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Why do I have to give up the foods I love?

How often do you feel like there are too many rules when it comes to your relationship with food? Do you feel like you have to follow the rules perfectly in order to see success in your health goals? Do you feel like you have to give up the foods that you love?

Working with my clients, one of the biggest struggles I see is people feeling like they have to cut out sweets.

They have to “say no to sweets” which is how they normally put it. And I want to talk about this today because I think it’s such an important topic. If you’re someone who feels like this, I want you to think about why you feel this way. Why do you feel like you have to say no to sweets, cut out the foods you love, or never enjoy “unhealthier” foods? Is it because you’ve been taught this growing up? Is it because you feel bad mentally (aka guilt) when you eat foods that you love? Is it because you feel bad physically when you eat foods that you love? Is it because you feel like you have to be perfect? Is it because you have a health condition? Is it because you want to lose weight? I truly want you to think about this and figure out why you feel this way.

Now, I want to clarify, that if you have a health condition that requires you to not eat certain foods or to be conscious about the foods that you’re eating, it’s okay. It’s okay to follow the diets or nutrition plans that your doctor or nutritionist gives you. That’s a different story. If you feel bad physically when you eat certain foods, that’s okay. You’re allowed to avoid the foods that make you feel bad physically. Your body is smart. Your body takes really freaking good care of you, so it’s okay to listen to it. It’s okay to eat the foods that you feel the best on and avoid the foods that make you feel crappy physically. It’s not okay to never eat sweets, desserts, or foods that you love because of an unhealthy relationship with food.

You don’t have to avoid foods that you love. No matter what you’ve been told, you are allowed to eat foods that you enjoy!

You are allowed to have desserts. You don’t have to always make healthy substitutions or eat the “fake ice cream” or have gluten-free bread. You are allowed to view food as fuel and pleasure. You are allowed to eat the foods that feel good to you physically as well as the foods that feel good to you mentally. It does not have to be one or the other. You are allowed to enjoy it all!

I don’t know why this has become such a huge focus in the health world, but it drives me crazy. Telling people that they have to restrict or not eat certain foods does not provide a good base for a healthy relationship with food. You feeling like you can’t enjoy the foods that you love makes food feel more like a chore than something that literally keeps you alive and is also meant to be enjoyed!

Stop overthinking every single thing that you eat or put into your mouth, and start loving and enjoying your food – “healthy” and “unhealthy.” Food is your friend—but you have to start seeing it as that.

Abby Horst

A podcaster, wife, health/wellness coach, beach lover, and musician. She specialises in nutrition education, meal planning, and developing sustainable habits. She passionately works with her patients to help them build healthier and happier relationships with food, exercise, and themselves.

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