You know what sucks?
Guilt sucks. Like literally, it sucks the life out of you.
I often get asked by clients what they are “allowed to eat”, and my answer is always the same: You can eat LITERALLY whatever you want; that’s the beauty of free will. I can’t tell you what you’re “allowed” to eat and honestly, I wouldn’t presume to try. But I will encourage you to say an enthusiastic “bye, bye” to guilt when it comes to making food choices.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are probably some foods that you should avoid, either because you have an allergy or sensitivity, or because they won’t support your fitness and physique goals. I’m not saying you can eat whatever you want and still be shredded or have a healthy digestive system. And, I do believe that everyone should be tested for allergies or at the very least do an elimination diet to determine food sensitivities. You should definitely be aware of how certain foods affect your body, because you really can’t make informed decisions unless you know how food will affect you.
But, even then, can you eat those foods?
Sure you can.
You can eat whatever you want.
Let’s replace the phrase “I can’t eat that” with “I choose not to eat that.”
The moment you start replacing the word “can’t” with “choose not to” you will begin a journey towards a more loving relationship with food and your body. That moment is a crucial step; it’s the embarkation of body-love and acceptance and it will make you feel POWERFUL.
Why is it such a powerful shift?
Well, quite simply, the word can’t comes with a strong sense of deprivation. And what do we do when we feel deprived of something? We obsess about it, of course! Sometimes I don’t even realize I want something until someone tells me I can’t have it–at which point I make it my life’s mission to prove them wrong. I can have whatever I want; there might be consequences, repercussions, and hard work involved, but I can still have it.
That’s the thing about food–will too much of it affect your body negatively? Of course it will. Will certain foods get in the way of your fat loss goals? Sure they will. But can you make a choice to weigh the pros and cons, consider the repercussions, and make your own decisions? Yes. 100% yes.
Who’s in charge in here, anyway? It isn’t food, and it isn’t those fitness gurus either. It’s YOU. You decide what to eat, and as long as you’re aware of how it’s going to affect you and have accepted the results without guilt or regret, you are on the right path.
The key word there is guilt. If I have learned anything in my 13 years in this industry, it’s that letting go of food-associated guilt is the most impactful thing you can do on your nutritional journey. Now that doesn’t mean that you won’t ever feel guilt–rather that you can acknowledge and then release it. Holding on to it is toxic and counter productive.
Once you let the guilt go, you can make sound, informed, calculated decisions. You can eat foods that make you feel good during and after. You can eat to please your palate and your physique, and even have the occasional indulgence without feeling terrible about it afterwards. But, when you let go of guilt, you have to also accept responsibility. You have to own the choices you make, and accept the results.
Once you do, however, you will feel liberated from the “can’ts” and the “shouldn’ts” and the off-limits foods. You will be free.
Bye-bye guilt. Hello responsibility!
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