This dialogue ….”I ate a donut and feel bad that I ate it,” can create a negative association with food and reinforce bad feelings about yourself. In some situations, these bad feelings can lead people to a) consider ‘bad’ foods forbidden thus making them even more desirable and /or b) entice people to feel they need to reward or comfort themselves with food. This can be a vicious cycle. Indeed, this negative dialogue or self-talk rarely has any positive impact on food intake.
So, what can you do? If you find that you are thinking negative thoughts about your food choices or adherence to a diet:
- Recognize when you have these negative ideas (said out loud or thought to yourself) and remind yourself that you are a good person. The foods you eat do not make you bad or good!
- Remind yourself that eating well is a process and does not demand perfection. In fact, it is more about progress than following a diet perfectly.
- Extend yourself some kindness. If someone spoke to your friend negatively, you would empathize with them and understand how hurt they must feel. So, remember, be good to you!
- Find non-food ways to treat yourself. Go on a walk, take a bath, sing or listen to music, text a friend, get or give a hug to a loved one or pet, color a picture, dance…you get the idea.
While eating well is admirable, we all come to that goal from different places and use different approaches. Positive achievement looks different for every person and no one should feel bad for putting forth an effort and not reaching perfection.
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
Thinking about including more whole foods in your intake? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Private Nutrition Services are available for BIG Members (@ 30% discount) and the Community. They are listed here.