3 Tips for Challenging the Food Police with Intuitive Eating

What is the food police?

Have you ever tried to eat something and instead of enjoying the meal or snack, a voice inside your brain reprimands you for eating this particular item? This feeling of guilt could last for the moment, or even last for hours afterwards.  As defined in Intuitive Eating, the guilt described can be named as the food police who “monitor the unreasonable rules that diet culture has created… housed deep in your psyche, and its loudspeaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments”.

Why the food police isn’t helpful….

Any kind of constant negative feedback and criticism around our personal decisions around food can make us feel like we are personally “bad” for eating these off limits foods.  When we have these rigid expectations of following strict diet guidelines, any foods that aren’t part of the acceptable list can then feel off-limits in a way that we will often want these foods even more.

What you can do:

  • Choose your company wisely (both in person and online)

      1. Changing company when feeling triggered, surrounding yourself with individuals that don’t have a moral compass with food.
      2. Unfollowing triggering accounts on social media- diet or food facts, influencers selling diet products etc.
  • Remove outside feedback telling you what or how much to eat

      1. Deleting calorie counting apps, putting items in other types of containers (you may still know the calories of items, but it can still help).
      2. Choosing cookbooks that aren’t based on restrictive diet.
  • Bring pleasure and creativity into your meals/snacks

    1. Buying new types or different brands of the same foods.
    2. Planning a meal that is more about joy and sharing instead of following specific diet guidelines.

As described in the book “Intuitive Eating”, adopting the “For the most part” mentality can also help with avoiding perfectionistic thinking.  Reminding yourself that you will try to eat according to your hunger signals…for the most part.  Making the shift from following strict rules and giving yourself a bit more flexibility can give you more room to learn about how and what you really want to eat.  

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

 Check out more articles on intuitive eating!

Andrea Kent, is a registered dietitian at Nutrition Instincts who focuses on bridging the gap between evidence-based nutrition and what that means for her clients in their daily lives. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, she aims to help each of her clients navigate a sustainable way to find peace with their nutrition choices and body freedom. Whether this is working with clients in recovery from an eating disorder, younger adolescents and their families, or exploring Intuitive Eating more in-depth- Andrea makes sure to support each client with an individualized and flexible approach in their journey. Interested in working with Andrea? Apply today!