Do you often find that after eating certain foods (such as cake!) you experience overwhelming guilt and shame? You may blame your own self-control and wish you had better will power. If you do, you are not alone, in a world where diet culture is incredibly prevalent, this is completely normal.
Diet culture tells us that nutrition is black and white, and that in every food decision you make there is a ‘right’ choice or a ‘wrong’ choice. In other words, foods are labelled as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. When in fact, food is morally neutral, it’s just food after all!
If you set strict rules around certain foods, you may find that you can’t stop thinking about this food. You might end up over-eating this particular food because you have a voice in the back of your head telling you that this is the last time you will allow yourself to have it. You may also find yourself avoiding some social situations because you are worried about being tempted by that piece of birthday cake.
The reality is that your overall health is determined by so much more than just your food choices. Having a positive relationship with food improves our mental health. Food is more than just fuel; it brings families and friends together as something to bond over and can be a gift from one person to another to show love and kindness. We can enjoy celebrations such as birthdays and weddings without the fear of over-indulging, or eating a food that is on our ‘naughty’ list.
- Eating one piece of cake will not immediately make you unhealthy (likewise eating one carrot doesn’t immediately make you healthy!).
- Including all kinds of foods into your daily eating does not mean you are letting yourself go, attempting to completely avoid some foods can be more damaging to your physical and mental health.
- Give yourself full permission to have a piece of cake and enjoy it!
If you would like to know how to have a simplify your relationship with food, get in touch and ask about our intuitive eating package.
Main author Millie Keown - student dietitian
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