“Carbs are the devil!”
“I’ve cheated on my diet.”
“I’ve been eating so bad.”
These are all statements I’ve heard from my nutrition clients and friends after eating food that wasn’t the most nutritious. Most of the time, it’s when they’ve grossly over-eaten it.
Have you ever gotten that “too full” feeling indulging on a food you swore you’d never eat again? Found yourself the night after over-eating swearing that you’d only eat egg whites and salad the next day?
Food neutrality is something that I instill into all of my high-level 1:1 nutrition coaching clients. Every single time I talk about this topic, people are always so shocked to learn that food neutrality will actually help them lose body fat.
As soon as clients find out they can stop demonizing food and feel guilty for eating, they want to know everything they can about food neutrality.
What is food neutrality?
Food neutrality is when you stop assigning a moral value to food. The language around less nutritious food has equated to moral degradation in normal diet culture. You call less nutritious food “bad” or “terrible,” and this label you assign it gives it a moral value of “bad,” “wrong,” and “immoral.”
Any time you do eat “bad” foods you feel internal shame and guilt. As a result, you restrict these foods. You don’t allow them ever.
Your diet shouldn’t make you feel shameful. Any good online nutrition coach will teach you how to enjoy less nutritious foods without any guilt, all while still losing fat and hitting your goals. Food neutrality is simply seeing food as just food.
This doesn’t mean that health goes entirely out of the window. I use the phrases “nutrient-dense foods” and “less nutritious foods” with my clients. This is a great way to start distancing your worth from your diet.
Ultimately, you’re a human being who needs to learn how properly and strategically fit pizza into their diet because they love it and realistically won’t go the rest of their life without it instead of never allowing yourself to have it again only to overindulge again.
How can food neutrality help you lose body fat?
Whenever you restrict something that you genuinely love and enjoy eating, you’re bound to indulge in that food at some point again in your life. The more you restrict a food, the more you think about that food until you “cheat” on your diet and indulge.
When you do indulge, you rationalize over-eating because you tell yourself that you “won’t be eating this food ever again.” Then, you hop back on the same rollercoaster a day or two later. It puts you on a cycle of restricting and binging, which keeps you stuck holding onto body fat.
Food neutrality will show you that you can incorporate your favorite foods into a healthy lifestyle. Without restriction, you know that the food you crave is always available if you want it. You’ll be more likely to control your portions and add some extra vegetables to your meal.
Feeling nourished comes from focusing on fueling yourself instead of restricting yourself. It’s a mindset shift from lack to abundance. That feeling of being well-nourished will help you be consistent with your protocols over long periods of time.
Food neutrality helps you be consistent with your protocols while feeling nourished from the inside out.
How do I start practicing food neutrality?
- Stop labeling food as “good” or “bad.”
- Start calling food “nutritious” or “less nutritious.”
- Stop saying you’re cheating on your diet. You can’t cheat on a food. Silly.
- Stop restricting your favorite foods in fear of “being bad.”
- Start learning how to include healthy versions of your favorite food or use portion control with your favorite foods for sustainable adherence and success
Whenever I hear my clients getting hung up on the food they’re eating, and how bad they feel, it’s always essential to stop the shame spiral. Food is just food. Eating one food over another doesn’t make you a bad person or unworthy of love. It’s just about getting back on track and fueling yourself consistently with whole foods to feel your best while enjoying the foods you love.
Chose food that makes you feel energized, nourished, and, yes, even happy so that you can enjoy the most of a healthier lifestyle.
To learn the proteins, carbs, and fats that are part of a healthier lifestyle, grab my FREE Ultimate Nutrition Guide to jumpstart your fat loss, complete with recipe ideas!