Over the November and December holidays in 2019, our nutrition coach, Becks, dropped weekly “Tips with Becks” knowledge bombs in our private member group on Facebook. We’re pulling some out to share as blog posts because, frankly, they’re too good not to share. Take it away, Becks!
Let me know if the following scenario sounds familiar:
A coworker of yours brings in a box of donuts to the office. Your first thought is, “Oh, those are bad, I shouldn’t have one.” You walk by them a few times, stare longingly, and keep repeating to yourself “that’s bad, I shouldn’t eat that.”
Eventually, you cut yourself off a TINY piece, but then that sugar rush hits your tongue, and before you know it, you’ve eaten 3 donuts…because hey, you’ve already “messed up”, so why not go crazy? You spend the rest of the day feeling guilty or bad, because you’ve “lost control” and indulged in “bad food”.
Anyone found themselves in that situation before?
The Mental Side of What You Eat
The truth is, you didn’t “mess up.” You attached a negative emotion (guilt/shame) to a food in an attempt to motivate yourself to stay away, and it had the opposite outcome you desired – because, surprise! Shame and guilt are horrible motivators.
When people want to start improving their nutrition, they think this will only involve the actual food they eat. In reality, a LOT of nutrition has to do with the mentality and thoughts we have around food, our thought processes, and recognizing certain language & behavior patterns we default to when making decisions around what to eat.
As humans, we like to categorize things. We label food as “good” or “bad”, with very little in between. In reality, there IS no “good” food or “bad” food; there’s just food.
Labeling them as one extreme or the other often comes with equally polarizing emotions regarding our self-worth. We should never attach emotions to food, as our self-worth as a human is not dependent upon the food we eat.
Here’s the challenge: Shift your focus around HOW you think about food. Instead of labeling things as good/bad or healthy/unhealthy, think of everything as just food.
Once you understand all food is just food, we can break that broad category into three buckets:
- There are foods we should eat REGULARLY (whole, unprocessed foods, vegetables, good protein sources, etc.).
- Foods we should eat SOMETIMES (bread, dark chocolate, protein powders).
- Some foods we should eat RARELY (ice cream, cookies, cakes, candy, French fries, etc).
You can have a donut as part of your diet, but that doesn’t mean that your diet is ONLY donuts.