Fire the Food Police (and eat what you want!)
Who can you trust for nutrition advice? Spend an hour browsing nutrition and food blogs, and you’ll end up extremely confused. Seriously, you’ll be scared to eat anything at the end.
- The vegans and PETA will tell you that eating animals is repulsive and will kill you.
- The strict Paleo dieters will let you know we’re not meant to eat any grains, legumes, sugar, or gluten.
- The low-carb community will tell you that carbs are extremely damaging to health.
- The raw vegan dieters will proclaim that only raw, live food has the enzymes we need for optimal health.
I could go on for hours on all the different dietary approaches, but all I have to say is:
"Different approaches work for different people. You have to find what works for YOU."
Of course, there are well-educated professionals that encourage a vegan or Paleo diet but also encourage following the 80/20, balanced approach to nutrition. The problem is those on the internet who act as the “food police,” and will criticize you on every slip-up you have.
Many people think dietitians are the “food police,” and I’ve had people tell me to look away when they’re enjoying a bowl of ice cream. Believe me, I am not judging what you’re eating. I'm the one eating ice cream along with you.
It’s time to fire the food police.
The food police can live in your mind, or come from others’ judging comments.
Your inner food police are those thoughts that pop up when you’re craving a “bad” food. Have you ever wanted a piece of chocolate but didn't want to "ruin your diet?" Or, maybe you let yourself have it because you're been "so good today."
The external food police are your friends, family, or people leaving comments online about the food you eat. They can be well-meaning like, or just plain hurtful like, “You’re eating another cookie? No wonder you can’t lose weight.”
It’s much easier to make these comments online where you aren’t face-to-face with the person. The truth is, well-meaning or not, these can hurt. You don’t know what the person on the other side is going through. They may be struggling with overeating, an eating disorder, or are just trying to get healthy, then they are brought down by comments that imply they’re not doing well enough.
How can you fight back against the food police?
- Take the high road & ignore it. Simply ignore what the person is saying. Maybe they made a comment to try to argue with you. If you don’t respond, they can’t argue back. If you have a blog or social media account, you have the right to delete these negative comments.
- Respond later. You may choose to respond. When you first hear or read the comment, you may rightfully feel angry or upset. If you choose to respond, come back to the comment in a day. Respond in a positive manner such as, “I personally have found that taking a balanced approach to my diet works best. I choose to eat my favorite type of chocolate chip cookie on occasion. I hope you find what works best for you.”
- Try not to internalize the comment. Remember, you know your body best. Find a stress management technique to release any negativity you feel from that comment, like yoga, meditation, or taking a walk.
- Just eat what you want. Nutrition gurus can be very persuasive for or against one style of eating. Keep in mind they may write controversial blog posts or take things to the extreme to get you to read it. No one wants to hear that it's all about slow, steady changes and a balanced approach. Instead, just focus on eating real food that makes you feel good most of the time, and include pleasurable foods into your diet on occasion. Follow the 80/20 rule.
The food police are fired, so take charge of your body and nutrition.
Who can you trust for nutrition advice?
You can listen to and read other nutrition and health blogs because they do offer good information and delicious recipes, but be cautious of someone telling you what you MUST eat to be healthy. You know your body best. The foods you like and can tolerate well may change with life. It's okay. Pay attention to how food affects your body and mind, and eat the real foods that make you feel amazing.
Have you ever had to deal with the "food police?"
I'd love to hear from you, so share below!