Breaking Up with Diet Culture: Swipe Right on Mindful Eating

Wouldn’t you prefer your meals without the side helping of guilt, shame and judgment?

By: Chef Dana 

It’s a non-negotiable that humxn bodies run on food and water. But somewhere in the societal noise this fundamental has gotten fogged up with other narratives:  Food as status.

The ethical and societal repercussions of how humxns source our food. Food as a psychological comforter. Food’s relationship with weight loss/gain.  It’s a lot. And all that buzz can create toxic relationships with food. And toxic relationships with our bodies.

Wouldn’t you prefer your meals without the side helping of guilt, shame and judgment?

I’m not here for restrictive eating plans but rather place a lot of worth in the concept of Intuitive Eating as coined by dieticians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Intuitive Eating is about eating for nourishment, and satisfaction; learning how to take care of your body while being in tune with its physical and psychological needs.

The point here is to introduce mindfulness into the relationship you have with food and your body.

If you’re hungry; eat. When you’re full; stop.  If you’re craving a cookie, but eat a stalk of broccoli instead, you’re just going to still want a cookie and resent that broccoli for not fulfilling that craving. You may even end up bingeing the whole pack of cookies (and two slices of pizza) to make up for the restrictive behaviour that turned that cookie craving obsessive. Eat vegetables because they give your body nutrients not because diet culture told you that veggies will maintain a weight ideal. If your body feels lethargic and fatigued, perhaps it is asking for sugars. In some situations that can be satisfied with a bowl of cut fruit, and sometimes it calls for a soda.

Your body knows what it needs to function as its best. Your responsibility is to listen and feed those needs.

Holding onto the simplicity of this perspective is a lifelong relearning. With it comes a freedom to give your body food for fuel’s sake and can eliminate the negative self-talk that comes from language like ‘cheat meals’ and ‘detox diets’. Giving your body fuel isn’t toxic or cheating. Your choices don’t have to be either. Does this mean you shouldn’t bulk up, tone down, firm up or get that booty popping? Of course not, but it puts honouring your body’s needs at the forefront of your eating habits and in doing so, forces you to make informed healthy choices. As we’re coming out of a wintery lockdown, you might be feeling the urge to eat comfort food. It’s okay to give your body what it wants. 

Like any good relationship, you’ve got to be willing to listen.


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