It’s the New Year and diet culture is everywhere you look. With weight loss talk and fad diets around every corner, food rules can almost seem normal– but that doesn’t mean they are serving you. How can you tell if diet culture and food guilt are causing you more harm than good? (hint: they probably are!)
Here are some signs that food guilt is getting in your way:
It’s totally normal to look forward to a favorite meal. It’s even normal to browse the menu at a new restaurant or occasionally grumble about having to plan another week of dinners. However, having thoughts consumed by food, calories, or striving to “eat clean” is not healthy. There are way more important things to focus on in life whether it’s rocking that work presentation or learning how to play the ukulele!
Constantly thinking about food can also mean that you’re not meeting your nutritional needs. This may leave you with low energy levels & other health problems that aren’t going to set you up for success.
Do you love pasta but avoid lasagne because “carbs are bad”? When the creme brulee on the menu is calling your name do you turn it down? Do you keep chocolate out of the house, only to binge later when faced with the office candy bowl? It doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to feel food guilt. With intuitive eating, no food is off the table, and ALL foods are encouraged to be part of a balanced diet. (Yes, even pizza and candy!).
Do dinner parties cause you to stress about straying from your meal plan? Do you find yourself saying no to grabbing lattes with a friend in fear of liquid calories? Along the same lines as #2, avoiding social events that involve food is only holding you back from living your best life! Health is so much more than just what you eat. It’s just as important to manage stress levels, have meaningful social interactions, and to enjoy yourself!
Brunch isn’t enjoyable if you’re too busy thinking about how many miles you have to run later to “burn it off”. Nourishing your body shouldn’t be a transaction. You can eat the foods you enjoy without food guilt. Check out our blog post on why you don’t need to “burn off” your food.
Repeat after me: your worth is not determined by meeting your step goal or staying below a calorie limit. If not meeting the goals set by your smartwatch or going over your calories on MyFitnessPal ruins your day, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship.
If you feel ready to take back the headspace from food guilt & diet culture, consider reaching out to of our non-diet dietitians for more support and to get you started.