Dear Dieters, Please Stop Labeling Food as “Bad”

Every day I see people talking about the “bad” food they ate and they are either punishing themselves for it, making excuses for it, or using it as an argument for the anti-diet. I’m not saying that I’m innocent here, but my mindset has definitely changed about “good” food and “bad” food, and I want to get one thing straight.

There is no such thing as a “bad” food.

The second we start to call something bad, we give it all sorts of power that ends up working against us. If you’re trying to lose weight, odds are you already have a pretty rocky relationship with food. The last thing you need is to classify foods (most likely some of your favorite foods) with a label that will make you feel guilty every time you eat it.

Think about it: if you label something as bad, what happens mentally when you think about doing or eating that bad thing?

  • You feel guilty
  • That thing is off limits
  • Classifying something as “off limits” starts the deprivation mindset
  • Deprivation mindset starts a downhill spiral
  • You feel shame for eating that “bad” food
  • Shame and guilt has the potential to start a downhill spiral
  • You feel negative about yourself because you gave in or you weren’t strong enough to resist the bad thing

The list can go on and on. Do you see how ridiculous this is? The worst part is that it all started because of a slice of pizza or a decadent brownie or enjoying an evening out with your friends. Do not let your fear of bad foods limit your life!

At the end of the day, ALL food is just calories. Calories are the energy source that fuels our body and all of its functions. Different foods give us different amounts of that energy. That’s IT!

Sure, there are healthier and less healthy options, but what is important is finding the proper balance of both. Eat salads, steamed veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats, but if you love pizza, then for the sake of all things happy in this world EAT A PIECE OF PIZZA. Don’t do it every day, but eat the pizza every once and awhile. It’s not bad to eat pizza. It’s not “good” to only eat salads and live a life feeling deprived of your favorite foods.

It is good to have BALANCE

The end.

So, what is the right thing to do?

Basically, I’m begging you to take the “bad” label out of your vocabulary and focus on the facts. Pizza has more calories than a bowl of steamed veggies. Obviously, the goal is to stay within our calorie range on any given day, therefore, ultimately we need more veggies and less pizza. Not NO pizza…just less pizza. Pizza is not bad. In my opinion, pizza is very, very good! 🍕We just need to keep it balanced.

I know strawberries have fewer calories and more vitamins than a cupcake. Does this mean the cupcake is bad? Of course not! Like pizza, in my world cupcakes are very, VERY good. They’re just something good for me to have every once and a while, whereas strawberries are something good for me to have each and every day.

My bottom line is this: there are no bad foods.

Say it with me!


There! Doesn’t that feel good?

Now, knowing that there are no more bad foods you can go about your days, weeks, and months knowing that food is food and as long as you’re balanced, you will be okay. You can still lose weight and get healthier embracing this new mindset. The rest is up to you.

One thought on “Dear Dieters, Please Stop Labeling Food as “Bad”

  1. Lissa Kristine Jorgensen says:

    I absolutely agree. There are no “bad” foods- at least not in this context.

    I do think that labeling milk that’s a month past its expiration date or the unidentified tupperware container of what you can only assume was once food as “bad” is absolutely appropriate.

    Unfortunately, I also find that people take this to another extreme. While there are people out there who struggle with labeling food as “good” or “bad” on a moral compass, there are also those who police food language.

    I was at a WW meeting recently when I mentioned something about splurging. Now, for me, a splurge isn’t a binge. It isn’t going “off plan.” It’s simply going above and beyond my norm. My normal dessert is usually a 2 point piece of dark chocolate or a 5 point frappucino. A 29 point slice of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory is not something I’ll eat every day. For me, that’s a splurge.

    I’m not saying cheesecake is “bad”. (On the contrary, it is absolutely delicious and very good). However, it’s not something I can afford to eat every day. That makes eating a slice on occasion a splurge and there’s nothing wrong with calling it that.

    It’s important not to use morally polarizing language in regards to food, but it’s also important to recognize that some language is neutral and doesn’t need to be judged so harshly.

    Unfortunately, I was publicly shamed for using the word “splurge” to describe the one day of the week where I elect to eat significantly more than I normally do on any other day of the week.

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