How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been so bad,” only to turn around and tell you about what they have been eating?
It’s funny how immune to this type of language we have become. It’s commonplace for people to talk about themselves in terms of good or bad, only to be referencing their diet. As though the idea that what we are eating has some level of morality, and defines how valuable we are as humans.
It’s insane when you think about it that way, yet I think it’s probably true that a large majority of people think and feel this way.
When I was caught up in the dieting cycle, I would often fall prey to thinking that what I ate defined my personal worth.
Blindly, I played into the idea that somehow, I could control my worthiness quota by controlling what I did or did not put into my body. If I ate “healthy” (which usually was more about calories and weight than it was about health at all), I was “good.” I felt good. I felt empowered and in control of things.
But inevitably, as is always the case, I had a moment of “weakness” where the bad food was just too tempting. I fell victim to the seduction of the sweets or savory treat that quite frankly, I just wanted to eat.
You know what happens next. Something arbitrary became personal. I felt bad because I ate “bad.” It was a set up from the start. If you have ever dieted, you know this feeling. It’s an awful cycle, and the truth is, it is all in our heads.
Here is the truth about food:
1. Food Has No Intrinsic Value – Food is neither good nor bad. It is neutral. “Good” and “Bad” are subjective values placed on things by us. We control how we see this. The food that you label bad would be a most precious thing to you if you found yourself in a famine, starving. Good and Bad are yours to define. Otherwise, an apple is only an apple.
2. Your Worth Can Never Be Changed By What You Put Into Your Body - No matter how many burgers and fries you eat, your worth will not change. You could do a three day detox cleanse, and yep, you guessed it, your value as a human won’t shift. The two things are as unrelated as your shoe size and your credit score. You focusing on this is merely a distraction.
3. It Is a Wild Goose Chase – so many of us are obsessed with food and weight. It is one of the most common forms of mass cultural hypnosis that I see in our world. For reasons that are many (and would take another article to explore), we have shifted our focus from who we are as people, to how we present ourselves as people. It’s as though the world is more concerned with the cars we are driving, than the drivers who are driving them.
If you are caught up in believing that food defines your worth, changing your belief around food, and what it means is a good place to start healing. Try to see food as neutral, and ask yourself simply how that particular food would make your body feel if you ate it. See what your response is. It might surprise you.
If you find yourself using the “good” and “bad” language with food, gently try to create awareness around changing that. Eradicating good/bad talk helps us see things with more objectivity.
And lastly, just try to always remember that your worth as a human can’t be changed by your food choices. You are so much more than a daily intake of calories or a number on a scale. Believing this is your first step towards freedom from the Diet Mindset, and you deserve to break free from the limitations dieting creates.