For as long as I can remember, I would describe most food as either good or bad. That’s pretty normal right? So I thought, until one day my bestie caught me out. She said: Stop. It’s just food, stop saying good food bad food.
I couldn’t quite get my mind around defining food in any other way at the time, but it definitely got me thinking.
It took help from Sonya, (who was my amazing life coach at the time) to wrap my head around it and then Marc (my teacher at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating) for it to really sink into my brain.
Food is not good or bad. A cupcake isn’t morally bad and kale isn’t morally good. I know it’s obvious that a cupcake isn’t going to give you the same (if any!) nutritional value as kale would. But if you only eat one cupcake (I’m going to say even two) on occasion is it still classified as bad?
Here’s what happens when you label certain food as ‘bad’:
You eat ‘bad’ food and it immediately translates to “I am bad”. That causes stress, self loathing and the crazies to begin around food, whether you know it or not.
It’s like when people say, “no thanks I won’t have a cupcake, I’m trying to be good’. What does that even mean?!? Straight away you’ve put all your power into food by letting it determine whether you’re good or bad. Talk about self induced stress.
Instead of calling certain things bad, let’s think of them as powerful.
Sugar, caffeine, gluten and alcohol for example aren’t necessarily bad, they are just powerful substances. They need to be treated with respect, mindfulness and awareness. They are the kind of things that our bodies can handle a small amount of, but in large doses they make us feel like crap.
In which case, here’s how I ultimately see things:
The dose makes the poison.
Cupcakes aren’t bad. But if you have 3 cupcakes every single day and you might not be feeling so good. Do you get my drift?
Stop the negative food labelling. It’s impossible to eat ‘good’ foods 100% of the time. You need a little indulgence and pleasure from the foods you love, amongst choosing healthy foods that make you feel good. So instead of feeling bad about it, remember it’s the dose that makes the poison, not the food itself. Let the guilt go and enjoy!
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