Why Your Confidence Needs You to Go on a Diet

I never thought I would utter the words. 

“You need to go on a diet.” 

Never. Not in a million years. 

I know I’m a former Miss Nevada (and apparently that’s supposed to mean I jump on every kale, veggie juice, blue-foods-only diet craze). But I’m someone who has always much more adept at pacing a pizza and ice cream marathon than actually running any sort of marathon. 

I’ve also made Facebook comedy videos encouraging men to buy women snacks instead of drinks. I don’t believe that life is meant to be about restriction. Give me dessert, or give me death! That’s my, very sugar-coated, motto.

I am a BIG BELIEVER in eating what you want when you feel like it, and not allowing anyone to shame you for your eating habits— including your inner voice. 

So why am I now advocating we all go on diets?

Turns out, it’s an essential part to keeping a healthy level of confidence (don’t worry, carbs are still included. Allow me to elaborate…). 

Confidence Begins with What We Choose to Consume

Just like our meals, what we choose to consume via entertainment, media and social media, and online all plays into our physical and mental well-being. We— as social creatures of habit— will start to adopt the lens of whatever it is that we consistently indulge in. This is one of the major reasons why what you choose to read, watch, talk about matters so much… it’s not just a ten-minute article overview or a thirty-minute TV program. It primes you for how you’re going to operate throughout your day. 

How many times have you started out your day scrolling through social media, only to find that looking at your friends’ profiles makes you a little depressed? There’s a reason many celebrities are now opting to delete their Instagram accounts, or ‘unfollow’ certain people. There are more studies than I can count now linking social media to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and suicide rates. Consuming material unintentionally can have dramatic, and even lethal, effects.

How many articles of juicy celebrity gossip do you ingest in a day? Are you even aware of how consuming content through that lens may affect how you’re intaking the world around you? How does it affect what you’re choosing to discuss with your friends? How often have you read a breaking headline and then felt the need to pass it on to someone? Was this a constructive conversation?  

Ever notice how when you watch a lot of depressing news on natural disasters you become slightly more anxious and depressed? Ever notice how after you watch a gripping drama, you’re suddenly comparing your love story to the main character’s?  

What we take in- and what we decide it means- impacts our lens of the world. And because we’re socially-evolved monkeys, we’re always trying to adopt the ‘norms’ of what we see so that we feel included. This is why we must be very careful when considering what we want to allow in our minds. 

Now, keep in mind, just like your actual nutrition plan, this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario (and obviously, we don’t want to be uninformed or have to become Amish in order to feel confident). So how do we start revising our diet? 

Here’s how you determine what you, personally, need:

Take Emotional Measurements

Before you go around purging your weekly routines of all the content you consume, find your base line. Go about your daily routine (if you’re extra ambitious, write down all of the types of content you consume in the process). Enjoy your shows, conversations, and articles. Then, take stock.

How do you feel after looking at certain friend’s social media profiles? How does watching that show on Netflix affect you post show? What types of conversations are you having with your friends? Do you leave those conversations feeling elated?

If you find that any behavior leaves you feeling worse than before you had engaged with them, it’s time to cut them out. They’re not adding value.

You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel just by removing the low-value content from your life. 

Note: I’m not advocating to become ignorant of current events or drop your friends; this is about becoming constructive. Ask yourself, “Is watching this, reading this, looking at this, talking about this, etc., serving me?” You’ll quickly find there’s a lot you can cut from your routine and replace with more empowering habits.

Hilary Billings