Everyone who knows met knows how passionate I am about helping women to feel happier, healthier, get fitter and more confident. I know the road to that is often not as simple as just to exercise more and cut down calories. For many, including myself, it is changing our relationship we have with food. Sadly, most people struggle with this…even if they look half decent or are not particularly overweight at all.
So let me ask you something:
- Do you feel guilty after eating certain foods?
- Do you label foods as ‘bad’ or ‘good’?
If the answer is yes to either of these then you might have to work on your relationship with food. Especially in the last few days I had many moments where I had to stop myself going into that rabbit hole of guilt for eating choclate or other deliciousness. Let’s dive into this a bit deeper.
In today’s world, the fitness and health industry is worth billions, but unfortunately the industry is very little regulated. This means that so called influencers can promote any food supplement, diet or food cult with very little knowledge. Paired with promoting unsustainable and also unhealthy body images with photoshopped pictures, people like me an you, who are struggling to find the right approach to healthy eating and exercising, develop this unhealthy condition where we place enormous moral and emotional prejudices on food.
Some common examples of ‘good’/’bad’ food labelling include:
- ‘All sugar is bad’
- ‘Carbs make you fat’
- ‘Bread makes you fat’
- ‘Oh it’s okay to eat as much avocado as you want because it’s a good fat.’
- ‘Dietary Fat is bad because it makes you fat’
- Being proud to say things like ‘Oh I only eat sweet potatoes but never normal potatoes’
- Or If someone wants to eat chocolate or a dessert, deep down they feel they are committing some huge sin. (even if they downplay it out loud, there’s guilt inside)
Recognize some of these from the voice inside your head? – I certainly do and its a big problem. It’s not just the demonizing the foods with negative labels that’s a problem but it’s also over emphasising foods as ‘Good’ that can make us feel like anything less is a failure. Take potatoes for example… They’re actually a very filling carb that is versatile, easy to digest, good for gut health and pretty low in calories. BUT since sweet potatoes became the next craze, normal potatoes got a bad reputation which is actually unfounded.
I have met people who were genuinely put off eating potatoes as they are carbs and they believed it would go instantly on their hips. And if I am really being honest, I once was this person. The worst thing is it’s actually the ‘experts’ fault for not properly explaining in what context the previous statements may hold any truth, if at all. What can we do though to change our beliefs?
Let’s bare in mind only food that actually poisons and kills us is bad food. And lets be honest, we would not eat that. Remember, we are an advanced species living on this planet that has gotten to where we are by our incredible ability to adapt. This also translates into the fact that we can use MANY foods as fuel for our bodies. This is partly because we have many ways of cooking and preparing food which allows us to digest and extract the nutrients that we would not otherwise be able to. In my opinion, food is definitely something that can and should be enjoyed but it’s also important to recognise that ultimately IT IS FUEL for our body. Without fueling our body would not be able to function in the way it does.
By placing morals of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ it causes a lot of unnecessary mental harm. Of course it’s important to know what each food is made up of nutritionally and how it affects us.
So instead of labelling food as good and bad… try and think of foods in terms of:
- Which offers more optimum nutrients?
- Which is the most filling & satisfying?
- Which allows me to feel energised vs lethargic after?
- Which creates more cycles of cravings?
- Which satisfies all the above & I enjoy the most
See how you feel doing this and little by little, over time, watch how your view of food becomes a much healthier & more fulfilling one. Lastly, be careful about where you get your information from regarding food. There are many ‘qualified professionals’ that give out advice as if they are prescribing doses of medicine. They lack compassion, use harsh dogmatic language and often lose site of the bigger picture of what health is all about. So if all their message is focusing on how ‘bad’ certain foods are and use hate based language around food, perhaps consider them to be someone that to unfollow on your social media.