“How Can I Reset My Body After Eating Badly?”

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Have your ever thought, “How can I reset and make up for bad food ?”

This is one of the most frequent phrases I hear as a registered dietitian.

Unfortunately, trying to reset or make up for the bad food you ate is not healthy or recommended.

It’s understandable that you may have thought of or taken steps to “undo” bad eating habits.

So much of the messaging around food and nutrition is about being 100 percent perfect all of the time, and if you’re not, you need to do a detox, reset, cleanse, go twice as hard at the gym, or eat less, and the list goes on.

You may wonder, “Why is it not the best way to deal with this situation?” What should you do instead? We’ll get into the details.

Why Resetting Your Body isn’t Necessary (Plus how it can hurt your health and goals long-term)

The idea of resetting your body and making amends for bad food choices comes from a concept called “food morality”.

The problem with food morality is that it can lead to a complicated relationship with food.

When we give food labels, it can become a black-and-white matter. The food we eat and what we don’t eat starts to determine how we feel.

For example, it is possible to feel proud and confident if we make good choices. However, we might feel ashamed and guilty if we make “bad” decisions.

This naturally causes us to restrict or avoid food items in the “bad” category.

But, because humans are not machines, sometimes we can’t do this — and that’s a good thing! Sometimes the food items in “bad” are actually delicious and food we really want deep down. This is perfectly okay and wise to do.

These food rules and strict lines of right or wrong make us feel constantly at war with our own self-worth. Although we tell ourselves that we shouldn’t eat “bad” food, we are aware of our true desires and so we eventually eat them. This leads to us wanting to make amends for having eaten “bad” food in the first place.

These thoughts and behaviors can lead to unhealthy relationships with food and the body. This can ultimately cause harm to your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

Are there any foods that are truly good and some that are truly bad?

Now is where you might be thinking, “Well Erica, some foods aren’t good for me so I shouldn’t have them. So what’s wrong with feeling guilty and “good” about eating them?”

This is where we get into trouble and where the unbalanced nature of an all-or-nothing cycles starts.

The All-or-Nothing cycle

The Balance Spectrum is a tool Nutrition Stripped uses to explain the balanced eating cycle. We have both enjoyment and nourishment. They all come together somewhere in the middle – that’s where we find balance. However, on each polarizing end of the spectrum we have the “all in” and the “all out” sides that we want to avoid.

If you are unfamiliar with the Balance Spectrum tool, our guide is available for free. It will walk you through each step in detail.

When we try to make up, we end up doing what we call “pendulum swinging”. It is easy to move quickly from the enjoyment end, all the while moving over to the “all in” end of nutrition.

The “all-in” end might include more restriction on “bad” food, macro counting, calorie counting and strict eating habits. This is all in an effort to compensate for bad food choices.

But what happens if we spend too much time at the “all-in” end of the spectrum. As you can see, we swing back to the “all out” end of this spectrum.

Picture a pendulum here. The pendulum will swing in opposite directions if we pull in too hard.

The “all-out” ending may be binge eating, excessive indulgence, or a lack of care about nutrition.

This is the all-or nothing cycle.

What to Do Instead of Resetting and Making Up for Eating Bad Foods

We now know that deeming foods as “bad” and attempting to make up for eating them creates an imbalanced, negative relationship with food.

So what are we going to do?

Remove morality to appreciate both ends. We want to be able to appreciate all food for what it is.

We want to understand that food is just food. You can have nourishment or enjoyment. Or a mixture of both. There is no good or bad food.

Once we are able do this, it’s possible to make food choices that are true to ourselves. We don’t feel the need to compensate for bad food choices. Instead of swinging rigidly from one end to another, we can slide easily on the Balance Spectrum.

This is what we teach in the Mindful Nutrition Method. You will learn how to use the Balance Spectrum daily to reflect on your life and take mindful, intentional actions that balance nourishment and enjoyment of food.

We walk you through the steps for healing your relationship with food and teach you how to build a new relationship that allows for growth, stability, and support.

You can watch our free workshop to learn how to be more balanced with your food choices so you can be free from food and diet obsession, maintain a balanced weight, and cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body.

Erica Carneglia Read More

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