There’s no such thing as empty calories.
That wine you drank. That cake you ate. That bowl of cereal you had.
You’ve been lead to believe these things are empty calories because they contain few nutrients. But who says nutrients are the be-all-end-all yardstick for your food?
If that was the only thing that mattered then our grocery stores would be filled will nothing but nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. Restaurants wouldn’t be a thing (why go out when you can eat whole foods at home). And family get-togethers and holidays like Thanksgiving wouldn’t involve food.
Yet all these things do exist. Why? Because food serves a purpose outside of just fuel.
Food also meets cultural, societal, social, mental, emotional, and yes – physical needs.
So empty calories? They don’t exist. Everything you eat fulfills a current need in your life.
Your job is to better understand your relationship with food, how you interact with it, what needs it’s fulfilling, and then determine the most effective way to meet those needs so that you can be in alignment with your unique goals.
This is how you create your optimal life experience. You get to place value on what’s most important to you, and then you can use food as a tool to enhance that value.
If a glass of wine at a restaurant with your partner creates a moment that bonds you together, then the hell with so-called empty calories. In this case, the social value dramatically outweighs the nutrient value.
If a delicious bowl of cereal meets your need for satisfaction and helps lower feelings of deprivation that would’ve lead to a binge later down the road, then that cereal wasn’t “empty” at all.
So start viewing food as more than just calories and nutrients and a means to manipulate your body. That’s diet culture thinking and will keep you stuck and frustrated.
Instead, start seeing food as a vehicle for interacting with and enriching your life. That’s when you’ll begin to better understand yourself and your needs, which creates real opportunities for personal growth.