By Shannon Hayes Buescher, MS, RD, LD

In today’s diet society, food is labeled good or bad. Certain foods are loaded with guilt because of the messages we are sent about these foods through our diet culture. Because we are bombarded with these messages, it somehow gets interpreted that as a person, you are “good” or “bad” based on what you eat. Just look at the verbiage that is used, “I was bad today, I had bread.” “I was good today, I stayed away from sugar.”

My friend, food is not a moral issue. It is food. You did not kill someone when you ate the pasta or rob a bank when you had the cookie. Yet, the guilt that is felt by so many that have followed the rigid diet rules of the shoulds and shouldn’ts make people feel paralyzed with their day, as if they are so “bad.”

The diet industry has done a brilliant job in their psychological approach with marketing on why you need the latest shake, pill, program or diet. It talks to these vulnerable, insecure places that everything will be better, and you’ll finally be happy when you lose the weight, change your body and finally be “enough.” But we know that doesn’t ever really happen. Diets are not sustainable and certainly, by the industry’s standards, your body can always be better.

If you really look at this sense of morality with food that is created, it is essentially, your choice to take it on as a belief system of yourself. To no longer believe in this limiting belief, you have to heal the parts of you that feel, that you are not enough. You must find the separation of food, along with the behaviors you use with food, and you, as a person. They are not the same. What you eat does not mean anything about you and who you are. This may have been taught to you. But my friend, it is not your truth.

You see, when you find the truth, you find that true, authentic you. You find why you are using diets for the false sense of control. You look at the areas of life that you are not feeling enough in. You look at where using food to numb or soothe and find what it is you truly need. You give yourself the space, time and self-care that you deserve. You see the light within yourself that no type of food could ever darken.

It is this way of thinking that can release from the moral judgment of food. When you are in a kinder, more connected place with yourself, you find the choices you make to be more loving and more respectful to your body. You can eat the cookie and it does not make the day bad, but more satisfying that you enjoyed a delicious dessert. You shed the weight that food has held on your morality and find the light that is within you.

Shannon Hayes Buescher, MS, RD, LD, has over 15 years of experience working with people to help heal their relationship with food and their body. She is a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who is passionate in helping people heal from the diet culture. She has a private practice, located in Chesterfield and offers individual or virtual sessions, as well as online Intuitive Eating groups.

Visit her website at to learn more.