Stop Moralizing Food
This post is a difficult one to write - not because the content is difficult, but because I know breaking the belief may be.
How many times have you gone to eat something and subconsciously deemed it "good" or "bad" in your head? It's almost like our minds are split down the middle when it comes to food. One side is for foods that we deem acceptable to eat, the other for foods that are unacceptable. If you do this, it's normal. We've been programmed our entire lives to put food into one of two boxes. Just about everyone in your life may have contributed to this practice - yourself included. You're not a bad person if you do it, you're just human. But what if we stopped putting these meaningless labels on food? What if we realized that anything can be fuel if we look at it the right way, and foods themselves are neither good or bad?
Last weekend, my friends and I were going on a Saturday morning outing. I hadn't eaten breakfast, and knowing I had a pregnant mama and an out of town friend who might appreciate a treat, I stopped and grabbed some donuts for us. We enjoyed them on the way, and when we met a few other friends at our destination, one claimed that she had brought donuts for us, too. It had been a couple of hours since we ate, and we all sat at a picnic table and enjoyed what she brought. My past self? She would have obsessed over the fact that she was eating "bad" foods for 2 meals. Donuts were on the "Do Not Pass Go and Do Not Collect $100" list for a very long time in my life. My current self? Well, she was hungry. My head was hurting. I needed a little bit of sugar and some carbs to keep me going...and man, was it good. A donut is just a donut. It is not some crazy, unreasonable indulgence. Food is food - and ending the need to categorize every single item I consumed has been liberating.
I realize this is a hard belief to break, but it's possible. When you go to eat something, don't attach emotion or morals to it. See it for what it really is, and if it helps, understand the nutrients in that food that are going to keep your body going. This practice really helped me. For example, if you eat pizza, don't place it in your head's favorite "Bad Food!" box. When the red flags go up in your subconscious, break it down: the pizza has carbs in the crust, protein in the cheese, and sugars in the sauce - each serving a direct purpose in your body. Just remember, although helpful, you don't even need this practice to justify eating whatever you want to. It's just a beginner starting point.
To round this out, the same concept goes for foods you consider "good." Sure, some foods have different nutrients and differing levels of how they can benefit your body, as well as differences in the ways those foods can make you feel, but one food is not inherently better than another. It's just different, and we need to actively work to understand that. A salad is not "better" than a cookie.
As I get a little long-winded here, I'll end by urging you to start demoralizing foods. It takes a little practice, and requires a period of time where you need to be aware of your thoughts as you eat something. Once you're aware, then you can change the thoughts. Once you change the thoughts, you grow into them - and eating becomes easier than it ever was.