Lots of people ask me, “ok — I can get behind the “no dieting” thing, but aren’t there foods that are inherently … shitty? Shouldn’t I still avoid shitty food, even while I’m “not dieting”?
Here’s the thing – and it’s important: If I told you stop dieting but to try and avoid or even limit “shitty food,” that would first of all, be a rule, which is a diet, which would turn into restriction in many people’s heads and fuck up their eating anyway.
But people would also think, oh jeez… So there IS food that I should be eating and food I shouldn’t be eating? But which food is shitty food? I thought we were neutralizing food? What will happen to me if I do eat it? If it’s a sometimes thing, how often is it okay to eat shitty food? Should I really just avoid shitty food always?
And that way of thinking is not the Fuck It Diet, and it will not help you.
Look, let me play devil’s advocate with myself. If we zoom way out: We have polluted our planet and our food and our water and our air and our soil and our homes. We have. It’s a fact. It goes way, way deeper than food or packaged food or “shitty food”. There are way worse things in the air than whatever food additive you’re afraid of or whatever fried food you’re avoiding. Pollution is everywhere. I could make you afraid of drinking water and taking a breath and taking a shower. But that would not help you.
You could easily spend every moment of your day thinking about it and worrying about it and trying to avoid all pollution – but you cannot avoid it. You can’t. It’s a dark reality.
I actually care deeply about environmental sustainability, and cleaning up our planet, but I also care deeply about helping people heal disordered eating and restore their mental health and quality of life, and focus on resilience instead of fear.
In a way, pollution and disordered eating are both issues of quality of life, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. You can feed yourself organic foods when you want or when it is possible, you can vote with your dollar, (if you have the luxury and privilege of being able to afford it), you can volunteer for environmental sustainability groups and charities, and eat packaged snacks when that’s what you crave, or when that’s all that’s available.
We can and should be able to do both.
Food perfectionism has gotten you nowhere. Stress over the food you eat is arguably worse for you than the food itself. Stress has been shown to change gut microbiota, can shut down or slow digestion, and raise inflammation. The lining of the gut is literally a part of our nervous system, and every process in our body is interconnected. Stress physically affects your body, your nervous system, and your bodily functions and processes.
On the other hand, under calmer circumstances, our bodies are wired and equipped to take the good from food and process out the bad. These are all reasons to just surrender during this process and let yourself eat whatever food you want, “whole” or “shitty” or somewhere in between.
Fuck it, listen to your body, and eat the funfetti.