FOOD DOES NOT HAVE A MORAL VALUE!!!
I’m sick of hearing my own voice, I’ve said this so much lately. Even more often than usual now, during the holiday season.
“Oh I’ve been so naughty, I think all I did over Christmas was eat.”
“No dessert for me, thanks, I’m being good.”
“Who’ll be bad and go for seconds with me?”
NO!!! Drop the “good” and “bad” labels altogether! Cookies, cake, all the little pickies out on the table when company comes over – there is absolutely no reason for these foods to be on the naughty list. They’re just food. No better or worse than whatever the lastest superfood is. They’re both just food. And your food choices have nothing to do with Santa’s decision to put you on the naughty or nice list. I mean, you could be a terrible person for all kinds of other reasons, but choosing cake over kale is not going to be the determining factor. The most saintly saint in the sainthood(?) could have an insatiable sweet tooth, but that’s not going to lose him his job. And I’m sure his “goodness” has nothing to do with whether he chooses salad or french fries for lunch.
Similarly, the amount of time you spend at the gym has nothing to do with your worth as a human and nothing to do with the amount of food you eat. You’re not being bad by slacking off a lil at the gym over the holidays. You don’t need to spend extra time there to “make up for” the big dinner you had at nan’s house.
I say all this now, in the weird post-Christmas, pre-New Years week because it seems to be the topic everywhere I go. Everyone seems to be beating themselves up over what they ate, and/or promising themselves to “eat better” or “work out more” in the new year. It’s hard to not fall into that trap of toxic thinking when it’s so prevalent in our society.
No one should feel guilty over having a second helping of Christmas dinner, or for letting themselves enjoy a piece of their favorite dessert. But we do, far too often. We constantly judge ourselves based on the food we eat, which is a terrible, terrible mindset to be in.
So many people set New Year’s resolutions to be better in the new year, to eat healthier, become more active. They’ll set goals around numbers, thinking that reaching those goals will somehow raise their value as a human being. I’ll make an exception here and say that if it’s for legitimate health reasons, sure, this type of goal is fine. If you or your doctor are concerned about your health, sure, numbers are a great way to stay accountable. But when it comes to your self-worth, numbers are absolutely useless. The numbers pertaining to calories eaten, miles run, pounds lost, hours spent at the gym, any of that stuff, are most likely doing more mental damage than anything else. Who you are, how you are, and why people love you are never going to depend on those numbers.
If you insist on setting a resolution (you’ve heard my opinion, just not into it), maybe set one with those “rules of yoga” in mind; No Judgment, No Competition, No Expectations. Most especially that “no judgment” part, particularly towards yourself. Stop judging yourself based on those numbers. Stop giving foods, and subsequently yourself, labels of “good” and “bad”. There are so many things that matter so much more; the quality of your relationships, the frequency of your laughter, the passions and talents and funny little quirks that make you who you are. Focus on those things.
I know I’m straying away somewhat from the yoga world here, but I feel like it’s an important message to keep preaching. (Again: FOOD DOES NOT HAVE A MORAL VALUE!!).As yoga becomes more and more mainstream, it’s getting closer to the fitness world, and with that, the diet industry. From there it’s not long before the goods and bads and shoulds and all that diet-world-bullshit will try to creep in to yoga. I can’t let that take over the safe space of my yoga mat.
I used to write about this kind of stuff a lot more, on an old wordpress page. I was going through therapy and recovery from an eating disorder at the time, so I know this shit, firsthand. If you’re struggling with the mind/body/food thing, there might be some good reads on there for you. And feel free to send me a message if you need someone to talk to; I may not be a lot of help, but I know sometimes you just need someone to vent to. ❤
Anyway, enough of that negativity and ranting this morning. I wish you all the best in the new year, all the good vibes and all of the happiness. And I wish to see some of you in my yoga classes this winter 😉 I’m looking forward to getting back to teaching.
ta ta for now,