Find Your Nurturing Voice! Tune Out The Food Police

In last week’s blog post, “Honing In On Hunger,” we discussed the different signs between emotional hunger, hunger that is triggered from anxious feelings; and physical hunger, hunger that is recognized in the stomach from sensations like rumbles, growls, etc. The key concept of last week’s blog was for individuals to differentiate between hunger signs in essence to prevent the act of overeating and binging on foods that may later cause feelings of regret. Moreover, once physical hunger is deciphered, the question is, “What to eat now?”

The answer is simple AND complex; eat what you want. Your decision to eat was based on a conscious thought process, and not on intuition, so eat what you want, and stop when you’re full. Easy to say, but not so easy to do, right? That’s probably because of little voices inside your head saying, “Eat this, not that” while justifying to yourself this is “good” and that is “bad.” Believe it or not, we all have subconscious thoughts that view certain foods as good and other foods as bad. Many people are riddled with guilt after eating foods that they enjoy. According to Evelyn Tribole MS, RD and Elyse Resch MS, RD, FADA, authors of Intuitive Eating, “A random survey of 2,075 adults showed that 45% of adults reported feeling guilt after eating foods they like.” These perceptions are influenced from what our culture, social media, parents, “Dr. Diet-know-it-alls” and food informants have told us is healthy or unhealthy. Common misconceptions include beliefs of “don’t eat after 7:00 PM or you’ll gain weight”, “chocolate is bad”, “ice cream is fattening”, or “carbohydrates are evil,” and more. Self-talk and thoughts that demonize certain foods are called cognitive distortions, or “Food Police” voices.

The “Food Police” is our own made up inner judge and jury that steals our autonomy and erodes our self-trust. David Orozco once had a client tell him she would never eat chocolate because she believed it made her fat, yet she continued to gain weight even after giving it up. Another example is that scolding voice that tells us “You can’t possibly be hungry again, you just ate lunch, ” but in reality we had a 300calorie frozen meal after a 60min fitness class, coffee for breakfast, and a stressful start at work. Who wouldn’t be hungry? Quite frankly, it’s no wonder many of us just want to bite the head off people in the office. These thoughts can be damaging and cause feelings of food deprivation, which only end up causing us to rebel and binge later. Therefore, we need to learn how to find that nurturing voice and cultivate a positive relationship with food and eating. Otherwise, how can one nourish the body?

One way David helps people find their nurturing voice is by helping them to become aware of their food police voices and embrace them. This releases the Food Police voice power and choke hold on us. In the Shape Healthy program we practice Intuitive Eating skills that promote conscious and positive food decisions and regaining that trust in our own ability to manage our weight.