Why You Should Stop Labelling Food as “Good” or “Bad”

a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables

Chances are that you have beliefs in your mind about what foods are “good” and what foods are “bad.”

You’ve probably heard it all:

“carbs will make you gain weight”
“sugar is your enemy, don’t eat any”
“you can’t have a treat, they’re bad for you and it’s not a cheat day”

Have you ever realized that just the unconscious thoughts of labelling foods this way might be destructive to your relationship with food? Let’s learn how to stop labelling food together.

A chocolate popsicle with a bite out of it to show you to stop labelling food as good or bad

5 Reasons to Stop Labelling Food

1. Increases Your Stress About Eating

Stress. We all have it, but we all want less of it! One way to reduce your stress is to stop stressing about food. And a step in the right direction to stop stressing about food is to stop labelling food as “good” or “bad.”

If you eat something that you think is “bad” you feel like you’re a failure or that you need to “make up for it” with “good” food later. This is a vicious cycle that also leads to the “I’ll start tomorrow” talk. When you tell yourself that you’re placing expectations on yourself that aren’t as realistic as you think. And then what? More stress.

2. Food Has no Moral Value

Once you assign “good” or “bad” to certain foods, you automatically think that about yourself. Things like:

“I ate so clean today, it was a good day” when you turn down treats
“Ugh, I’m so bad” when you eat that donut
Even, “I’m having a cheat day” can make you feel like you’re being a bad person.

Can you see how the moral value we assign to the food we eat is strung throughout our every day vocabulary?

3. Creates a Restrictive Mindset

If you’re following a rigid meal plan or a certain food is “bad” in your mind, what’re you likely to do? Restrict it. Restricting food can actually give you the opposite results of what you’re intending.

Restricting certain foods can increase your cravings for those foods. It can also increase the likelihood of bingeing on those foods when you do allow yourself to have some.

Having a restrictive mindset can carry over into other parts of your life. Instead of this negative restrictive feeling, focus more on creating an abundance mindset. An abundance mindset is all about knowing that you are deserving of the good things in life, like yummy food you love. Stay tuned for a future blog post on scarcity vs. abundance mindset.

4. Stops You From Enjoying Foods You Love

Have you been to a birthday party and felt like you can’t have a piece of the cake? Or actually refused that cake? I’ve done that, and it’s a sad feeling to have!

If you’re labelling foods in certain ways, you likely feel guilty when you have your favourite foods. Let’s stop labelling food we enjoy and bring back the satisfaction and joy to eating.

5. Makes you Fear Food

If you think about it, our lives almost revolve around food. Food is in our every day lives, multiple times a day. I don’t know about you, but being fearful multiple times a day about what I’m eating isn’t the way I want to live my life!

When you stop fearing “off-limits” foods they will likely become less desirable over time. As humans, if we’re told we can’t have something (even if that’s coming from our inner dialogue), we will desire it more. That burning desire turns into intense cravings or binge eating. Remove the fear of food from the equation and you can start feeling more peace about food.

A rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables to show you to stop labelling food as good or bad

So What Can You Do Instead?

Shift your focus from what’s “good” and “bad” or “healthy” and “unhealthy” to “what’s going to nourish my body, mind and soul?

  • Nourish your body with balanced meals
  • Nourish your mind with foods that you enjoy and find satisfaction in
  • Overall, nourishing yourself with foods that make you feel good

Focusing on nourishment is focusing on abundance. When you change our inner dialogue from restriction to abundance, especially with food, you will feel great relief that you aren’t living out of fear anymore.

Taking labels and fear out of the equation can allow you to focus more on nourishing your body instead of worrying about eating the “right” foods.

Are you ready to start switching your mindset around food to be a more positive one? Download my free guide to mindful eating today to get started right now!

xo, jenn

  1. Mrs says:

    Of course food has no moral value, it has nutritional value. It is undeniably proven that food effects our health, and that some foods are exceptionally healthy for our bodies while other foods are not. Unhealthy foods contribute to numerous illnesses, stroke, heart disease, diabetes cancer. Any food that can make you sick is bad. It is what it is. I think it’s more important that we stop measuring our value as a person by what we eat, what we look like etc. But don’t kid yourself that junk food is anything other than junk.


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