The pursuit of perfection often leads to unnecessary suffering. Like most things in life, finding a balanced perspective around food can bring you more happiness and joy.
We are confronted with questions and concerns about “good” and “bad” foods on a daily basis. Morality over food becomes a constant struggle as many people experience shame or regret over eating foods that society has villainized.
“I was bad today, I ate a hamburger.”
“You are going to be mad at me, I had cake last night”.
Since when does what you eat make you who you are as a person?
It is a common way to project and express they are feeling upset about themselves. However, we not only shame ourselves, but also other people. These judgments are often fueled by misinformation and a lifetime of restrictive dieting messages that cater towards so-called ‘perfect’ eating behaviors.
Here’s how you can remember to keep your inner dialogue at peace.
1. No single diet solves all problems.
Sometimes, a diet message tries to be positive in sharing how amazing one can feel by being on it. And while some people have legitimate reasons they make certain dietary choices (such as a food allergy or sensitivity), it can leave others with more questions. “Do I need to be vegan? Do I eat too many carbs? What is clean eating? Is that the same as being good?” This leads to creating a new type of disordered eating language, replacing one problem with another.
2. There’s a lot of grey.
Food is not black and white, there is a lot of grey area. In most cases, all foods can fit into a balanced meal plan. It is true that a burger is neither good nor bad. Should we eat them for every meal? Probably not, but it won’t make or break you. We should enjoy a variety of food, listen to our bodies, and avoid food rules. Food rules and people who push them on themselves or others are really an unfortunate combination.
3. Don’t be pushy about your ideals.
We should be empowering the ability to choose what we eat on to others, not projecting our own feelings about food or emotions onto them. There is no one nutrient or food group that will solve all of the problems in the world or cure “obesity”. And if we label foods as “good” or “bad”, what kind of message are we sending our children? Avoid having to explain that our food choices don’t define us or place us in a higher (or lower) moral standing.
4. Focus on personal nourishment.
Fueling our bodies the best we can is the true goal, and with that, there must be balance. Food is just food – we can’t give it this crazy power. We can treat food as nourishment and not label it as a way to feel better or worse about ourselves or others. Everyone has a personal choice about what they can eat to fuel their bodies.
Most of all, remember that not all foods will leave us feeling the same afterwards.
Lean in and start listening closely to your body, while sharing positive messages about food to our children and those around you. Try talking to your family about all of the flavors of food, instead of labels, and leave the “it is good for you?” at the door. For once, allow the food to speak for itself.
After all, life is about sharing in experiences that bring us joy and satisfaction.
Adapted from the original article.
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Ashley Munro, RD, CDE is an Arizona-based registered dietitian, chef, and certified Intuitive Eating counselor who helps others heal their relationship with food by letting go of diet rules and learning to accept their bodies. Through delicious cooked meals and recipes, Ashley shares her passion for food freedom, cooking, and family at her blog, A Pinch of Grace.