After posting up a picture of some Banza Pasta with Cashew Alfredo Sauce I recieved the following question on Instagram and I wanted to answer it more indepth here on the blog because I think it brings up several things that so any of us deal with.
This is truly an amazing question, and I want to thank the women who asked it. I know that others have this same question because I have been asked it more then once.
First things first: I am constantly challenging the belief that weight contributes to disease as much as we are told.
Over the last year I have started to change my opinion on weight and believe that weight stigma and discrimination contributes to disease more than the weight itself. (hello stress)
I am not denying the role that behavioral and lifestyle choices play in disease development (what we eat and how much we move our bodies), but blaming the weight misses the mark. In order to get healthier, weight loss does not have to be part of the equation.
Pursuing health is not the same pursuit as weight loss.
I truly believe, especially after reading this book, that our medical community and society has got it a little (read a lot) wrong.
Second: I want to bring awareness to the choice of language used to describe "regular" versions of these foods (Cheesy Pizza/ Creamy Cheesy Pasta) as "cheat foods" or "fat foods"
Calling food "cheat food" automatically implies something negative like cheating on your partner or cheating on a test.
The word cheat infuses a sense of wrong doing or breaking of the rules.
As someone who has spent a decade dieting and having an eating disorder, food rules contribute to the yo-yoing and the diet-binge cycle that so many of us get stuck in. It infuses guilt and shame into the act of eating which is not helpful at all in having a healthy relationship with food.
Calling food “fat food” automatically makes it about your weight. As a culture of people we have collectively made “fat” a bad word and as a result have stigmatized the majority of the human population.
When we make food about gaining or losing weight we give food so much power and it is no longer about truly nourishing your body or receiving pleasure and satisfaction from your meal.
I have said this many times but, dieting is not about the foods you eat, its about what you think about the foods you eat, or in this case, how you describe the foods you eat.
At the end of the day, what I eat doesn’t necessarily matter for you, rather what’s important is that you eat what you want to eat so you feel most nourished and alive.
That said, I don’t look at the versions of pasta and pizza that I eat as not "regular" versions.
That type of thinking- that’s exactly what I mean by dieting is about what you think about the foods you eat.
This means that you likely see the "versions" of the pasta and pizza I eat as “diet versions” or versions that are less likely to make you gain weight or the “clean eating” versions or whatever.
This is the type of thinking that results in disordered eating.
While I have strong opinions on modern day agriculture and food processing, which I describe in depth in my upcoming book Body Wisdom, I don’t look at pizza or pasta made with cheese from cows as "regular versions," "fat food," or "cheat food."
To me, they are just pizza and pasta made with different ingredients. That’s it.
The type of ingredients I use to make pasta and pizza is a choice I make for myself because it taste good and it nourishes my body, mind and soul.
I am not trying to avoid the "regular" versions at all.
If I wanted to eat food with cheese from cows I would eat it. I have truly given myself unconditional permission to eat whatever I want. There is nothing that is off-limits in my head. I mean that. If I want something I will eat it.
There is a HUGE difference between trying to avoid something and consciously choosing not to have something. One is self-control, the other is self-care. Very important distinction.
Lastly, of course I care about my health which influences my food choices, but I don’t make food choices based on my weight which is a point of differenation with how I relate to food now.
Again, the pursuit of health is not the same pursuit as weight loss or weight management or whatever the fuck with weight.
Not eating pasta or pizza made with cheese from dairy cows or white flour is my choice, not something I am avoiding.
I talk extensively in my book about why I eat the way I eat and how I learned what my body needs to thrive. I listen to my body for guidance on what to eat.
In short, I eat because I want to feel good physically but also because the foods I choose bring me joy, pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, passion and purpose- things that extend outside of my personal health.
My food choices are bigger than just me and my body.
So I invite you to explore how you think about food and the types of language you use to describe what you are eating and why you choose to eat what you eat.
It is likely contributing to whatever relationship you have with food.