Diet culture, and indeed mainstream nutrition advice, has most people believing a meal of fish with lots of veggies must be healthier than a pizza.
While both meals offer a variety of nutrition and both can be equally as healthy, there are many instances where unconditional permission* to enjoy pizza can be the healthier choice.
Let’s look at some examples of what can happen when you see pizza as the unhealthy choice…
- Your partner wants pizza for dinner and although you secretly would like pizza too, you refuse in the name of health and end up eating separately and not enjoying time together.
- Eating the fish and veggies, although tasty, doesn’t quite satisfy and you end up “searching” for something else, which results in you eating a tub of ice-cream later that evening.
- You’ve planned to catch up with friends for dinner and when everyone’s happy to go with pizza except you, you find an excuse not to go out with them.
- You really do like pizza and so you eat some, but then you feel awful about yourself and make a decision to restrict food (or be “good”) the next day, which then leads to bingeing behaviour that evening (or the following day).
- You miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal that also gives you a good variety of nutrition. You may also miss out on what is truly the key to well-being – human connection.
Bottom line is both meals provide good nutrition – while the fish and veggies might have more Vitamin C and B6, the pizza pictured has more calcium, iodine and zinc – but regardless of this, nutrition is only one aspect of health. Spending time with other people, sharing food, getting pleasure from food and not experiencing anxiety or guilt around food are equally, if not more, important to our overall health.
Unconditional permission* – this refers to freedom to eat a food without any thoughts or belief of needing to compensate for that choice. Common examples of compensation are, feeling the need to “burn” the food off, eating less or avoiding certain food over the next day or two.
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