If you eat too many carrots, your skin can turn orange. But if you eat too many carrots, it doesn't mean you'll turn into a carrot.
And if you eat "bad" foods, it doesn't mean you're a bad person.
See the difference?
Well, I suppose I could be more clear. Read below to find out why you are NOT what you eat and why that messaging can be problematic for those trying to lose weight or eat healthily.
It stands to reason that a healthy person eats healthy foods. However, we all know seemingly healthy people (myself included) that also eat unhealthy foods on occasion. So there isn't a 100% correlation between what we eat and who we identify as (someone who is healthy).
And to take that idea a step further, our self-evaluation or self-worth shouldn't be tied to eating either. Here's an example:
"I ate badly today and I feel bad about myself."
"I'm so proud of myself for eating well today."
At face value, there's nothing wrong with these statements. We recognize that how we eat affects how we feel. But maybe it shouldn't have such a dramatic influence on how we feel about ourselves as humans. After all, it's just food.
If you believe you ate "badly", it doesn't mean that you are a "bad" person. And even labeling food as either good or bad is a dangerous precedent to set. The dichotomous "healthy" or "unhealthy" labeling can be detrimental to your health journey because it leads to a rollercoaster of feeling good or bad about yourself after every meal.
We need to stop talking about foods as exclusively good or bad. And we definitely need to stop thinking about food as a reflection of ourselves. We need to take away the power food has to make us feel a certain way about our value.
However, there is an essential difference between how food makes you feel and how food makes you feel about yourself.
For example, when some people eat dairy it makes them feel bad - upset stomach, cramping, etc. In those cases, maybe it's a good idea to listen to your body and eat less dairy.
Or maybe there are foods that make you feel good - they give you energy and fill you up. So, maybe you should continue to eat those foods.
How food makes you feel can guide to your eating. It's a pillar of intuitive eating - which is a relatively new phenomenon sweeping the diet and nutrition world. But even intuitive eating doesn't give us permission to allow food to establish how we feel about ourselves as people.
So, you are NOT what you eat. You are a complex individual with personal nutrition needs. The best food plans are not those that restrict you from eating "bad" foods. And no foods should make you feel that you are "bad" for eating them.
When you work towards a better relationship with food you can learn to separate what you eat from who you are. Instead, you will be working towards the ideal version of yourself - which is a person that has a good relationship with food at eating. After all, that's what most of us want!
For more eating tips and healthy weight-loss advice, subscribe to the blog. Or contact me to find out how you can start building a better relationship with food.