Have you ever caught yourself thinking in terms of "good food" vs. "bad foods"? If so, you're not alone.
This can becomes a harmful way to think about what you put in your body. Here are some ways to notice that thought pattern and begin retraining your brain.
The "Good Foods" vs "Bad Foods" Cycle
Does this sound familiar?
If your raised your hand and said, "yes, this is me!" join the club. So many of us are constantly told which foods are "good", "bad" and either will or will not help us reach our goals.
We cling to these promises because maybe, just maybe, it is the magic key and the think we didn't have the last time we tried. Plus, it is human nature to want things to be black and white and as straightforward as possible.
But here is the truth: there is no such thing as a "good" food or a "bad" food. And, the sooner you start believing and practicing that mindset, the sooner you'll reach your goals.
A quick caveat: It is important to note that there are some foods that are generally considered "unhealthy" like processed sugars and trans-fats. We are not ignoring this truth! That being said, unless you have a medical condition or have very specific health goals, these foods can still be eaten now and then without detriments to your health.
The problem with Food Morality
Have you ever said something like "I was so good today" or "I was so bad over the weekend" when referring to food choices?
When you view foods as "good" or "bad", you're automatically setting yourself up to go overboard on the foods you wouldn't eat unless you're "being good".
If you've every thought: "well, I'm already being bad so I may as well just go for it," you know exactly what I'm talking about.
What you'll notice is that these covnersations and thought patterns equate the foods you choose with the kind of person you are. You are not a bad person because you eat a donut and you are not a good person because you ate a salad.
Once you've started to think about yourself as a bad person (or "not good enough"), it is easy to slip into unconscious choices perpetuating that belief. Whether it is continuing to eat foods that don't serve your goals, skipping the gym or ignoring other helahty habits, when you think of yourself as "bad" because of your food choices, it takes away furture healthy choices you would otherwise make.
So if "good foods" vs "bad foods" isn't the mindset move, how can you make choices you're proud of?
Start thinking of food as whether it "serves you" in that moment or not.
What do we mean by this?
Well food serves you in different ways depending on the situation you're in.
For example: a planned breakfast date with your spouse to go get your favorite donuts serves you, not only your goals if you plan out that you're going to have it, but it also serves your marriage and your mind because you're treating yourself with someone you love.
That same food, a donut, in a different situation may not serve you.
For example: You plan and brought your lunch to work and someone randomly brought in a bunch of donuts that have been sitting in the break room all day. For the first hour or so you stay strong, but then your willpower starts to go down. Even though you know having a donut doesn't serve you that day, your co-workers peer pressure you into having one. Aftewards, you feel frustrated with yourself and start thinking "well, the day is shot...let's go for donut #2"
In every food scenario, you have the chance to ask yourself questions like...
- What are my current goals?
- Which foods serve those goals right now?
- Which foods don't serve those goals right now?
Then you can prioritize based on your goals and the situation, thus enjoying your food more and stop beating yourself up over enjoying a treat!
We get it, mindset shifts like this can be hard. This is where hiring a 1:1 nutrition coach can come in handy. Our coaches are armed with the mindset strategies you need to help you treat yourself with respect and enjoy foods you love while reaching your goals.