Processed foods cause a whole lot of diseases and aren’t good for your body.
The cholesterol in eggs makes it unhealthy.
You need to eat fruits and veggies at every meal.
When you eat fat, you get fat.
When you eat carbs, you get fat.
The food rules.
They are everywhere.
For many of you, you may have read those above rules, shrugged, and thought, “Eh, those are true. Sugar makes you fat. Don’t eat it. Processed food is awful for you. Don’t eat it.”
And while there may be slight instances of truth in some of the statements (trans fats aren’t the best for you), food is not always so black and white (eating a little bit of trans fats via packaged cookies once every month will not kill you).
No one food is entirely “good” or “bad”, and yet, we like to compartmentalize and label certain foods as such. Thus, the food rules.
The question remains, what then happens to a person who believes in these fabrications? When those rules are not steeped in science and when there is no good reason to believe them, the individual with a healthy relationship with food can quell those false ideas and see cakes and pizza and other “unhealthy” foods just as what they are: food. But when the anorexia, bulimic, or eating disordered mind hears these rules and believes in them (Don’t eat fat! It’ll make your thighs huge!), that’s when trouble begins.
Food becomes the enemy. Food becomes something to fear.
How does one combat this? The answer is two-fold.
- Write down all of the beliefs you have about food. Any and everything you think pertains to what you ingest and what food “does” to you (because in actuality, food helps you, well, live). After you write down those rules, read them aloud. Share them with your family and friends. Look up the scientific merit behind those ideas. Do those ideas sound plausible? Do those around you think they are actually true too? Is there research to back up the claims? If not, maybe those rules are false. One such rule I believed was that sugar was bad for you. Eat sugar? Get fat. But in reality, sugar is a carbohydrate, a necessary macronutrient to give one’s body energy to be active and function. Yes, there are some sugars that are more desirable than others, but sugar is sugar. Carbs are carbs. The body needs it to live. There is really no scientific backing to say that one can live for the rest of his life totally devoid of this macronutrient.
2. Get nutritional guidance to rectify some of the beliefs you have about food. Working with a person who understands the fallacies and truths of healthy eating is important–particularly an individual overcoming an eating disorder. For example, eating a variety of whole foods like fruits and vegetables is desirable for the general public. But for one recovering from anorexia, the fiber in those foods can lead to gastrointestinal distress, and contrary to what the majority of the public should eat, those at extremely low weights should consume more calorically-dense items like cookies and ice cream to gain weight. High volume foods are great for some but not for all. Individual circumstances necessitate individualized nutrition protocols, and working with a person who CAN create such a plan is of paramount importance.
Are you battling the food rules? What food rules do you have? Do you need guidance in separating food truths from food lies? Contact me, Lauren, at Zentai Health and Wellness for more information on how you can debunk many of these myths and live a life of true health and wellness.