That food is bad.
I'm not allowed to eat that.
I'll just have to cheat.
Maybe this sounds familiar to you. These were phrases that often came out of my mouth and were a part of my thought process for many years.
I've had an acute Gluten-sensitivity (and various other food intollerances) for about 10 years, chronic fatigue and thyroid disease for around 7 years, and many symptoms from the damage that caused in my body.
Around 6 years ago I learned about the importance of diet and how the food I ate impacted my body (negatively and positively). It wasn't a matter of simply avoiding gluten and other foods my body didn't tolerate, its about giving your body the right fuel and tools. Even if I forgo that bagel for breakfast (avoiding gluten), if I don't have a couple eggs and avocado I don't have the protein I need and I will still feel tired and sluggish.
As my husband is fond of saying, "You are what you eat!" That can be an empowering rule of thumb or it can be discouraging. Let me tell you why I think that.
For many years when planning meals or making decisions about what to eat, those phrases I mentioned earlier would guide my process. Sometimes they motivated me to make helpful decisions, but a lot of times when I'd end up eating something not helpful, I'd feel the weight of "cheating" or eating "bad" food. I felt guilty and discouraged.
That's when I discovered the power of perspective. Getting to the root of why I'm eating/not eating certain foods, I realized it's not that a food is "bad" in itself, as much as it just doesn't serve my body well. If I view the food I eat as the building blocks for my mind, body and even emotional well-being, eating foods that my body can't use or foods that cause destruction, doesn't fulfill my purpose.
With that perspective I'm changing my phraseology to questions like:
Will this serve my body well?
Is this what my body needs right now?
How can I support my body's functions best with the food options before me?
What phrases run through your mind when you're making food decisions? Do they partner with your root reason for eating/not eating certain foods? What can we do to shift our perspective toward one of greater kindness and empowerment about how we eat?
Tell me what you think in the comments!