What should I eat? And what should I avoid eating? It’s a common question. Perhaps you’ve even googled it. Turned to a doctor. A nutritionist, friend, magazine or book. Maybe even instagram or an influencer. (Eeek if you’ve done the last one, please stop!)
We live in a fatphobic diet culture which is harmful to all of us. We label foods good or bad, which only causes more problems. In 2021, 72.6 BILLION dollars was spent on the weight loss industry just in the US. Meanwhile, 95-97% of diets don’t work.
Thankfully, every year more people are wisening up to the fact that pursuing weight loss doesn’t improve health. And doesn’t even work. But what about health? Great question.
A person’s health includes their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being.
Do you know what impacts health more than what you eat? Your socioeconomic status. Stress levels. Your genes. And even your race. Yup- social determinats of health are often overlooked but impact our health greatly.
The good news: the antidiet movement has gained speed. As fat activists fight against oppression and body positive crusaders model self love, our culture is shifting.
So, back to that question: what should I eat?. Here’s my answer but in recovery style.
What Should I Eat and What Should I Avoid Eating – Recovery Style
What to Eat:
Eat whatever your body wants.
Give your beautiful amazing powerful body the fuel she/he/they desire.
Eat three delicious satisfying meals every single day. Add in snacks. Honor your body by listening to her cravings. Fill her with a variety of tastes. Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Savory. All. The. Foods.
Eat foods that bring you joy. That give your body energy and comfort. Fill your body up with foods you loved as a child. When your throat hurts, soothe it with hot chicken soup. If sweat is dripping off your body after a long day in the sun, drink a large refreshing glass of lemonade or enjoy an ice cold popsicle. Check in with your body and ask what sounds the best in this very moment. Give your body what he or she wants.
Craving a bowl of ice cream? Give your body ice cream. Enjoy every single refreshingly cold spoonful. Dreaming about a thick juicy steak? Dig in and allow yourself to savor every bite.
Eat what your body wants.
Listen to your body’s needs
As human beings we have needs, drives, and desires. Ever heard of Abraham Maslow? He was a psychologist famous for his theory on human needs. It’s called Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs and the gist of it is this: one level of needs must be met before we can go on to meet the next level of needs. He used a pyramid as a visual, placing the most basic needs at the bottom. This base includes our need for food, water, warmth and rest. Above this base comes safety, then love and belonging, and then esteem. At the very top is “Self-actualization” which refers to achieving our full potential. Again, before we can move up from focusing on one level to the next, we must meet the needs of that level. And the very first need is for food, water, warmth, and rest.
This is significant. It seems so obvious.
One of our most basics need, in order to stay alive, is to be fed.
Our bodies are biologically programmed to seek food, water, warmth, and sleep. To keep us alive. So the answer to the question of “What to eat” is really pretty simple. Eat what your body wants.
What to Avoid
Avoid attaching your worth to your plate. You’re a valuable lovable worthy person if you eat salad. You are STILL a valuable lovable worthy person if you eat a candy bar. Or even if you eat both. You get where I’m going with this, right?
What you eat does not say anything about your worth as a person.
Avoid caring what other people think about your food or your body. Connect with your true wise inner self. Get to know her or him. Understand your passions, drives, and values. Live according to what matters most to you. Not what is on your plate.
Avoid basing your worth on the opinions of others. What other people think about you says nothing about you and everything about them.
Avoid comparison. Stop comparing what’s on your plate to the person’s plate sitting across from you.
Avoid comparing your body size, shape, or appearance to your friends. And to the filtered, photo-shopped, curated images that fill your news feed. While you’re at it, avoid comparing your body today to what your body looked like a week ago. A month ago. Or five years ago.
Avoid fat shaming.
You know better! Don’t fall for the lies of diet culture. Avoid equating anyone’s worth to their body size or their food. Including you own.
Avoid focusing on the number of calories in a food, your pants size, the number on a scale, or any other number that does not matter in the grand scheme of who you are as a person. Avoid getting sucked into the lie that these numbers define you, keep you safe, or measure your value as a human being.
And in general, avoid reading articles that start with “What to eat and what to avoid,” unless of course, they’re written with a recovery twist.
So there you have it. What to eat and what to avoid- Recovery Style.
I’d love to know what you think in the comments below. Do you have any to add?