“good” and “bad” foods

One of the biggest challenges that’s come up for me since quitting dieting is shifting the belief that food is either “bad” or “good”.

It’s easy to categorize food this way if we are looking at it through the lens of dieting.

Dieting says:

Eat a lot of this. Don’t eat that. DEFINITELY stay away from that.

This food is BAD, this food is GOOD.

SO, let’s talk about morality and break down this belief.

The official definition of morality as per google is:

  1. principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

2. a particular system of values and principles of conduct.

3. the extent to which an action is right or wrong.

So, in reference to the above definition, food in and of itself cannot be moral or immoral.

It’s not alive, it can’t make a distinction between right or wrong, good or bad behavior, it can’t have values, it can’t act wrong or right.

So already that we can see there is solid evidence that my belief wasn’t true logically, even though emotionally it felt VERY REAL for me and very true for me.

Here’s the interesting part..

What we tend to do (i’m generalizing here, this may or may not apply to you) is see ourselves as being moral or immoral, “good” or “bad” depending on the foods we choose.

For me, I was immoral or “bad”, when I would eat greasy foods, ice-cream, chocolate, burgers — foods that were high in carbs and fat and had a lot of calories.

And I was moral and “good” when I ate eat lean meats, vegetables, salad.

But was I being good or bad?

Our choice around what we eat is SUBJECTIVE.

There is no right or wrong in our food choices, though people may try to project that belief onto us.

Advertising does this a lot.

“Guilt free pizza”

“You ate so good during the week, indulge yourself this weekend”

It is 100% up to you what you choose to eat and it doesn’t mean you are a good or bad person. It has nothing to do with who you are as a person.

You can eat KFC for the rest of your life and it still wouldn’t make you immoral or “bad”.

I used to feel a lot of guilt around eating “bad” food, but me feeling guilty didn’t mean I WAS guilty or I had done something wrong.

This is the distinction, let me be clear here. This is super important.

You FEELING bad for eating particular foods does not mean that you ARE bad.

You feeling guilt or shame for eating particular foods does not mean that you are guilty.

I encourage you to contemplate, even write down a list of the foods you consider to be “bad”, foods you may feel guilty for eating, that bring up anxiety, or that you tend to stay away from because you think they will make you fat or that they are going to cause damage to your body.

Think about where you learned that those particular foods were bad.

Was it a diet that you were on that shunned this particular food?

Was it a food that you weren’t allowed to eat as a child?

Did your friends tend to stay away from those foods, so you did the same?

Did you read an article on the internet that said this food was damaging to the body?

Paying attention to the thoughts that come up around food, bringing conscious awareness to what beliefs are attached to those thoughts, is a great first step to shifting unwanted behaviors.