You might need to let this go…

My little one has just discovered the movie Frozen and is now addicted. Every morning on the way to school we listen to one or more of the songs from the soundtrack. You might think that it would get old listening to the same song(s) every day but it’s great, actually. Being able to sing your heart out in the car with your 3-year-old is pretty awesome. You’ve probably heard the iconic song Let It Go even if you’ve never seen the movie. It’s really fun to sing along to and is so catchy that it tends to stick in your head alllll day.

Well, one day this week as I was belting out the tune, part of the lyrics spoke to me in a whole new way.

In the movie, a little girl named Elsa has trouble controlling the magic powers she was born with. She grew up being told to “conceal, don’t feel” because no-one could know of these powers. Every time she thought about them or felt any emotion her powers would get the best of her. One day when they were revealed by accident, she ran away flustered at first but then she decided to embrace them. That’s when she sings…

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free!

Let it go, let it go… I’m one with the wind and sky….

Now you might be thinking…where is she going with this? Why do I care about Elsa and her powers? And why did she get this song stuck in my head? Hear me out…

Because her family perceived it as a bad thing, Elsa was afraid of her power. The harder she tried to conceal it the more out of control is got. 

Here’s how it relates to well-balanced eating: Think of all the foods that you label as bad, especially the ones you feel have a certain power over you. You try to do the “right” thing and stay away from them, but the harder you try the more mental space they take up in your consciousness. It becomes hard to control your thoughts about that food and all you want to do is eat it, so you do. Sometimes, guilt and shame can follow because you weren’t able to hold back.

We all have a tendency to label foods as good or bad. It makes sense. Our brain just wants an easy way of making decisions. We can then say we either did the “right” or “wrong” thing.  But it’s not that straight forward. Food is a complex thing that cannot be summed up as simply good or bad. And when we do label them in this way, we give them power over us and we feel out of control.

So if you’ve ever felt this way, it’s time to “let go” of the idea of a perfect diet. “Let go” of labeling your food as good or bad, right or wrong. You’ll gain freedom and control. Then you’ll be singing along with Elsa..

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free!

Let it go, let it go… I’m one with the wind and sky….

Food for thought: Here are 2 practical suggestions for letting go…

  1. Mindful eating can help us embrace all foods and receive the feedback we need to make food decisions. We can learn which foods our body enjoys, which ones it doesn’t care for and how much of them we need when we tune into our 5 senses.
  2. When you hear yourself saying or thinking good, bad, right or wrong, try to replace those adjectives with alternatives like tasty, nutritious, decadent, sweet, colorful, natural, bland, flavorful, comforting, and so on.

What other ways can you think of to let go of the perfect diet?

 

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