plus a side salad. You make your winning whole-wheat pizza dough in the bread maker, and the entire family gets involved in making the meal. You really want the kids to feel confident about cooking because you know that home-cooked meals are much healthier for the family.

Work environment

Co-worker's brownies

Birthday mindset: You pick the biggest one on the plate and grab another for later. It is so yummy that you gobble them both down right away.

Healthy mindset: You cut off a sliver so that you can enjoy a few bites. You thank your co-worker for the treat. You go back to your office and eat the apple you brought for a snack.

The candy jar

Birthday mindset: Your co-worker has a candy jar on her desk. When you visit her office, you always grab chocolate. Sometimes you take an extra piece to stash in your desk drawer when you need a pick-me-up. The fact is, everyone in the office has treats. And when you're at the store, you make a point to find candy to generously refill the emptied jar. Last week you conveniently left the refill bag in your car and snacked on it all the way home after a long day at work. You deserved it!

Healthy mindset: You always bring in a couple of fruits or healthy, portion-controlled snacks daily. The strategy really helps you avoid the temptation of office treats. You think of the candy jar as off-limits except for every once-in-a-while. You notice that while everyone often helps themselves to the candy, most of your office mates also complain about their weight.

The Coffee shop

Birthday mindset: Coffee tastes so much better with caramel syrup and whipped topping, and that pumpkin-flavored creamy coffee is to die for. Oh wow, the grande size is only 50 cents more. Those tiny pastries can't have many calories, so you get two. Besides, you stayed up way too late last night watching a movie, and the only way you're going to get through the day is with loads of caffeine and a treat!

Healthy mindset: You realize that you really enjoy the taste of good, black coffee. Plus, it costs so much less than those trendy "dessert" coffees, too! On a very few special occasions, you treat yourself to a double mocha grande with whipped topping and chocolate sprinkles.

The bakery on the way home

Birthday mindset: Your favorite pie is on special, so you get one for dinner. You help yourself to a free cookie sample on the counter while you wait. Later at dinner, you have a piece of pie, and then you keep cutting off slivers while cleaning up afterward. Hey, you only live once.

Healthy mindset: When walking by the bakery, you enjoy inhaling the wonderful aroma and admire the beautiful pastries. You look forward to meeting your friend on Sunday morning for coffee and a donut. During the week, you eat whole-wheat toast and fruit before leaving for work.

If you often find yourself in birthday mode outside of special occasions, try some of the health-mode responses to these common scenarios. Such a shift can lead to long-term success with your healthy lifestyle. And remember to fully indulge and enjoy your birthday when it comes around once a year!

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Weight Loss->Behavior
Jan 8, 2021
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Start Your Free
Food Diary Today

Sign up Devices