We are constantly bombarded with messages about how eating healthy cures all ills. Have a health problem? Eat this way or avoid this food, and you will be completely cured is the underlying message of so much of what we hear about food and how it relates to our health. This can add this air of desperation to the idea of wanting to “eat healthy”. It becomes not just something that helps us feel our best, it becomes something we feel we have to do for our health. This can add to our feelings of failure when we inevitably don’t follow these “rules” we’ve created perfectly. Our thoughts then tend to become about “I’m not doing enough to cure X health issue”.
This is a hard mentality to change, because there is a bit of truth to this belief. Yes, the food we eat can have an impact on our health. That said, food is not the sole determiner of health. In fact, food plays a relatively small role in our health, in comparison to all the other factors out there that impact health. No one food choice is going to cure anything, or in contrast, hugely negative impact your health. We can gently consider nutrition, but gentle is the key word. Nutrition is not the end all be all, and when we put too much emphasis on it, it leads to feeling restricted, binging, and all the other behaviors we are looking to get away from as we work towards eating more intuitively.
The reality is that if we want to improve our relationship with food, unlearning some of these health related beliefs needs to be part of the journey. Anytime we put too much focus on the food, that new, healthier, relationship with our body we are developing will suffer. Knowing this and beginning to develop some awareness around where we are at in this balance is incredibly helpful, because it can help us right ourselves more quickly when we start to feel off kilter. Bottomline, making nutrition a much lower priority then it likely has been previously in our lives, particularly in the beginning of our intuitive eating journey is a huge part of the process.
Questions about the idea of gentle nutrition or anything else food/body image/eating disorder related? Feel free to get in touch!