A lot of times, when it comes to our nutrition and health, we tend to think in terms of black or white, good or bad, and all or nothing. Some examples might be:
- “Well, I ate like trash today, I guess I’ll try again tomorrow.”
- “I was so bad this weekend! I have to be better next week.”
- “I am going to do (a fad diet or juice cleanse) before we go on vacation next month.”
- “After the holidays, I have GOT to get back on track!”
Have you thought this way about your nutrition before?
You are definitely not alone.
I have said all of these things at one point or another in my life. This type of thinking can get us into trouble by robbing us of the joys that eating can bring and negatively affect our relationship with food.
Food is meant to be enjoyed, savored, and shared with loved ones. Some of my favorite memories in life have been made around a dinner table. Unfortunately, when we take on this dichotomous thinking about food being “good” or “bad”, mealtimes can be a source of stress and guilt instead.
When we demonize certain foods, eliminate or restrict them, it can lead to overeating those same foods later on!
As with many things in life, there are gray areas when it comes to the foods we eat. Food isn’t a moral issue: eating all whole foods doesn’t make you a better person. Eating fast food doesn’t make you evil either.
Is that true for you?
Do you find yourself gauging your self-worth based on how you eat during the day? If so, this can not only be a distraction from things that really matter, but it can prevent you from learning the eating skills necessary to practice a way of eating that is sustainable and effective.
If you have struggled with this type of thinking, just remember, we weren’t born with this type of thinking so we can unlearn it and practice reframing.
Food provides energy and physical nutrients. It can help fuel our workouts and keep us feeling good.
There are certain foods that are more nutrient-dense, while others might be highly palatable but less nutritious. Instead of seeing food as either good or bad, I like to think of food in terms of being on a spectrum.
On one side is food in its original whole food form, on the other is a processed version. Which side do your foods typically land? Can we get most of our daily intake of food closer to the whole food side? (Notice I didn’t say all?)
I have two gentle challenges for you this week:
1) if you find yourself judging the moral character of your food this week, try reframing that thinking “this food might be more processed, but it isn’t evil.” and then enjoy it.
2) Next time you go to the store, try out a version of your food that is one step closer to its whole food cousin.