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Friday, June 25, 2010

Exploring Your Beliefs About Food

I find that people have very interesting ideas about how food works in their lives, and what they expect to be able to change about their relationship with food. Some of my clients tell me that they want to have perfect “control” over food, and NEVER eat anything they consider unhealthy. And they feel really badly about themselves when they don’t follow this rule. I hear things like “I was eating really healthy, and then I had that cake and that just ruined everything.”

Is this realistic? Is anyone absolutely perfect about what they eat? I think the answers to these questions is NO. And what would be a perfect, healthy diet, anyway? Some people think that never eating sweets or junk food or too much fat or sugar makes for a perfect diet. Others believe that never eating between meals makes for perfection. I once heard Oprah say that being hungry made her happy because she could feel the fat being sucked out of her thighs. And, of course, we need lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains to be perfect. So many rules!

Now, remember that I am a dietitian, and it’s true that fruits, veggies and whole grains are a part of a healthy, balanced diet. But such a diet also includes one’s favorite less healthy foods, in moderation, and in balance with these basics of a good diet. Any most important, eating what you really, really want to be eating is most important. If you are allowed those “forbidden” foods, they lose their power, and take their place as part of your repertoire of possible foods.