Most people have a love-hate relationship with snacking. They love to nibble on something tasty between meals but they’re stuck in the mindset of shaming themselves when they do so. The last thing I want is for you to feel bad about food so today I’m breaking the stigma surrounding snacking.
The Diet Culture Dos and Don’ts
Diet Culture encourages a hyper-focus on healthy snacking. A couple of biscuits with your 3pm brew is apparently no longer acceptable. Elevensies can only accommodate carrot sticks, and god forbid you eat after 7pm. These rules are another form of restriction that only makes us want to eat more.
Once again, diet culture traps us in their web of restrict, binge, shame, repeat. You do not need to feel ashamed for snacking. You shouldn’t feel ashamed for eating any food. Diet culture imposes its rules on us in order to encourage us to buy their products. The shakes. The cereal bars. The yogurts. (All of which are filled with extra components to replace the flavour that was lost when either the fat content or the sugar was omitted, by the way. So diet culture can shove its hypocritical clean eating ethos…)
Changing your mindset around snacking
The key to rebuilding your relationship with food is in your mindset. Look at the difference between ‘I am only eating healthy snacks’ compared to ‘how can this snack serve me right now’. The first is controlling, limiting and doesn’t take into account what your body needs. By considering how your snack of choice will serve you, shows you are listening and engaging with your body.
We can’t deny the science that shows high sugar snacks will give you an instant boost of energy compared to whole foods that will provide slow-releasing energy. It’s okay to want a snack that will give you long lasting energy. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re buying back into diet culture. Just like choosing a snack that gives you an instant release doesn’t make you an unhealthy person.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to always choose ‘the right snack’ or not snack at all. But there are plenty of reasons behind why our body wants a snack in that moment. The important thing is to listen to your body. You may feel like you want a snack because your blood sugar levels are running low and you need a little pick me up. Or perhaps you’re feeling a certain emotion and your natural response is to reach for something yummy. That’s okay!
Embracing food freedom and throwing the rule book away allows you to fully engage with your body and your mind. Let’s keep breaking the stigma surrounding snacking and encourage others to ditch the diet!
Always remember to take a paws.
If you’re struggling with your relationship with food, contact BEAT Eating Disorders service for support.