The food police are bad cops. Really bad cops. All they want to do is make you feel bad for all your “bad” food decisions.
The food police are basically deep-seated diet rules that are burrowed so far into your brain that they subconsciously make you feel guilty for your food decisions. These cops are loud and they are not nice.
What’s even worse is that sometimes the food police can even come in the form of the people around you. People can get so consumed by their own food laws that they attack other people who break their rules!
Do these rules sound familiar?
- You’re not allowed to eat after 7 pm.
- You had pasta at lunch- no more grains for dinner.
- That was a lot of food, so I need to work out now.
- I feel hungry now, but it isn’t 6 pm yet and that is when I’m allowed to eat dinner.
- Muffins aren’t allowed. They have too much sugar.
- I deserve dessert tonight, I didn’t have it last night.
Those are food police laws that aren’t actual laws.
Diet culture is lying to you in case you weren’t aware.
How to challenge the food police.
Make observations, not judgements.
One misconception about intuitive eating is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Although there is some truth to that, the intent is not to give people liberty to completely ignore nutrition truths. There is meant to be freedom with food, but you should still be mindful.
So, it is okay to make food observations. It is okay to look at a plate and realize that there might not be any fruits or veggies. You know that your body feels better with those nutrients, so you might observe that having some later would be good for you.
It is not okay to make judgements about that same plate. You should not look at a plate that has no fruits or veggies and think,
“Wow. This is a lot of bad food. I’ll need to go home and work out and then only have fruits and vegetables for dinner. If I don’t, then I did a really bad job today with my diet.”
No. Just, no. That is a harsh judgement of that plate. All of the food on the plate still has nutrients that your body needs. Maybe you’re at a potluck with your coworkers and there were no fruits and veggies available.
Tell those bad, mean cops that you know there aren’t fruits and veggies right now, but that doesn’t mean you need to feel bad about it or be punished for it.
Create a new narrative, and carry it with you. Literally.
Like I said earlier, those food cops are mean and loud.
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by their rules being screamed in my head that I can’t think logically. So I write positive affirmations down that oppose the lies that the food police yell, and I stick them in my purse.
- If my body tells me that it is hungry, it is my responsibility to eat.
- I am allowed to honor my body by feeding it what it is craving right now.
- The time on the clock does not dictate when I am allowed to eat.
- I am learning to include foods that used to scare me.
- This is a process, and I am fighting to not feel guilty for what I eat.
- My body knows what it needs, and I am learning to trust what it says.
I don’t always pull my list out because I don’t really have to. I know the list is there, and it is my permission to fight the lies that the food police yell at me.
The reality is that you will never hear these messages anywhere in today’s society. You’ll always see, hear, and be told the very opposite.
We have to consciously fight to live in food neutrality.
See the process as a whole, instead of one isolated action.
“Nobody’s perfect. I gotta work it. Again and again, ’til I get it right.”
In the very words of our long, lost friend, Hannah Montana, you are not perfect.
Intuitive eating takes time and it takes practice. Honestly, your entire life is going to require food and it is a process.
What you ate that one time when you were 15 does not have a huge effect on you today, does it? No.
Challenge the food police by reminding them that their guilt-ridden accusations of this meal/food decision right now is not a huge deal. You have the rest of your life to balance it out.
The process with food is about balance. Maybe you observed that you had a lot of sweets yesterday because it was your sweet niece’s 1st birthday party. (SO FUN.) The bad cops are yelling at you for throwing your life down the toilet.
It is your job to kindly remind them that it doesn’t matter because you’re most likely not going to eat like that every day for the rest of your life. It will balance out, and nothing is lost with yesterday.
You had fun with your fam and enjoyed the crap outta that cake and ice cream.
This one might be the toughest, but it is also the most important.
Remember when I said that sometimes the people around us can stand in as food police? Well, here’s an opportunity to invite your friends into helping you. AND helping themselves.
Tell your friends about the ridiculous food rules that make you feel the most trapped and guilty when it comes to making food decisions.
Ask your friends for support and encouragement to verbally rebuke those lies out loud when all of you are together. Maybe show them your positive affirmations and ask them to remind you of those things if you ever seem to be fearful around situations with food.
Your friends love you. Help them love you by inviting them into this fight with you. You never know. Maybe you will all get to find freedom together.
And if you need more info, here’s another great article I found on how to fight the bad guys!