Healthy is Relative

I saw something the other day that made me upset.

I got an email from a fitness account that I subscribe to. The title of it was something along the lines of “How to deal with chocolate cravings”.

Now to most people, this probably sounds intriguing, and if you’re on of those people, I’m happy for you.

Unfortunately, I’m not. To present things from a bit of a different perspective, for people who struggle with disordered eating and distorted body image, things like this just tend to perpetuate diet culture. It further engrains the notions that food has moral value attached to it even deeper into my mind. That I should be avoiding “bad foods” like chocolate to be the healthiest version of myself that I can be. It tips the scales even further away from the healthy balance that people with eating disorders are fighting with.

I’ve come to realize that “healthy is relative”. Meaning that for some, healthy is freedom and peace of mind. Healthy may be allowing yourself to have that piece of chocolate or pie and not beating yourself up about it. Maybe for others it’s learning to avoid all that extra chocolate and cut back. It just depends on which side of the balance you’re on.

For some of us, denying ourselves these treats just leads to even more problems. Restricting and denying ourselves something that we enjoy can just lead to a backlash in the other direction and as a result, a whole lot more negative emotions and consequences.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe there probably are underlying signs associated with chocolate cravings (like emotional triggers or even nutrient deficiencies) which can be addressed to reduce cravings and improve your overall health. But why is chocolate the enemy?

In my opinion food is meant to be enjoyed. It’s what sustains us. It has such profound social and cultural influences as well. It shouldn’t be something that has so much power over our minds and our lives.

I haven’t personally found the balance yet, but one day I want to be able to crave chocolate, have a healthy amount (because I want to) and to enjoy it for the delicious treat that it is.

~J

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