Intuitive Eating Blog Series - Part 4: Challenge the food police

“Those fries are bad, choose the carrot sticks instead.”

“Sugar is toxic.”

“Are you sure you want THAT snack?”

Whether it’s a voice inside your head, an Instagram guru, or a colleague in the break room, the food police can be one tough crowd to deal with when working towards intuitive eating.

Say “no” to the diet bullies.

Challenging the food police has historically been one of the hardest intuitive eating principles for me. Coming from a very science-heavy nutrition background, it can be really hard to let go of what might make a food "good" or "bad," and stand up to the food police voice inside my head. At the same time, zooming out to look at the bigger picture, it has also allowed me to realize that some ideas I had about certain foods really didn't make much sense at all!

Like cottage cheese: I had convinced myself it had too much sodium and not enough calcium (compared to yogurt). But what else do I regularly like to eat?? All other types of cheese which also have a lot of sodium... so why the double standard?

Good freaking question.

Food rules are often pretty arbitrary, particularly when they dictate "eat this, not that," and demonize certain foods. Food rules also fail to look at what positive purpose a food can do for you - is that purpose simple pleasure? Is it quick energy on the go? Is it filling your body's need for a particular macronutrient or micronutrient?

Challenge the food police with a big fat “WHY?”

Coupled with a list of positive qualities about your food, this can take you leaps and bounds towards a healthier relationship with food.

So what does cottage cheese do for me? It gives me protein to fuel my morning or recover after a workout, and electrolytes to help maintain a good fluid balance in my body. It also tastes really good to me and has an interesting texture.

 (disclaimer: kale is great, I happen to like it a lot of the time. But if you don’t like it…. then say it for the food police in the back. KALE SUCKS.)

(disclaimer: kale is great, I happen to like it a lot of the time. But if you don’t like it…. then say it for the food police in the back. KALE SUCKS.)

If you need to, tell Susan in accounting that you really don’t give a crap about her diet. Tuning out those external food rules is crucial in being able to tune into your inner wisdom about what and how much to eat.

Want to dig a little deeper into this principle? Grab a copy of the original Intuitive Eating book, the Intuitive Eating workbook, and other positive nutrition books that will help you stand up to arbitrary food rules here.

Check back soon to see what services I’ll be offering too!

Use the anger and passion you have towards diet culture to challenge it. Funnel that energy into something that motivates you to change for the better. For your life, your friends’ lives, your partner or kids’ lives… busting the pattern of letting the food police infiltrate our minds can have an impact that lasts generations.