Week 2: Add. Don’t Eliminate.
Week 2 Activity (Click To Download)
WEEK 2 OVERVIEW VIDEO
Part of this challenge is learning the types and amounts of foods to eat for your body and goals, but the other major aspect is the mindset around nutrition. This activity will be incredibly beneficial for your relationship with food. It dives into the common dieting concept of having a “Never Ever List” of forbidden foods.
In this challenge, we will address this concept by identifying any foods you may have on an arbitrary “Never Ever List” and allow you to break free from that.
Do you have a "Never Ever List" of foods?
The first piece when looking at nutrition is knowing that no food is off limits. This means, burn your “never ever list” of forbidden foods.
This is probably a concept that feels a bit foreign. Perhaps, you are feeling some anxiety, fear, or confusion about why I would say that no food is off limits.
You may be wondering, "Aren't you a health coach, Kelsey?"
Why, yes... I am!
There is a reason why I teach this.
Most programs out there outline specific foods that you are and are not allowed to eat.
People may find this helpful initially, because it feels more tangible.
Tangible, it may be, but it's not realistic for long term change.
That is why you are here...because those types of programs have failed you. It's not your fault that they weren't sustainable. You weren't set up for success.
Part of being able to make mindful food choices consistently is overcoming feared foods and learning how to enjoy flexibility in moderation.
Most people think that cutting out certain foods is the only way to reach their goals and/or avoid overeating them.
However, when foods are "off limits," it can lead to feelings of deprivation, which can lead to overindulging or binging, disordered eating, and mental and emotional distress.
You may have experienced this based on your past or present experience with dieting.
Labeling Foods = Assigning Morality
Language is important.
Something that a lot of people don't realize is that labeling certain foods as on/off limits, good/bad, clean/dirty, etc. can actually hurt your relationship with food.
Food is not “good or bad, clean or dirty.” There are foods that are more nutrient dense than others, but that doesn’t assign any moral value to the food.
When you know that you can have any food at any time, it takes away the lust of “not being allowed” which can lead to anxiety, and eventually feelings of failure when you eat that food again, potentially leading to overeating and binges.
This may sound like semantics, but honestly, the brain is powerful and your thoughts become things.
If you eat a "bad" food, you can subconsciously internalize that you become bad for eating it.
Think for a moment about language that you use with food.
Do you use any food labels?
A very simple tool that you can use to work on this, is to flip the script from things like on/off limits, good/bad, clean/dirty to words that don't imply moral value.
You could swap in words that are more literal like nutritious/less nutritious, hot/cold, smooth/crunchy, etc.
This allows you to describe the food, without creating mental barriers.
Here are some examples:
"I want something for this meal that will be more nutritious."
"That pizza may not have as many nutrients as that salad, but it sure tastes amazing!"
Cutting Out Foods
You do not need to cut out any major food groups. The frequency in which you choose certain foods can vary based on many factors, but you do not need to cut anything out completely.
Certainly, if you have clinically diagnosed allergies, sensitivities, or religious beliefs that cause you to abstain from a certain food, that is different than omitting a food for dieting purposes.
If the religious beliefs or self diagnosed sensitivities/allergies cause disordered behavior, this is something to address in order to figure out how to find freedom from the disordered behavior.
Another thing to be mindful of is self-diagnosing allergies and sensitivities. Becoming more attune with your body is a huge part of this process, and you will definitely start noticing how certain foods impact your body, energy, and performance.
That being said, sometimes people unnecessarily cut out foods when they don't actually have an allergy or sensitivity.
As you become more attune with your body and notice that your body feels and responds better to certain foods, that's great! You can focus on eating the foods that make you feel great more often. What you DON'T want though, is to cut out foods because subconsciously you think it's "bad."
If you feel that you may have allergies or sensitivities, it's best to get that checked out by your doctor.
Overall Mindset Shift
When no food is off limits, you can have any food at any time. You are not in deprivation. With practice, you will learn how to be mindful of choices frequently, but not feel deprived.
This week, we are going to practice this mindset shift.
First, we are going to go over your current "Never Ever List."
Check out the Never Ever List sheet and complete the activity.
Second, we are going to dive into previous habits and learned behavior through the "Family Rules" sheet.
Complete both of these activities, then post in the Facebook group about any of your experiences that you’d like to share.
In addition to keeping this new awareness of a previously held “Never Ever List” and “Family Rules” in mind throughout the week, keep practicing the activity for learning to listen to hunger and honor fullness each day. You’ll notice how much easier it gets with time!