Challenging the food police
They are the rule enforcing, guilt provoking, food supervisors that are on patrol 24/7 and seemingly are available with or without invitation at any moment of any day.
They are the Food Police, and I can tell you straight off the bat that they are corupt. The lot of them. Even the ones that are just 'looking out for your health'.
The enforcement most likely comes from loved ones, from your nearest and dearest, but don't be surprised if it comes from complete strangers, straight out of left field.
We all have food rules but for the chronic dieters, past and present, you will probably have more rules than most.
"Fruit is good, but not to much, actually avoid grapes, pineapple and bananas because they are high sugar. Veggie's are good, but make sure you pick the right ones. The ones that aren’t starchy or actually considered a carb not a veggie."
These food rules get anchored into our psyche. They become like a religion and let’s face it….. nobody likes a sinner.
The food po po get particularly insistent around the holidays where food and alcohol is plentiful and the emotions are running high.
“Should you really be eating that’
“How much fat/carbohydrate/salt is in each serve, well in that case I'll have an 1/8 of a serve.”
“I’m being good today, no cake for me thanks”
“I only eat XYZ , it's for my health”
“Darling no more….., you have had enough”
Sound familiar? Maybe from a concerned family member, a wife or an aunt. Nothing like a grandparent to remind you of how that bread will make you fat.
But the good to do family and friends aren't the only police on patrol.
What about the internal food police. The thoughts and rules that you have around eating and food. These ones are often more problematic because there is no off switch. Those rules are on a loop in your mind and can be hard to break away from.
Maybe you think you should avoid carbs after 5pm or maybe you can only eat chocolate if you have been for a run. We develop an internal dialogue of food rules as children (no dessert until your plate is clean, one serve is enough for a small child, etc etc) and that dialogue expands as we get older. We develop new rules with each diet attempt and they stick around like a bad smell. It’s not until we recognise them and start challenging them that we can realise the freedom, when food, is just food.
Food is not good and food is not bad. Food didn’t buy you flowers and it didn’t steal your car. Food is food.
Of course a carrot and a piece of carrot cake are not nutritionally equal. What we want to do is work towards them being emotionally equal.
The funny thing about the food police is that they truly think they are being helpful.
That they are looking out for your best interests and promoting health.
What is fascinating about nutrition science is that it is continually evolving. For all the studies you can find reporting the health benefits of coconut oil, you can find the same amount of studies listing why coconut oil is devils blood. Is plant based the most healthy way to eat? Some scholars argue yes and others put up some pretty convincing evidence why it’s not the bees knees.
It’s important to realise this because this science is where the food police get their power. These studies and papers and research shape our ideas about what we should or shouldn’t eat.
Sugar has been in the spotlight of late. Sugar is not evil. Like most things, it’s effects are dose dependent. Yes it’s concerning that there is a shite load of sugar in almost all processed foods, but’s whats more concerning to me is the demonised label it’s been given?
Because it directly affects the relationship we have with food. The guilt and shame associated with eating certain foods keeps you in the binge restrict mindset. Food is rarely the problem, it’s the relationship with food that causes problems. If you are bound by rules of food and rules of eating, you cannot tune into what YOUR body needs.
So I encourage you to challenge those food police when they reveal themselves. Who says sugar is bad? Who says gluten is bad for me? And why?
Rather than relying on everyone else to tell you what you should or should't be eating, how about tuning into what your body wants and needs? If you eat half a kilo of sugar each day, chances are you won't feel so crash hot, but how about reconnecting with that in your own body not because some guy told you its evil.
Get back in the drivers seat of your well-being.
As NWA rapped so eloquently back in 1988….F&*k the Police.
It’s your body, it’s your call.
This is Principle 4 of Intuitive Eating. If you haven’t read it yet, seriously you will not regret the decision to read it.
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