Stop Demonising Food

We need to stop demonising food, it’s not healthy. There’s no such thing as bad food, unless it actually poisons you or you’re allergic to it. There are foods low in nutrients and high in calories, but they’re not evil. Calling foods bad attaches negative emotions to them, and that can damage someone’s progress. We’re much better off telling people what would be more beneficial for them, and assuring them that the occasional deviation from the path, isn’t going to ruin everything.

The term comfort food exists for a reason, some people might turn to something as an occasional pick-me-up, and that can keep them going. But when they’re forced to think negatively about that, you’re giving them no outlet, no wiggle room. It becomes all or nothing, there’s only one way to achieve your goal, and if you don’t stick militarily to it, you will fail. So I had a 700 calorie burger instead of my 700 calorie meal, it made me feel better, gave me a break from a strict diet, it actually helps me keep on track, because I don’t have to go cold turkey. And from a calorific point of view, it hasn’t really affected my weight loss programme at all. But now, that’s a bad food, it’s naughty. Now I’m beating myself up, now I feel like I’ve messed up, I’ve fallen off the wagon, and what’s the point of it all!?! Am I ever going to be able to enjoy food again!?! And then, because of those negative connotations they attached to food, this person doesn’t succeed. That’s not only a poisonous mindset for someone to be in, it’s just plain false.

Through the years the media has vilified various foods, labelling them the “cause” of obesity, from fat, the butter/margarine wars, carbs, gluten, and now poor old sugar. I think meat’s next on the list by the way. The funny thing is though, throughout all these attacks obesity has continued to rise. That’s weird isn’t it? Surely, if one of them was truly the cause, then obesity would have fallen at some stage? But it hasn’t, because for some unknown reason, they refuse to address the real problem; the number of calories you’re eating. Obesity is growing, because people are eating more calories than they’re burning. That’s it really, it’s a simple as that. And you might think you’re not, but that’s part of the problem. Studies have shown that people constantly underestimate how much they’re eating, sometimes subconsciously, sometimes forgetting the little snacks, sometimes for the reason I’m discussing, not wanting to count the “bad” foods. We need to teach people that it’s a numbers game, it’s about the amount, not the type of food. Now if you feel better by cutting something out, or you’ve found it helps you lose weight, then go for it. We’re all individual, with our individual tastes and needs, but don’t ever think that a specific food is the cause of your obesity, unless it’s because you’re eating too much of it. Of course, I’m not necessarily saying eat those types of food all the time, moderation is important for anything. The number of calories defines your weight, but the quality of your food defines how well your body operates. Ideally, a healthy balance of quality and enjoyment with an eye on your calories, and then you should be covering all bases.

You’re not the way you are, because of [insert current “bad” food here]. Enjoy your food, just be careful about eating too much of it, and not getting enough nutrient rich food in your diet. There isn’t one strict way to achieve. When you narrow the path people have to follow, you make it a lot more difficult for them to stay on it. Food is fuel, help people find the best way for them.

Thanks for listening, and I’ll be back again next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer