They’re everywhere. In the grocery store, peering into your cart. On the covers of magazines and on the radio. We are constantly being judged or reminded about our lack of a ‘perfect’ diet.

The fact is that we as a nation are more obsessed than ever about food. Ironically, rates of obesity are skyrocketing and there is a general anxiety about food.

We need to make a change and stop attaching morality to food. Food isn’t ‘clean’ or ‘dirty.’ It’s just food.

Think about it. The only reason you should have guilt about a food is if you stole it!

Do you know what feeling guilty about your food choices does? It makes you feel ashamed, desperate and out of control. It makes you less likely to pay attention to your body about what it is telling you it needs to feel nourished. Assigning moral value to food and labeling your choices as good and bad starts to permeate your very being and leads to fixation, and can zap the joy out of life. That translates either into severe deprivation, bingeing, or a cycle that includes both.

The better plan is to pay attention to your hunger and satiety cues. Take a moment to reflect and feel what is going on in your body, and if you are in fact hungry, think about what will satisfy you at this very moment.

Then, take a moment to sit down in a distraction-free area, take a deep breath, and enjoy it. If you’ve been on and off diets for longer than you can remember, this will feel like a radical and foreign idea.

Try it. Journal about it. What do you have to lose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? Your health and your sanity.