Separating Self Worth From Food Choices

The more I practice as a dietitian, the more passionate I become about promoting body positivity, feeling good about ourselves, and taking the focus off of weight. I’d like to introduce more posts exploring these topics to this blog, starting with today’s post about separating self worth from food choices. Let me know what you think about me doing more posts on these topics!

Separating Self Worth from Food Choices

Men’s locker room talk got a lot of attention in this past year. Well, if by “locker room talk” you mean sexual harassment. But that’s a whole other can of worms.

Anyways, today I wanted to chat about women’s locker room talk. Which all too often consists of diet talk and detox talk. I think subconsciously, the reason I never shower at the gym and prefer to shower at home is so that I can get in-and-out of the women’s locker room as fast as possible and thus avoid hearing these conversations.

I wasn’t fast enough one day this week though because I caught a snippet of a conversation between two students catching up on their weekend. Starting with:

“I was so bad…”

Ugh, I HATE that phrase. I mean, did you murder someone? Did you rob a convenience store? No? Oh, you just ate a few slices of pizza or went out for a McFlurry?

That doesn’t make you bad! Just as choosing green smoothies and tofu stir fries doesn’t make you good. We need to start separating our self worth from our food choices. We are more than what we eat!

And I’m not trying to be all holier than thou here because – believe me – I’ve been there. I think if someone said they hadn’t, they’d be lying. We are all exposed to these ways of thinking from a young age so of course those thoughts are going to infiltrate our own. But having these thoughts on any kind of regular basis can be destructive. I remember in 10th grade some girls in my class decided they were being “good” by skipping lunch every day, so I thought I needed to be “good” and do that too. Well, all that came of that was incessant hunger pangs through my afternoon classes, barely enough energy to walk home at the end of the day, and an all out binge when I got home. Healthy? Not at all.

The good news: these ingrained thought patterns can be changed, and it starts with awareness. Next time you have one of these kinds of thoughts, recognize it – and replace it. Instead of “I’m being bad”, think about how much you’re going to enjoy your [insert food here] and make the decision to mindfully eat it. Way more fun than beating yourself up, right? Keep on thinking this way and over time, those negative thoughts will be powerless.

How do you deal with these kinds of thought patterns? 

9 Comments

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9 Responses to Separating Self Worth From Food Choices

  1. Did you rob a convenience store? hahahh that made me laugh. Great post my friend. :)

  2. Once again, a killer post. Although eating pizza is pretty much like killing someone. Just kidding, but self worth does NOT equal food choices- I went to this Poke place the other day and these guys were discussing whether they should have rice as the base and have no carby toppings or have greens on the base and have pickled ginger on top. PICKLED GINGER.

  3. Stuff like this is so ingrained in our society and culture and it’s sad. We need to stop focusing on weight and instead focus on health, mental health just as much as physical.

    Great post.

    • Chelsea

      Totally agree re: taking the focus off of weight. Up until a few months ago I would work on weight loss with patients (albeit in a healthy way), but I’ve started changing the way I practice to not focus on weight at all. Some studies I’ve read have really opened my eyes to how health professionals may be doing more harm than good by promoting weight loss. Something I hope to touch on in a future post!

  4. It saddens me when I see women obsessed with their weight and overall physical appearance. Of course I pay attention to these things, just like anyone else, but I would never deny myself certain foods or skip meals. That mentality is just an unhealthy as eating as a bunch of junk food.

    It’s tough being in the healthy food blog niche too because I get so many requests for nutrition facts. Then they’re like, “This recipe with beans is so high in carbs. I can’t have that many carbs”. It makes me want to scream!! I’m conflicted on whether or not I should share them because I feel like it keeps people from focusing on the ingredients which is ultimately what matters most, in my opinion.

    Anyways, keep up the great work spreading such an awesome message! <3

    • Chelsea

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I agree people get way too caught up in their food/calorie/macronutrient intake – life is about so much more than counting numbers and that’s not what’s important to be healthy! In fact it just leads to unhealthy, obsessive behaviours. I totally support you not including nutrition facts. :)

  5. Alice

    As someone who has suffered from anorexia for too many years, I would lie to thank you for this post. Although thoughts such as the ones you outlined above may not be as evidently dangerous as those typically associated with full-blown anorexia, in my experience they can lead to a very slippery slope to harmful behaviours. I appreciate this post and would love to see more. Please keep educating about the dangers of attaching moral value and worth what we eat.

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