For as long as I can remember, I wondered why my thinking about food was so backwards from everyone else’s view.
I saw things like fast food burgers and delivery pizza as good things. I looked at chips or soda as a perfectly reasonable thing to enjoy.
And I’m very grateful that my parents never derided me for eating these things almost daily. It was certainly different from how they grew up, and they were great people just doing the best they could.
They knew those foods made me happy, and I wasn’t exhibiting weight-related health problems, so I was free to eat how I liked and learn my own lessons on nutrition and balance in my own time.
Meanwhile, these “bad” foods sustained me, they made me feel good, and they provided me comfort when my life growing up sometimes became challenging and distinctly uncomfortable.
Yet everyone on TV, in magazines, in my school system, they all wanted me to feel bad about “junk” foods or my nutritional decisions. Beyond that, society clearly taught me that gaining weight was awful, uncomfortable, and almost shameful.
Was I overweight as a child and adult? Absolutely. But was I still generally a happy person during those years? Almost always.
It Pays to Keep You Feeling “Wrong”
The diet and exercise industries have a huge vested interest in making their prospects feel as bad, wrong, and ugly as possible so that they eventually buy into the idea that their excess weight is a problem that needs to be dealt with.
The more you can feel bad about your body (even if your weight is medically perfect for your overall health), the more over time you will want to change it by any means necessary – diet products, gym memberships, workout programs, or pills that can harm your health.
The weight loss industry is counting on you feeling ashamed of any excess weight, feeling like you are less than wonderful for having the body you do. And over the years, the industry has only gotten better about bending social norms to prove to you how being thin and lean is equivalent to total happiness.
I know of plenty of skinny people who are miserable or have a toxic relationship with their body. Believe me, being thin is NOT the end destination that’s going to solve all your problems. We’ll talk about what to really focus on in a second.
Here at Comfy Weight Loss, losing weight has never been about doing it because you “should.” It’s about finding a more enjoyable way to lose weight because you simply want to and have decided to. You want to experience a different physical body in an effective and convenient way, and so we teach you on how to take the small steps to do exactly that.
And even if I did try to convince you to lose weight because you “should,” who the hell am I to tell you what you should do with your weight, how you should handle your eating, or why it’s better if you’re skinnier than you are now? Who gave me that authority?
Taking Health Into Account
Now don’t get me wrong; there are some folks whose bodyweight is putting them in harm’s way or introducing chronic illnesses into their systems. I was rapidly approaching type 2 diabetes by staying over 400 pounds for years.
But experiencing those conditions or introducing them into our lives is hard enough, and we certainly don’t need someone to hit us over the head to make us feel guilty for putting ourselves in that situation (what is that really going to accomplish?). People in those situations will be just like anyone else; they’ll either change and improve the situation, or they won’t.
Either way, they are not “wrong” and never will be.
By the way, this is not an argument to ignore doctors or health professionals. They certainly understand the body better than most, but do they understand you? Can they possibly know what you are wanting out of your life, health, and nutrition right now?
For years my doctors asked me to lose weight, but I simply wasn’t ready. Their advice was sound, but it didn’t fit into my life at that time. Then one day I decided to change. But rest assured, if I didn’t change, my body would eventually force me to change as my health broke down.
The hard truth is that you’re generally never ready to change, until you are. Be patient with yourself and trust that you will make the right choices when you need to.
Remember that our bodies go through ebbs and flows just like anything else in life. They get healthy, and they get sick. They gain weight and then they lose weight. They break and then they heal. These marvelous machines undergo a beautiful cycle and are always communicating to us what they want.
So when you gain or lose weight, for any reason, that’s just a different experience with your body. It has absolutely nothing to do with your morality or you being “weak.” The causes for body weight fluctuation can be vast and many times have nothing to do with food choice.
Food addiction, thyroid issues, anxiety, eating disorders – these are just a few other reasons why some folks experience excess weight, and they each have their own paths to healing that goes so much deeper than “you chose the wrong or bad food to eat.” Give me a break.
A Better Way to Look At Food Choice
Instead of looking at foods as “good” or “bad,” try to think about food in more meaningful contexts that can actually steer you into positive, lasting change.
- Instead of avoiding certain foods because you “should,” ask yourself if the foods you want to eat line up with your health plan or your health goals. That way, you’re not avoiding eating cake because it’s “wrong” but because it wouldn’t contribute to your current goals. Once you reach your hit your current goal, then go cake crazy!
- Instead of avoiding fast food or junk food, ask yourself if you could still enjoy it by keeping your eating balanced. Eating a burger and fries for lunch doesn’t amount to such a big deal when you then follow up that night with a bowl of fiber cereal as a light dinner. Enjoying a big steak dinner can be a great reward after you spent an hour doing cardio.
- Remember that fats are good for the body. The body needs a certain amount of fat to operate properly. Does the body begin to suffer with excess fat? Sure. But to think that the body should have as little fat as possible is flawed thinking and doesn’t support your body’s overall wellness according to nutritional science.
Do you see how these things have nothing to do with your rightness or wrongness? Do you see how these perspectives don’t involve emotions like guilt, shame, or regret?
Instead of focusing on the extremes of good or bad or right and wrong, let’s pivot our attention to overall health, balance, and supplying your body with what it needs. These are much healthier ways that also provide you with more freedom of choice (it’s why I think an all-foods diet is my second favorite behind the almighty keto diet).
There’s a Much a Bigger Picture Here
There is an incredible article where the advice columnist so lovingly and gently reminds us that no food is wrong, no food is bad, no weight is shameful, and no fluctuations to our bodies deserve some form of self-punishment. Life can be hard enough, so why do we make it harder by buying into the message that certain foods or certain weights are “bad?”
If having fast food or certain “junk” foods daily like burgers, bacon, cheese, barbecue, pizza, and chicken wings is so “bad,” then how did I lose over 170 pounds in a single year by eating those things exclusively every day?
Context is important, and eating with a purpose makes all the difference.
Remember that you are more than your food choices, and you are certainly so much more than your body weight or shape. It’s okay to comfort yourself with food. It’s okay to love the “bad” foods and enjoy your life on your terms.
And it is also okay to decide that you want to lose weight and have a different physical experience with your body, to change the conversation between you and your physical form. Just make sure it’s what you want for yourself, not because some TV doctor shamed you into thinking that you need to be thinner than you are.
Only you can know what you really want when it comes to your health and nutrition. The question is, do you trust yourself enough to listen to your body and your heart instead of listening to the inner critic that has been conditioned by a weight-obsessed society?
Turn off the TV doctor show, put down the diet magazines, ignore the industries that benefit by making you feel guilty and wrong for your weight, and listen to your deepest self. What supports you and your health?
Then do that.
Cale is the founder of Comfy Weight Loss, a cool little online community where he shows people how he lost 170 pounds in 11 months by eating delicious, fatty foods through a focused keto diet. It turns out that changing your life can be comfortable and enjoyable. To learn more or begin your own happy weight-loss journey, go to ComfyWeightLoss.com