I used to think that different foods had inhrent "goodness" or "badness" in them. I know I am not alone, I would say 99% of the population would say carrots are "good" and cake is "bad". I used this system of "food morality" when I would binge. If I ate too much "bad" I would starve myself.
Especially as I started diving in to "healthier" eating (not eating 90% "bad" foods) I started to further categorize things like this. Ranch dressing- "bad", Hummus- "good" etc. But still in the back of my mind, from years of condition or what not, if I felt I ate too many "bad" foods one day, I would starve myself the next day.
And I know I am not the only person who punishes themselves for eating too many "bad" foods. Some people purge, some people starve, some people just eat MORE "bad" foods and call it "falling off the wagon". But why do we let an over abundence of "bad" (albiet delicious) food ruin our mental progress? Because diet culture, thats why. Sure, some foods have better nutritional value than others, thats a fact, but why can't we eat things that don't have nutritional value, in moderation, and still be healthy. The "Clean Eating" movement has become the social norm in "dieting" and if you don't eat clean, you are not going to lose weight (according to diet culture).
In actuality, our bodies don't freak out when we eat cake in moderation. Its not like our brain tastes cake, then decides to produce 7 lbs of fat cells as its immediate response. Sure, eating an ENTIRE cake isnt good for you, but eating a piece isnt going to kill you, or your progress. This idea that dieting is "all of nothing" is insane, and frankly really detrimental to a lot of people's progress.
When we are told we can't have something, even if we are the ones enforcing that rule, we WANT it. And we usually don't want it in moderation, we want ALL of it because then its a "cheat". And we certainly don't want to waste something as special as a CHEAT on just one piece of cake! See what I'm saying? Our restriction on foods that we know we love and that we enjoy, doesn't help our progress, it hinders it!
So my epiphany was that food isn't inherently "good" or "bad". It's just food. Sure its good to eat some green stuff, but some chocolately stuff isnt going to kill you. If we stop having "good days" and "bad days" and just have "days" then maybe we can recognize our choices, and make different choices the next day, not better choices, but different ones. We don't need to make a dinner out to Pizza cause a setback. The pizza itself didn't hurt you. Its the negative self talk, punishment, and subsequent damaging behavior that caused your setback, mentally and physically.
What if we stop labeling food as "good" and "bad". Will we lose all ability to eat mindfully with portion control? I don't think so. Will it be anarchy? Probably not. Will closedminded people on the internet judge you? Probably, but only because they buy into diet cultire and the clean eating ideal that just doesn't work for everyone. Not everyone will understand you, but you need to do what is healthiest, mentally and physically, for you.