Labels have such a strong hold on our identity. Cultural labels. Religious labels. Food labels.
None of these classifications are bad; actually, they can be quite helpful in understanding yourself. However, what happens when we become more defined by the rules and labels we’ve created than by our inner consciousness and identity?
If I were to give myself a food label I would technically be a keto paleo pescatarian. What!? That is FAR too complicated.
In my own experience, when we classify ourselves we enter into a pride and shame cycle. Let me give you a personal example. A few years ago I tried to switch to a detox/vegan living lifestyle. I love most of the foods this diet encompasses and THOUGHT that this lifestyle change would bring me more health and positive physical changes.
Not so much.
Instead, I got lost in this pride and shame cycle. When I ate perfectly on the “diet” I felt a sense of superiority and pride in my self-control. However, when I would “fail” and eat something that wasn’t allowed, such as salmon or goat cheese or cream in my coffee, I would then feel SO guilty! I felt like I failed.
I felt like I was a failure.
Seriously? How twisted is that?
I don’t want to be defined by the rules and regulations of what I can and cannot eat. I don’t want to be defined by food.
If you’ve been following me you may have noticed that I’ve posted some things about the ketogenic diet. I’m FASCINATED by this idea of low-carb, high-fat living and the health benefits associated with it. However, I don’t like the all-encompassing restrictions and constant macro, gram, and carb calculations. Oh. My. Goodness. It’s just too much!
That is not how I want to live. Even though I am aiming to live low-carb and high-fat, I don’t want to be defined as Keto. Even though I love whole foods I don’t want to be defined as Paleo. Even though I don’t eat a lot of meat I don’t want to be defined as Vegetarian. I want to be defined as being ME.
I want to instead learn to listen to my body.
It’s filled with signals that tell me what is good for me and what is not. I don’t want to live in restriction because this mentality often leads to uninhibited indulgences.
For example, when I went mostly Vegetarian I felt guilty if I ever craved meat, such as steak. Eating meat would be breaking my diet and even my identity.
Now I think of my body and WHY I’m getting the craving. Maybe my iron levels are low and my body needs some extra red meat power. Maybe I need more protein. Maybe I just want to be human and nourish my body with what it desires.
Healthy, whole, satisfying nourishment.
So where do we go from here?
The problem with labels is that they become our identity. If we break the “rules” of our eating we are breaking the rules of our label. Many of these eating styles are AWESOME! They encourage you to eat protein, healthy fat, fiber, and lots of greens; however, they can unconsciously lead to pride and guilt. Pride when you eat perfectly and guilt when you eat imperfectly.
I do not want to judge others based on their lifestyle choices, nor do I want them judging me.
I am defined by being me.
I am healthy. I am whole. I listen to my body and I nourish it.
What are you defined by? Do you feel pride or shame in your identity?
Always remember that you are beautiful and on a journey. Give yourself grace on this road.
Love & Blessings,