You don’t have to read to far, turn on the tv, or surf the web to see statements like this screaming at you…..
“Grains are bad for you!”, “Bread is bad for you”, “Dairy is bad for you”, ” Sugar is the devil and will kill you”, ” Starches are bad for you”, “Carbs are bad for you”, “Detox your body from poisons (bad foods)”, “Do a “cleanse” to help your body”, “You have to be hungry to lose weight”, “You can’t lose weight unless you cut out “these” foods” “You must only eat organic foods”, “You must eat only pricey beef or other foods” ( for the best health) “Skipping meals will help you lose weight”, “You need to do this “diet” to lose weight and be successful” “I ate to much yesterday so I need to workout really hard today to take away those calories” (as if) “Gluten free!” “Fat free!” …..
Oh, I could go on but I won’t ’cause I want you to stay with me.
You get it. You’ve heard it.
So many times when I hear these things, I roll my eyes. I can’t help it, when I hear nonsense, it kinda just happens.
My mom used to yell at me when I did if for something she said… haha
What on earth has happened to us that we buy into and believe such dysfunctional thinking with food and our bodies? Why are we made to feel bad or guilty for eating food and satisfying a natural hunger? Why are we taught food is bad? Why do we believe foods are “bad”? How do some learn to obsess over everything they eat and feel bad for it? How do we develop this dysfunctional thinking ?
Worse yet, why do we follow along with an ideology or a certain camp of thinking, especially if it’s the current trendy thing to do, or our friends are doing it?
Sometimes, maybe we are a bit like sheep, eh?
First things first.
I want to address the fact that for some people, on a completely legit level, may have particular food allergies that necessitate removing particular foods. There are a small percentage of people who truly have celiac disease and have to live a gluten free life. Some may have experimented and realized maybe they feel better without certain foods than having them.
Real food issues that involve real health issues are important and need care and attention.
This is not what I’m addressing here.
Now that issue is settled….
Food isn’t bad for you.
Seriously. Food isn’t bad. Saying something is “bad” for you is more disordered thinking of the world we live in and the lies we’ve bought into.
We’ve bought into feeling guilty over food. We’ve bought into thinking we should feel bad about what we eat. We’ve been taught we have to obsess over calories and most of all, there has to be a level of suffering involved with losing weight and how much food we get. We’ve been told if we eat, we’ll get fat so we learn to deprive ourselves and be miserable.
Where has such wrong thinking come from?
Yes, many foods do not provide the best nutritional quality for your body. Having a soda over a glass of ice water is hardly a good nutritional choice. But if you only have one when you eat pizza and you have pizza maybe once a month, then it’s really not a big deal.
Daily sodas can pack on serious pounds fast, in that situation you need to assess, is that good for you ? Are sodas impacting your health.
Soda in and of itself isn’t “bad” used in moderation. Not the best choice perhaps but not some evil thing.
Oh those carbs
I guess one of the comments I hate hearing is that “carbs” are bad for you.
I guess if we’re gonna split it out, let’s define those carbs.
Simple carbs that are found in those “not as nutritional food choices” would be carbs found in cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, chips, fast foods, sodas, candy, sugared drinks, etc.
You should only consume those products minimally for optimal health.
Complex carbs, now those are a different creature. Fruits and veggies are loaded with complex carbs that are good energy sources for our bodies providing tons of vitamins and minerals which also helps protect against diseases, build cells, protect our vision. help our digestive system and major organs, fill us up for minimal calories, and so many offer anti-aging benefits as well.
Whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans etc also offer up a dense and nutritionally packed power punch for energy.
Sadly, these carbs are often viewed as the bad and shunned. Worse yet some “diet” plans entirely remove these food groups.
Real, natural, whole food labeled as “bad”.
Oh that sugar….
if there’s one thing that’s been heavily demonized is sugar. Again, as I mentioned, there are things we need to be mindful of in our daily diets. You shouldn’t be consuming a lot of sugar. That too, will pack on pounds if you’re eating those cookies and muffins on the daily. Don’t forget your sugary drinks you might enjoy as well.
