One thing many of us find we have to think about not just once but repeatedly throughout our journey with eating more mindfully, is whether we are holding on to any food rules we picked up from our history of dieting/eating disorder. This can be a hard thing to do because these beliefs can be so sneaky, insidious, and hard to pinpoint. In the culture we live in, they also often have been indoctrinated in us from an early age. Often, if we truly examine our behaviors around food, we can find that some of these rules have continued to sneak in to our behaviors around food under the guise of “eating healthy”. We live in a culture that is currently very fixated on the idea of health and wellness, and it can be very hard to separate from this idea that eating healthy somehow means avoiding illness and disease. In reality, we live in a culture that is fixated on trying to avoid an inevitable truth. The truth that we will all one day die.
Recognizing this cultural health and wellness focus for what it is at its core, an attempt to avoid facing our own mortality, can be a helpful place to begin separating ourselves from some of these beliefs we have around food being a cure-all for our health. And the reality is, that while making sure we get the variety of nutrients we need is important, no amount of vegetable cramming, healthy eating obsession is guaranteed to prevent illness or prolong our life. Eating a meal, (or meals even), that we deem less than perfect is also not a death sentence. Acknowledging these things can really help with taking away some of the pressure we may feel to eat only foods that we deem healthy.
Another practice that can be helpful is recognizing that what we hear is “healthy” changes on an almost daily basis. For example, one day wine is a health food, the next it will kill you. Recognizing that we could be doing everything in our power to eat as healthy as we could possibly be, follow all the latest nutrition guidelines, and still be given nothing but a steady stream of conflicting information, can take some of the power these constant influx of messages have on us away as well. This can make hearing about that latest miracle diet that is supposed to not only help you lose weight but also cure every illness you could ever think of a little easier to handle without finding ourselves getting sucked in to the diet trap. Diet culture can be incredibly sneaky. Being able to reality check the black and white beliefs we get handed about nutrition and exercise as well and really help us in eating in a more intuitive way.
Questions about dealing with these “but what about health?” thoughts or anything else eating disorder or food and body image realted? Feel free to get in touch!