BIG Nutrition: When that negative voice just makes you feel bad!


BIG Nutrition: When that negative voice just makes you feel bad!

We are in week 6 of a 10 week effort to build a few small nutrition habits and drop some bad ones.

Some of the habits that we have addressed are small changes to increase plain water intake,  eat two servings of veggies at lunch and dinner, and cut sweets intake in half. Surprisingly, over time, these small changes make a big impact and don’t require that you make drastic changes to your intake.

Some of the habits have also dealt with the way we think about food, specifically how we and our communities support healthful food choices and how we get right back on track and hold ourselves accountable when a challenge comes up.


This week, the small habit to build is to stop negative self-talk (out loud or to yourself) about your food choices.

This dialogue ….”I ate a donut and feel bad that I ate it,” can create a negative association with food and reinforce bad feelings about yourself. In some situations, these bad feelings can lead people to a) consider ‘bad’ foods forbidden thus making them even more desirable and /or b) entice people to feel they need to reward or comfort themselves with food. This can be a vicious cycle. Indeed, this negative self-talk rarely has any positive impact on food intake.

So, what can you do? If you find that you are thinking negative thoughts about your food choices:

  • Recognize when you have negative self-talk and stop and tell yourself that you are a good person. The foods you choose do not make you bad or good!
  • Remind yourself that eating well is a process and does not demand perfection.
  • Extend yourself some kindness. If someone spoke to your friend negatively, you would empathize with them and understand how hurt they must feel. So, remember, be good to you!
  • Find non-food ways to treat yourself. Go on a walk, take a bath, sing or listen to music, text a friend, get or give a hug to a loved one or pet, color a picture, dance…you get the idea.

Everyone does better with positive reinforcement, so for this week and the weeks going forward, recognize and stop negative self-talk and pat yourself on the back for continuing on the health journey!

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

If you have an idea for a nutrition habit that you recommend building, email me, at

[email protected]