Sugar in a modest amount isn’t “bad”. If you have a weakness for it, then it might be that you make the choice to purposefully limit or stay away from it if it cause you to stumble in your health goals or to binge.
And fat free….
speaking of sugar, it leads me to the “fat free” thought. Get rid of fat it’s “bad” for you. Don’t eat fat.
Again like the carb lies, there are good fats and “bad” fats. Ironically, the fats that are not in your best health interest are also in many of the simple carbs I listed as well.
Years ago when the fat free rage was at it’s highest point and I was beginning to navigate the waters of health I learned a sobering truth while reading a label on some “fat free” cookies.
The calorie content was ridiculous! But why?? These were fat-free.
Listen, when you remove necessary fat from baked goods, you get essentially something that tastes like a cardboard shoebox.
To sell their product it had to have some taste so they majorly upped the sugar in their “fat free” cookies.
And the people eagerly bought into it. Because fat free certainly must mean calorie free.
I realized if I wanted two “normal” cookies, I could do so with less calories involved. But then hey, the trend was normal cookies were “bad”.
Those other things I listed….
Cleanses and detoxes are awful for your body. Those are bad. Don’t do them. They just feed our disordered thinking on food and nutrition.
Skipping meals will not help you lose weight. You WILL be hungry and think about food all the time… so it’s a bit dysfunctional to ignore your bodies physical needs.
You cannot hit the gym the next day to “work off” food and drink from the day before. You can’t “negate what you ate”. What you can do is get back on track with your eating and do sensible exercise. Again, more disordered thinking that we could actually lose calories we sucked recklessly in the day before.
There is no diet that is some magic wand to help you lose weight. At the end of each day, you have a calorie deficit. THAT is how you lose weight. Run away if some product or diet is making wild promises. It just isn’t true.
You don’t have to eat organic or buy meats that cost you a weeks worth of pay. For many people, it is way out of their budget to do so. I might suggest if you started eating more fruits and veggies you’d be on the road to a healthier lifestyle and wellness. Again, we’ve been conditioned to “believe” these things by a select group.
Foods that don’t fall in those categories (organic etc) aren’t “bad” or “robbed” of nutrients.
Could I make a radical suggestion here?
If food in general isn’t “bad”, perhaps it’s our behaviors with certain foods that are “bad”.
Perhaps we lack a level of control with certain foods. Maybe the mere taste of something pushes us to eat more. There might be foods that trigger our eating. Maybe our emotions are what cause us to indulge in things we don’t need or eat excessively. Perhaps our mouth just wants to eat even if our stomach isn’t physically hungry.
These are behavior issues we have. The food, is what’s used to support those behaviors.
Withholding food from ourselves or over indulging in food is dysfunctional thinking. We can’t medicate with or without food.
We have to get real with ourselves and know where our weak areas are.
It has been easier in the world to make food be “bad” then it is to examine issues that cause bad behaviors with food.
The bottom line
We have to change our thinking with food and how we interact with it. We have to stop thinking of it in negative ways and look at our own behaviors with it.
If you realize you may have some struggles with how you view food or the choices you make you might consider writing those things down and then setting small goals for yourself in ways to changes those behaviors or thoughts. Perhaps you might need an accountability partner, someone who you can confide in and you could walk with you and help you with those changes.
Listen, I believe eating well the majority of the time is important to living a healthy life, having energy and looking good.
I also like cake and occasionally some French fries. I’ve grown in my understanding and relationship with food to not have any guilt connected to it. Life is to be enjoyed and sometimes it means having fries or cake or whatever may float your boat.
There are things like alcohol, processed foods, excess sugar, and high fats ( not the good kind) that not only aren’t good for your health, but contribute to your aging process as well. Again, those should all be used cautiously.
Keeping a healthy balance in your daily nutrition not only will keep you from dysfunctional thinking about food, but will let you have your cake and eat it too.
In moderation, of course 😉