Hi again! We are almost halfway through summarizing the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating (IE) as we reach principle 4 today. Principle 4 is “Challenge the Food Police”, which can be a rather empowering feeling, so let’s jump right in.
The term Food Police may be subjective, but for the sake of consistency we are going to think of the Food Police in this sense as the voice in your head that monitors and maintains the food rules that diet culture has instilled in you. These thoughts are known as cognitive distortions (strong statements that are based on false information, and cause inaccurate realities), and the “Food Police” is their speaker. Some examples include not eating after a certain time of evening; that an entire food group is bad for you; or that if you did not burn XYZ calories, the workout was a waste of time. Another tricky facet is that the Food Police voice becomes louder with each new diet tried or whenever we take in messaging regarding dieting and food rules; in this world we are often inundated with this kind of messaging, which in turn strengthens the Food Police voice. It is imperative to understand that even as you begin to fully adopt the previous principles of IE we’ve touched on (refresher: Reject the Diet Mentality, Honor Your Hunger, and Make Peace with Food), the Food Police voice can still be present.
However, there are also other voices we have inside of us that can be more kind and beneficial to us versus the Food Police. These voices include: the Nutrition Informant, the Diet Rebel, the Food Anthropologist, and the Nurturer. There is a lot more information in the Intuitive Eating text on how these voices can both harm or help you, but I just want to give a concise round-up seen in the chart below.
Once you can identify the voices, you can see that some work better together and some really serve no purpose at all (here’s looking at you Food Police). But it will certainly be a process to listen to the voices, as each one will reign supreme at different times. Try jotting down examples of self-talk around eating from recent days, and then note whether it came from a harmful or helpful place. After identifying the commentary that came from a harmful voice try to replace with the ally version.
It is also important to note that the Intuitive Eater voice is a combination of the Nurturer, Food Anthropologist, and the helpful aspects of the Diet Rebel (Rebel Ally) and Nutrition Informant (Nutrition Ally). Some helpful skills to challenge the Food Police include positive self-talk, appreciating and accepting the nuance of becoming an Intuitive Eater, and self-awareness. Become more aware of food talk both internally and externally, which consequently happens each time we have an eating experience. Listen to the different voices that can either be an ally or destructive on your IE journey. Until we say sayonara to the Food Police, making peace with food is difficult and finding your IE voice will seem impossible. As with each principle, it is a process to see how powerful our thoughts are, and ultimately how this impacts eating behavior; continue to be kind to yourself during your journey.
Next time on the blog we will hit Principle 5, which will mark us at exactly halfway through. Thanks for following along, and see you next time!