How to Stop Moralizing Your Food Choices

by | Apr 24, 2017

Laura works at a hospital and sees people suffering daily from chronic diseases she knows are caused by unhealthy food choices. Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer are all fates she’d like to avoid, but still her love of sweets calls to her.

In Laura’s mind, foods fall into categories of “good” and “bad,” “healthy” and “unhealthy.” She knows that moralizing her foods this way makes her crave sweets even more, and that when she does give in she experiences the What-the-hell Effect and overeats them. But because of her job, it’s hard for her to stop thinking of sweets as “bad” and vegetables as “good.”

Not moralizing your food is easier said than done. One huge reason for this is that it feels true that veggies are good for you and junk food is bad you. How can you stop thinking this way when you actually believe it?

Food moralizing is very common, and undoing it takes more than willpower. In this episode I walk Laura through the steps necessary to get past the moralizing mentality and into one that is more helpful for her long-term health goals.

Wish you had more time to listen to the podcast? I use an app called Overcast (no affiliation) to play back my favorite podcasts at faster speeds, dynamically shortening silences in talk shows so it doesn’t sound weird. It’s pretty rad.


Related links:

No, You Don’t Deserve that Indulgence Today

How to Be Thankful After Campaign 2016: Foodist Edition

How to Eat More Mindfully in 19 Seconds (4-7-8 breaths)



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3 Responses to “How to Stop Moralizing Your Food Choices”

  1. Wow! Really helpful. I also have the habit of moralizing food but it increases the craving towards it.

  2. Renee Allen says:

    I’ve been putting off listening to this podcast — I think because moralizing my food choices is such a HUGE issue for me and I was either afraid to face it or was doubting anything could ever help it. BUT I finally listened this morning on my drive back from the airport and found many connections that were helpful. When I got home, I saw a plate of cookies that I’d been eating from all weekend and instantly went to that strong habit loop (that you mentioned in Becky’s podcast) of WTH and start eating without thinking. So I asked myself, “How can I get out of this loop?” and thought of the moralizing issue. I have realized for some time that I often make really poor food choices as early in the day as possible because I have so much pressure built up within to NOT eat those foods that if I get it over early in the day, I’ll take that pressure off immediately and just chalk that day up to another that I didn’t eat well and not worry about it until that night when I question why I ate poorly for yet another day. I wanted to stop that habit loop before it began by taking away the moralization. So I told myself “This isn’t BAD, but is it the BEST choice I could be making right now?” And I knew right away the answer was “No.” I didn’t truly want those cookies (although they are really tasty). I wanted something more nutritious that could still be delicious and decided to cut up some yummy fresh fruit instead. Thanks so much for helping me, Darya.

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