Learning how to enjoy my food without guilt has been an ongoing process, especially this past year. I think most women can relate to the negative thoughts that come rushing in before, during, or after eating an unhealthy food, which is not a coincidence.
Let me explain…
Unhealthy foods are often called “bad” or considered a “cheat”. These negative words have been related to your favorite unhealthy foods like pizza, ice cream, or cake. The words used to describe unhealthy foods uphold a negative context, which loads on more guilt (and other negative feelings).
So we’ve grown up associating certain foods as bad. And what do we do when someone tells us something is bad, food related or not? We automatically feel guilt or shame.
Hearing a comment like, “Just enjoy it now, and run it off later” plays into the negativity. Obviously there’s no harm meant from that type of statement but in reality, it lays on the guilt even more. And honestly, it’s completely normal and healthy if you don’t want to run it off and just enjoy your food.
It’s one step in the right direction to be aware of the negative comments acquaintances, friends, family, or even yourself, may make related to food. Working through and pushing away the negative thoughts is still something I have to be consciously aware of. I’ve had some pretty illegitimate thoughts that were based around the fear that tacos for dinner were going to add a little more chub to my cheeks or plump to my belly.
If you can relate here are 2 steps you can take to drown out the negative voice inside your head…
1) Fight back negative thoughts with these phrases
“So what” or “who cares?”
For example, “I eat healthy the majority of the time and I’m going to enjoy this food, so what?”
Because the negativity that mainly involves my unhealthy eating can be superficial, I like to remind myself that in reality, it’s not the end of the world and I’m not going to gain 5 pounds by enjoying an unhealthy food.
2) Use this quote by John Mayer
“If you’re pretty, you’re pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise it’s just ‘congratulations about your face’”
That quote puts a smile on my face and is another reality check to my sometimes-bogus thought process. It reminds me that my superficial fears are just that, SUPERFICIAL. True beauty and value comes from within.
So to sum it all up, live a little and enjoy that cookie, ice cream, or whatever your jam is! I promise you, eating it will not be an end all to your health goals. Anything in excess can be harmful to your health. But that’s where the beauty of balance comes in, which is something we can all benefit from in every aspect of our lives.
Also, keep in mind, that getting rid of the bad food mentality is a process. You’re taking years of negative reinforcement from yourself and society and replacing it with positivity. One step at a time, one day at a time, but in the meantime, enjoy your food!