When we’ve been in the diet world for some time, our brains become trained to think of food as good and bad.

Broccoli? Good

Cake? Bad

Salad? Good

Bread? Bad

When we’re working to stop dieting, it can be insanely challenging to train our brains to stop defaulting into thinking of food as good and bad.

 

Here are 3 tips to help:

 

1. Explore using different words.

The way we phrase something can make a big difference in how we feel about it.

If you say, “I can’t believe I ate bread and butter, it’s so bad”, it immediately makes you feel bad about yourself!

So instead of “good” and “bad”, see if you can use any of the following:

  • Nourishing
  • Balancing
  • Energizing
  • Nutritious
  • Nurturing
  • Sustaining
  • Healthful

Thinking in terms of “good and bad” only makes us feel terrible about ourselves and our eating habits.

It keeps us stuck in that “all or nothing” mindset and makes us think we’re failures for being bad.

The list of words don’t have as much “baggage” as good and bad. They feel softer and more descriptive instead of judgmental.

So instead of 2 pieces of cake being “bad” for you, can you reframe it to say “it isn’t as energizing or satisfying to eat 2 pieces of cake for dinner”?

A ripe tomato and mozzarella salad may feel more balancing than ice cream.

Your mom’s homemade mac and cheese may taste more satisfying than a boxed version.

A turkey sandwich may feel more sustaining then a salad for lunch.

2. Get curious about what is working for YOU.

Carbs may feel energizing to you and heavy to someone else.

Caffeine may make you jittery but keep someone else alert.

Sugar may feel fine for you in moderation but to someone else it spikes their blood sugar too fast.

There is no right or wrong.

There’s just what works or doesn’t work for YOU and your body.

3. Think of it as a re-learning process. 

When you stop dieting, you begin the process of thinking about food in a new way.

The old way of counting, weighing, measuring, and labeling doesn’t work for us.

So we explore a new way of being with food.

This is a process of unlearning that’s not black and white.

We’re not just machines and eat only kale smoothies and salads.

Food is complex. And so is our relationship to it.

You are on this path, so be gentle with yourself as you “un-learn” that this is good and that is bad.

You’re not only unlearning all the stuff that doesn’t serve you, but you’re re-learning what DOES!

That may take a minute 🙂

So see if when you default back into the “oh that’s good, I should have that food”, catch yourself and reframe it!

This builds a new habit and a new muscle around how you see food.

 

Your Turn: 

What is one way you want to reframe seeing food as “good” and “bad”? Comment below 🙂