What does pace labelling, guilt and mental health have to do with each other?
What is pace labelling?
If you missed the news about pace labelling this week amidst election mayhem, then allow me to shed some light (and my opinion)
Not sure about you, but navigating our way through the millions of bits of advice on how to and what to eat is a mind (swearword) at the best of times.
To add injury to insult Loughborough University has released research that, adding information on food labelling indicating how much exercise is needed after eating certain foods will reduce the consumption of around 200 calories per day. (if you still believe that calories in and out are the answer to all weight problems)
All good and well, but it’s just not that straight forward.
I don’t agree with the large food companies, in fact, I love a good boycott and am usually first in line, but I do think most of us are lucky enough to execute an informed choice and relying on big pharma, food companies and other institutions to tell us how to eat, move and live is neglecting our intelligence and ignoring our own inner wisdom.
I think most of us can agree that too much processed and sugary foods are not great for us in the long term.
That’s never the whole picture of health and weight though, it contributes to the ill health of course, but it’s not the main reason.
You wouldn’t need that kind of information on food like apples, avocados or brown rice, and they ALSO contain calories and fat and sugar.
As if people (mostly women) don’t have enough guilt in their lives; we’ve stopped smoking (yes I was a 20 per day girl), drink only a few units a week and eat bitter dark chocolate, to feel better about ourselves. Yes, my body is thanking me for not smoking, but give me Lindt milk chocolate any day over the virtuous bitter dark chocolate.
Now, when you’re tired, had a long day, stressed and suffer from PMS and SAD (yup) and you buy a little ‘cheer me up’ from the local crappy shop, not only are you dealing with the emotional onslaught of your day, you then have some person/computer/organisation who knows nothing about you or your life, telling you that what they’ve produced is bad for you, thank you for buying it and making them rich but you shouldn’t enjoy whatever you’re eating, just chew, swallow and start running because not only are you going to get fat, you will also be labelled as lazy, stupid, having no willpower and generally ridiculed for taking up too much space.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MENTAL HEALTH?
Rumination, existing feelings of not good enough, slim enough, self-disciplined enough has just been amplified by reminding us that what you’ve just eaten is wrong, which makes us wrong.
So many women are fighting against their bodies, see food as the enemy and are constantly trying to shrink themselves.
I see women who have been battling this from as early as age 10, that’s for some 30-40 years or more of trying to fix themselves because they are perpetually disappointed in themselves and nothing has ever had lasting success, why will this work? And what are we teaching our young girls (and boys for that matter)
Thinking that you’re never enough (amongst other things) can easily lead you down a rabbit hole of anxiety, persistent low mood and ultimately may become a mental health issue.
That’s where intuitive eating comes in.
Based on the principles of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), (I’m currently doing the teacher training course – whoop!) learning to step off autopilot, noticing how your body is feeling because of what is going on in your head is the premise of getting back in touch with your own body wisdom, your inner knowing, that part of you which is so ancient, wise and wild but so easily forgotten and neglected.
When you can observe these thoughts as just thoughts, you can start living your life differently, not being pushed and pulled in all directions and feel like you’ve lost control.
When you’re guided by your own compass and own rules you don’t need someone/something else to tell you how to look after your body and health.
It may be a bit sticky to start off with and that’s ok, learning anything new takes time, knowledge, support, cheerleading, failing and practice.
So my wish for you dear Wild Hearted Woman is to do what feels right and good to you, not to anyone else because you are your own unique wonderfulness that should be celebrated every day.
You know what to do, what is right for you, and what works for you, trust that.
I know you’re busy and life is getting hectic with the silly season upon us, if you have a moment, please let me know what you think about what I’ve said.
I’d love to start the conversation and if any of this resonated with you, know that you can reach out anytime and I’m so happy to chat and hear what’s going on in your life, head and that incredible body of yours.
With wild-hearted love