Food is often out into two categories, good and bad, but food is not “good” or “bad.” Having these judgmental thoughts around food leads us to believe we are either “good” or “bad” for eating certain foods. This disordered eating pattern of thought leads us deeper into our disorders. I have been working a lot lately on seeing food as a neutral party which does not have a “good” or “bad” label attached. Here I share the importance of not judging food as good or bad for successful eating disorder recovery.
Trouble with Labeling Food as ‘Good’ Or ‘Bad’
When food is given a value or judgment, we begin to feel like we are that value for consuming it. We view kale as good and ice cream as bad which means if I eat kale I am a worthy person but if I eat ice cream I am a failure. Doesn’t this sound silly when laid out that way? As silly as it may be, I, and many others, struggle with this pattern of thought.
Throughout my recovery journey, I am learning that I should never place my worth on what food I am eating.
Learning to See Food as Neutral
Learning to see food as neutral translates to food not be rated or placed in boxes in our minds; it means food has no charge, whether it be positive or negative, food merely exists.
Seeing food as neither good nor bad takes tons of practice but it is absolutely possible to obtain. Each time your eating disorder makes you believe the food you are about to eat is “bad,” stop for a moment, breathe, and re-frame.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Why am I eating this food?
- Why should I deprive myself of the food my body is asking for?
- Are there any emotions I am experiencing that are causing me to base my worth on what I am eating?
Questions such as these can help you gain back control from your eating disordered mind. Remember, if we listen to the cues and desires of our body we are a lot less likely to engage in binging behavior.
When food no longer contains such a large charge to it and can be seen simply as the nourishment our body needs, you will feel even more freedom from your eating disorder.
Good luck. Breathe. You are enough no matter what you choose to eat.