This may go against everything that mainstream media and popular diets have told you, but…
Food is not ✅ “good” or ❌ “bad”.
I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
You aren’t a 😇 good person for eating a 🥕 carrot and a 👿 bad person for eating a 🍩 doughnut.
That’s just not how food works. Maybe morals and religions, yes, but not food.
Popular diets have conditioned us to think that a diet will ONLY work if we do it PERFECTLY. But that’s just not true. No one is perfect. Plus, people have achieved incredible results without following any specific diet at all.
The same goes for exercise, finance, relationships, work, education, and pretty much everything else. There may be recommended guidelines (like a “diet”) that we can follow, but ultimately they aren’t the be-all and end-all of how to get fit, or make money, or feel loved, or become more educated.
At Sleekgeek, we’ve found that thinking about food as “good” or “bad” rarely works out well in our everyday messy lives, so for long term success, we need a better solution.
Welcome to the Continuum:
I’d like to invite you to rise above popular diet culture and ditch the “all-or-nothing” mindset.
Rather than thinking about food as either “good” or “bad”, look at food as being on a ⬅️➡️ continuum or a spectrum that ranges from “better” to “worse”.
- There are foods that are 👍 “better” for you and your goals that you should eat ✅ MORE often.
- There are foods that are 👎 “worse” for you and your goals that you should eat ❌ LESS often.
- There are foods that are “neutral”, insignificant, or context-dependent for you and your goals that could eat SOME of the time without much impact either way.
A continuum like this allows you to approach nutrition from both sides.
You can make small sustainable tweaks to your diet where you eat a little bit less of the worse foods AND a little bit more of the better foods without needing to do a complete diet overhaul that makes you miserable.
You’re also able to make mature grown-up decisions on a daily basis to decide which benefits and consequences you’re willing to tradeoff.
For example, if losing weight is a super high priority for you, then you may want to drink less alcohol and eat less pizza than you’d like to. But if it’s your birthday and having fun is a super high priority for you, then you may want to intentionally drink more alcohol and eat more birthday cake than you usually would.
Ultimately, the context matters and what may be “eat less” for one person may be “eat more” for another person.
Something that we can all agree on though is that what we eat doesn’t make us a good or bad person. It simply moves us closer to or further away from our unique goals.
If you’re not sure where to start:
- The Sleekgeek Food List is a great foundation for your list of “better” foods that you want to eat more of.
- Anything that is obviously or notoriously unhealthy for you (chocolate, ice-cream, pizza, doughnuts, pancakes, French fries, cookies, wine, etc) will be your “worse” foods that you want to eat less of. (Also see What to do if you’re eating too much junk food.)
- And then, anything that you’re not sure about or seems controversial where some people say yes it’s healthy and others say no it’s not will likely fall into your “neutral” foods list where you’ll only want to eat some occasionally.
You can also use the Traffic Light System explained over here where you categorise foods based on how YOU eat them. For example, someone who tends to frequently overeat yoghurt might want to put it on their “eat less” list, whereas someone who struggles to get enough protein in might want to put it on their “eat more” list.