But I used to.
My food choices were often based on their health value. No, I didn’t always eat for health, but I mostly did.
And now I don’t.
If you have a black and white thinking tendency - many people do - you’re probably thinking “this means she doesn’t care about her health and eats all the ‘bad’ foods”.
But that’s not it either.
Not making food choices based on health doesn’t mean not caring about health. I care about my health. So much so that I made a decision a few months ago to cut back on my drinking.
I won’t say either that my food choices are purely based on pleasure and satisfaction, as nice as that sounds. They’re not. I often eat ‘whatever I can find’, like for lunch, because I know I have to eat, I’m busy doing other things, running around, working on my biz, working at my job, and food pleasure isn't my priority.
My food choices are, however, often based on satisfaction. Satisfaction is having the foods you desire at any given moment. It could be an apple in the middle of the day, a desire for steak and potatoes for dinner, or soup and toast, a piece of chocolate for dessert, a glass of cold juice when you’re hot and thirsty.
But I don’t choose to eat or not eat foods based on their 'health' value.
Because, since becoming an intuitive eater, for one, I understand that health is SO MUCH MORE than the food we eat.
So much more.
And I cut back on drinking.
Two, I’m just not interested in eating ‘for health’. The seed of food and health obsession was planted in my brain since doing a low-fat diet at the age of 18.
Oh the harms of dieting…so many of them!
Breaking-free from health obsession was good for my mental health.
And being obsessed with health does not equate to being healthy.
Three, I choose to no longer demonize or fear foods like white flour, sugar, or processed foods. If I feel like having it, great. And if not, great. No more mental ping-pong. Should I have some fries? Or shouldn’t I? I’m going to feel so gross if I do. Maybe I shouldn’t. Ok I won’t. Maybe just one. Oh shoot.
I eat and enjoy the same foods I always have, with a few exceptions. For example, I got sick of raw nuts and barely eat them now, and I've also started drinking gingerale and soda water more often. Pretty often. Better than alcohol. For me anyway.
An important component of intuitive eating is being aware of and in-tune with our body…its messages and sensations. Many of us have lost the ability to fully listen to our body, and ‘hear’ what it’s saying or asking for. This is something we work on in intuitive eating coaching.
Some people go to the other extreme and hyper-focus on their body. But this often leads to experiencing the 'nocebo' effect, which is feeling symptoms because you expect to (i.e. from eating gluten or sugar). This is also a form of disconnection from body. It doesn't mean that the symptoms aren't real, they may very well be, but there's a fine line.
But what most of us do know is that we want to feel good, have energy, be able to move through our day feeling well, and so on. And food can help us do that. Not all foods make us feel great all of the time. If I had a chocolate bar for breakfast, I’d have an energy crash and be hungry mid-morning. Chocolate is not a food I desire or want first thing in the morning. Oatmeal or toast with peanut/nut butter and some fruit satisfies me and makes me feel good. A cookie or chocolate after lunch or dinner satisfies me, and no, it doesn’t give me an energy crash.
I swapped food and health obsession for body attunement (how my body feels)...and for peace of mind.
I care about myself and my health.
And I no longer feel the need to eat "for health”.