Trigger warning: Diet culture
As Halloween and the season of holidays and celebrations approach, the prevalence of diet culture language goes up. Toxic comments like: “It’s not healthy.” “I don’t workout enough to eat that.” “There’s so much sugar.” “You have so much will power.” Etc, start to seep into every conversation.
I believe, most people don’t even realize what they are saying or notice the impact these statements can have on those around them. Diets and binary thinking around health and food are so ingrained in our society that it takes a lot of intentional unlearning to identify all the broken thought processes.
I’m here to tell you, as your favorite queer fitness coach, there is no such thing as healthy or unhealthy! Health is a multi-faceted continuum! When it comes to food there is more or less nutritious, more or less satisfying etc. It is a continuum that implies even candy, yes candy, has nutrients in it.
We need sugar to thrive. It is the fuel of our brain and it energizes our muscles. There is a reason we all love and crave sugar! We also crave human connection, and sharing food over the holidays is a way to connect.
Today, I want to talk about giving yourself unconditional permission to eat, to let the food rules go and listen to your desires and needs. I want you to eat the candy when you want, and to not have to defend your decision.
Research has shown that restrictions and diets don’t work because restriction increases cravings.
As the human species was developing, sugar and food weren’t as readily available so those with brains wired to prioritize eating when supplies were short were more likely to survive. When we restrict our sugar or food intake it turns on these survival systems. It makes us feel like we need it now and limits our ability to pay attention to our wants.
Our brain is wired to prioritize survival. On the other hand, when our body knows that we are safe and our needs are met, it can stop obsessing.
When we take restrictions away and give ourselves permission to eat, it allows the body to stabilize our cravings. It allows your brain to relax and not act like this is your one and only opportunity to get food.
We know the brain can stop obsessing over needs when they are met because we experience it in other facets of our lives.
For example, if you are a person who has secure access to a warm dry place to sleep, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about it. Your brain is free to think about other things and you can go home and enjoy the house you have.
It is possible to build a similar relationship with food, but it takes practice and unlearning and maybe help from a professional. (If you are looking for a body affirming nutritionist, we highly recommend Liberating Jasper!)
Liberation from diet culture takes time and support! We are an anti-diet, body-affirming fitness facility. We will never push food rules on you. We are here to meet you where you are, to support you, educate, and help you grow into your best self.
We are all on different steps on this journey, but if you are feeling up to it, I would like to challenge you this Halloween to identify some food rules and let one go. 🎃 🍭