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You are not “bad” for eating your “guilty pleasure”













Wow so many labels we put on ourselves and food and what we eat, how we eat, the exercise we do or don’t do. So many labels.

One of the areas I cover with clients in helping them ditch the diet mentality and learn to trust their body instead, is the language we use around food and our bodies. It’s so pervasive in our culture, we learn it from a young age and so is a normal part of our conversations. Not only that but it’s in the media, health professionals, medics all use certain language to help the population achieve health and wellness but what if the language they are using is doing more harm than good.

The more I become aware of this I see how prevalent it is. Cook books talk about treats, even the health care system talk about how often we should have treats. We call ourselves naughty for having “bad” food.

We label ourselves and the food.

I am bad for eating chocolate.

Cake is a bad food, a syn (sin).

I am so weak for eating all those calories. You beat yourself up for overeating or punish yourself by under-eating. We talk about food as if it’s a crime and we need to be punished for our behavior.

We constantly comment on people’s appearance, what they eat, why they are eating. Oh you’ve lost weight or oh have you put on a bit of weight or you’re not eating are you on a diet? We see people that are overweight and comment on what they are eating or people that are underweight and assume they are not eating enough. We talk about the bikini body and going on another diet to fit into a bikini for summer or the little black dress for the Christmas party season. What’s a bikini body anyway? Anyone can wear a bikini or a little black dress if your they want to, unless of course you’re just not into bikini’s or little black dress’s. You can wear whatever you like with the body you have.

When will we just see food as food.

Neither good nor bad, guilty or a treat, naughty or nice, a reward at the end of a long day, a treat to have in front of tv after a stressful day at work.

When you let go of the labels and the rules around food and ditch the diet culture and start to trust your body and what she needs you begin to change your language around food. Instead of labeling things as good or bad and then feeling guilty you have freedom to eat as you please, you free up so much time and energy to just get on with living your life instead of constantly obsessing about what to eat, what not to eat and how you look.

Start to notice the language you use to describe how you eat, what you eat and who you are being when you eat or choose not to. What are you saying to yourself? Are you telling yourself this food is fattening or I am so weak I can’t help it? The words and thoughts you use send powerful messages to your subconscious and start to create belief patterns that then re-enforce this way of thinking. That’s why it’s so hard to change your habits because they are so ingrained in your subconscious. But when you bring awareness and shed light on your patterns and behaviors then you can being to change them, then you can being to use different words, phrases, you can talk to yourself differently, you can begin to see food as neutral, something you eat for health, happiness, nourishment and social reasons. You can begin to tune into how food feels for you, does it energise you or drain you, are you really mindful and enjoying what you are eating?


Try this:

  1. Notice how you talk about food – good or bad and how you talk about yourself and your eating.
  2. Notice how others talk about food and eating and body image.
  3. Does it feel good in your body or are you in your head telling stories.
  4. Once you become aware you can then start to change your language around food and yourself and set up new positive beliefs and habits that promote health, happiness and inner confidence in how you choose to take care of your body.





Photo by Luísa Schetinger on Unsplash

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