What do you think of when you look at this picture?
Birthdays and celebrations or calories, fat and guilt? Are you deciding whether its healthy or unhealthy or maybe you intrinsically know that answer?
What if I told you that it’s not unhealthy, and its not healthy. It’s just cake. And it’s darn good cake. You can grab the recipe here.
Assigning labels to foods, yes even ones as seemingly benign as ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’, means we are changing the way we thinking and feel about food. “Unhealthy” foods suddenly become something that we *shouldn’t* be eating, be eating only occasionally or “watching our portion sizes” when we do eat them. This shifts our relationships with these foods and not in a good way.
When I’m discussing a client’s diet there’s always an awkward pause and a side long glance when it comes to the client admitting how often they have cake or beer and how much they consume in one sitting.
The thing is, I don’t care about the healthfulness of individual foods in your diet. I’m more interested in the overall quality of your diet (are you getting enough energy, are your bowels functioning optimally, could that tired feeling be down to a low iron intake), your eating patterns (are you giving yourself the opportunity to eating regular meals, are you prioritizing eating when you feel hungry) and whether you trust yourself to know when you are hungry and when you’re full and whether non-hungry eating is a problem for you.
*Never* having sweets and always depriving yourself of foods that you actually want to eat can be an unhealthy practice just as always having sometimes food can be. We eat for many more reasons that for fuel and its actually completely normal to eat a wide variety of foods.
Judging someone’s whole diet by focusing on sugar, or fat or “junk” means we’re missing the big picture.
That’s something else that I’m not doing when we’re talking about what you eat: judging you. You shouldn’t have to admit to eating food that is less than perfectly healthy like you’ve committed a crime. You haven’t. You’re simply living and eating a wide variety of foods is a part of that.