My Christmas wish for you...food peace forever!
Last week, we talked about how the diet industry’s success is built on you feeling like a failure. Now, let's start learning how to re-writing that shameful inner monologue. But first on last point about diet culture's sneakiness.
Diet culture is really good at teaching you how to associate morality with food by using words such as sinful, tempting, or cheat-worthy to describe ways of eating, recipes, and even ingredients. They know that once you've given in and eaten the whole box/package/dish of whatever you were tempted by, you'll be scrambling to "get-back-on-track" with a new diet ritual to avoid the guilt and shame from eating said pleasurable foods.
Your dieting mind helps to support food morality by creating the food police - that obnoxious voice in your head that says, “once on the lips, twice on the hips,” or other shameful phrases.
My clients and I spend A LOT of time on learning to recognize and call out the food police in order for them to reclaim their own voice against food morality.
Challenging the food police is fundamental to making peace with food. If you’ve spent years, even decades dealing with food and body criticism from a parent, teachers, employers, spouse, partner - you know first hand how it can feel to be constantly ridiculed. This lived experience unfortunately only fuels your inner criticism from the food police.
The authors of Intuitive Eating - Evelyn Tribole RDN and Elyse Resch RDN, describe the thoughts and rules created by the food police as cognitive distortions - very strong statements that are based on false beliefs.
For example, thinking “it’s okay to eat fruits and vegetables for carbs - I’ve heard that’s good. But it’s bad to eat carbs from bread, pasta, and cookies.”
This is a false belief. The truth is, to your body’s physiology, after digestion, carbs all look the same and are managed similarly to give your body energy.
Let’s rephrase that food police statement above…
“I’ve heard that carbs from fruits and veggies are “healthier,” but I wonder where that idea came from? I wonder how my body would feel if I ate some bread, pasta, or a cookie instead?”
The key difference here is curiosity.
When you’re learning to call out the food police and re-writing that inner monologue around food morality, it’s crucial to observe your previous thoughts and beliefs about “healthy” food - allowing these thoughts to come to mind without passing judgement, just observe that they are part of your relationship with food and your body.
Research has shown that by using non-judgmental curiosity and practicing mindful awareness, you can improve your mental health - which contributes to healing your relationship with food.
Learning to make peace with food allows you to make food choices by trusting your intuition and desires - choosing foods from a place of self-care rather than self control.
For example, think of a toddler learning to eat solid foods. They explore textures, tastes, smells, and colors all from a place of curiosity and intuition. They could care less about whether the food is “healthy” or not. Toddlers eat when they are hungry and adamantly say NO when they’re not. This is the original intuitive eating, our default setting.
Re-learning to become an intuitive eater, after years of chronic dieting, requires you to open up, get curious about previously held food beliefs, and embrace a non-linear relationship with food and your body.
If there’s one thing I’ve found to be 100% true in doing this work - there's no one way of eating that will work for your entire life. Nourishment needs change. Your food preferences and desires will change. Your body will change.
The minute you can wrap your head around those facts is the minute that the food police is out of a job.
So, create a resolution to call a truce on the war with food and your body in 2019. Let’s lay the green super food smoothies on the table right next to the doughnuts!
Let’s rewrite your inner monologue of food morality, judgement, and body shame. Let’s embrace food neutrality and body liberation once and for all!
Cheers to you!
Curious to learn more about nutrition counseling with Alpine Nutrition? Schedule a FREE discovery call at (206) 800-0513.