No-Label Diet

no label diet_bigI’ve been thinking a lot about the language we use when it comes to food and eating.

Words that describe food like:

Healthy, clean, guilty pleasure, good, bad, unhealthy.

I’ve used these words myself. A lot.

But here’s something I have been asking myself lately: How useful are these labels? 

Imagine a piece of paper. If healthy is written on one side, then unhealthy is on the other. If good is written on one side, then bad is on the other.

And inevitably, because this is LIFE and not some game where we can be perfect all the time, at some point, the paper flips.

So what happens when we tell ourselves ‘I’ve been good – I’ve eaten healthy all week’ ?

When the paper is on good and healthy, chances are, we tap ourselves on the back and proclaim that we are a good person…but then next time, we don’t eat as well, we become a bad person and the what-the-hell effect kicks in and instead of just one cookie, we eat 10.

And then there’s the license to sin effect:

When we have a rigid self-concept of I am good if I do this, our thinking becomes very black and white.

So even actions we think are good can actually end up backfiring. For example, thinking I was good – I had a salad for lunch – so I can eat whatever I want this afternoon.

So what if we go rid of the paper completely? What if we removed all the labels?

What if food was no longer…

Healthy, clean, guilty pleasure, good, bad, unhealthy

What if food was just food and we became just a person eating that food?

Not mindlessly eating whatever we want, of course.

Instead of labels that come from our very judge-y mind or from external experts, what if we trusted the part of us who is actually eating instead?

Because obvious as this may sound, our body, not our mind is the one eating.

So instead of judging food, can we look at it in terms of: How does eating this work for me?

By focusing on this question instead of the label we give food, we can then simply notice:

Did this food give me energy?

Does this food enable me to feel good in my body?

Does this food bring me pleasure?

I am calling this the No-Label Diet.

Are you up for the challenge?

For the next week, let go of all labels and notice instead what your body tells you.

Put on your curious scientist lab coat and simply notice as if you were eating this food for the first time, how it works for you.

You might notice that the food your mind was telling you was bad and off limit is OK in small quantities and that when you eat too much of it you feel sluggish. And because you want to feel energized, you decide to have it occasionally and to fully enjoy it instead of approaching it in a black & white way which doesn’t work anyway.

Of course, because our minds evolved to be very judge-y, they will keep labelling food – and that’s OK. Simply notice the judgement, allow it to hang out – and then focus your attention on your actual experience of the food – what your body tells you.

For me, making this simple distinction between judgements about food and how my body experiences it has been the most significant shift I have made in my eating. 

This is the way we step out of willpower and the constant struggle we are in with ourselves over food and start trusting something much more intuitive, much wiser – that is always there for us to access.

Don’t just trust what my mind is telling you. Try it out yourself and see what your experience says!

If you try this or have already experimented with this, I would love to hear from you!

No label diet give it a try

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  • on Feb 09, 2017 Reply

    Um awesome? This is quite the extensive list. Thanks a lot for posting this. I’m going to go back and update that standard icon for all my CPT on my websites now. Really sweet.

  • http://www./ on Nov 24, 2016 Reply

    Sing it! Sing the truth!!How can we communicate this? Why aren’t we communicating this better? Read the paper this holiday season and you’ll see the usual 10,000 stories about how to find a charity with a low overhead ratio. Who are these reporters? Why do they write about charity without talking to anyone in the sector? How can we get them to listen as we walk them through this unbelievably one-sided argument?

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    It seems to me that this web site doesnt load on a Motorola Droid. Are other people getting the same problem? I enjoy this website and dont want to have to miss it any time Im gone from my computer.

  • Kamryn on Aug 08, 2016 Reply

    Why do I bother calilng up people when I can just read this!

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