Deciding What to Eat With No Judgement

Posted April 29, 2013 by Monica O'Connell in Life After Five

I want to talk to you about food messages today. I just completed  “The Whole 30”  nutritional eating plan with a friend of mine.  A brief summary of how it works: For 30 days “we eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. We chose foods that were raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense.”  We eliminate dairy, grains & sugar. That’s it. Eat real food. No counting calories or points or only eating grapefruit. My friend and I decided to jump in.

30 days later, what I learned is that I can totally do it. I don’t need sugar. I need protein for breakfast.  My body functioned so much more successfully with more protein.  I also learned that my body doesn’t much prefer gluten or dairy though I’m not necessarily allergic.  I really don’t need an afternoon snack or caffeine pick me up if I’m eating enough at breakfast and lunch.  Great lessons.

What was the most valuable lesson? The judgement that I place on food.  A few months ago I was talking to my therapist about feeling as if some of the foods I was eating at that time were “bad” and placing a lot of judgement about myself in eating them.  Eating a piece of pizza is “bad” or having a piece of cake as “bad”. Are you with me? Ever done this? Total shame story about a blueberry muffin this morning?

I don’t need to do that any longer.  Instead I can address food by looking at it’s nutritional content.  Will pizza solely meet my nutritional needs for the day? No. Can I eat it as a part of a meal? If I so choose.  Pizza is not bad.  In fact, for me, it’s delicious.

The other thing I noticed is that other people have their own food judgement that they totally project onto others.  People had A LOT of opinions about this Whole 30.  “Your body needs grains.” “You don’t need animal protein.” “You’re eating too many greens.” “You need sugar”. Someone actually said to me that my bowl of spinach was too large. Pardon my French, that’s bullshit! I’m consuming too many leaves of spinach? What??

No wonder I was worried about eating pizza.

The message I’m internalizing is this one.  I’m going to eat intuitively.  I’m going to listen to MY body.  I’m going to eat as many leaves of arugula as I’d like.  I’m going to eat animal protein if I decide that my body benefits from it.  And people are going to continue to make comments based on their understanding of food.  I’m totally open to learning about nutrition and I’m no longer open to taking on other people’s food judgements.

Have you ever done a food challenge? What did you learn?

A darling, brilliant lady named Katie Jasper is doing New Rules- Nutrition for Real Life through her company, Prescribe Nutrition. Check it out if you’re interested in learning more about you and your body.

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”