Let’s try something new. Our goal today is to try and forget everything we think we know about food, nutrition and dieting. Over the course of our lives, we have processed so much information about what is good or bad for us — it’s become a little difficult to keep all the information straight when our stance changes each time a new study is published. What is cholesterol again? Are carbs good or bad for us? Where do we stand on fats? How many hours am I supposed to be sleeping again? Gluten-free is still “in” right?… If you’re feeling like this — you need a hard reset. I’ve broken this blog into a few points that will help you eliminate the need to ask yourself these questions and ask yourself the ones that really matter.
Just because it worked for them, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.
Suzy at work lost 30 lbs. Good for Suzy but just because a diet worked for her, doesn’t mean that same diet will work for you. Diets, which are daily modified food restrictions, started popping up in the early 1900s and became a staple in the American culture in the 20th century as a solution to health-related issues such as high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. A quick fix so to speak. Through trial and error, the American people found that some of these diets did in fact work. Kirstie Alley and Jared Fogle of Subway Sandwiches became national heroes for their tremendous success #winning. Thus, cementing the idea that dieting works, beginning the domino effect of nearly 100 years of diet fads to come and go.
While of course we’re happy for the Suzy’s and the Kirstie’s of the world. What the dieting fine print doesn’t tell you is that these won’t work for everyone. Not everyone will find success. It’s literally impossible. Each person has different genetic dispositions and a completely different list of contributing factors that have the ability to affect emotional, mental and physical health. Factors such as stress, work, sleep, romantic relationships, exercise, spirituality, etc. All of these factors play a huge role. When it comes to weight, Nutrition and health is not one size fits all.
The best way to identify what will work best for you is to get to know yourself and lay the foundation for what works and doesn’t work. Really try tuning out anything you may have heard will work and take your own personal experience with your self as truth. The next step would be to get with a professional that specializes in nutrition and can take a holistic approach to your journey. You will find nearly all health related issues can be solved by simply taking better care of yourself as a whole, not by just cutting out carbs or starches or switching over to diet sodas.
I can’t eat that. It’s not on my diet.
Unless you’re allergic or going to become severely ill from eating (blank), eat it. Trust me, I promise you’ll be okay. The most popular diets of 2017 are the “Vegetarian diet”, the “Paleo diet” the “Flexitarian diet” (which is for vegetarians who still want to eat meat) umm…okay?, and the “Mediterranean diet”. Which in theory, are all great diets but again, the reason most diets fail or don’t have sustainability is because they are too restrictive. For example, if you switched over to the “Paleo diet” you may be having cravings for other foods. Your body may not be completely satisfied on a strict “Paleo diet”. If that’s the case, you might binge, cheat and then feel guilty. That’s silly. Just adapt it.
Find what works for you. Listen to your body and your cravings. Research alternatives and experiment. Again, there is no right or wrong answer. What works for someone else may not work for you. Listen to the subtleties of your own body and what it needs. Quiet the mental and what you think you know and access the internal wisdom that is constantly communicating with you.
Old systems and food fundamentalism.
We can always learn from the past and take what’s relevant and apply it to the present. Nutrition and health are no different. While I would not criticize any system, I am always chocked to realize how people over-relying on systems from the past (paleo, macrobiotics, ayurveda,…) can become disconnected from the wisdom of their body and fall into food fundamentalism, isolation and even eating disorders. Most of these systems need to be adapted to today’s world and personal needs. This is also true for some of today’s more popular or well-known systems like “Veganism”, which can lead to extreme isolation and hardly is the solution for most.
Health is all-inclusive.
Nutrition is an important aspect of staying healthy but it’s not solely responsible for making sure the body operates as it should. You very well could be fueling the body with all the right foods, eating appropriate portions and exercising regularly but if you are still feeling restless, fatigued or sluggish — food may not be the issue. Your body is a complete operating system that needs more than just “fuel” to function. You may or may not be surprised to find that the body needs emotional and mental stability as well, along with love and support, passions and hobbies, fulfillment in work and relationships and in many cases, a form of spirituality. If you find yourself stress eating or binging — it may not be your body’s response to cravings or hunger — it could be a coping mechanism for a more personal problem. Make sure to ask yourself if you are fulfilled in these areas before drastically changing your diet or visiting a physician. You’ll find that by addressing some of these harder to ask questions, you can heal your body from the inside out. Often times how we eat is a symptom of a larger problem. The next time you feel like eating ask yourself if you really feel like eating or if something is eating you. I invite you to check my post about primary and secondary foods and of course the HAPPY SPOON 30-DAY PROGRAM that helps to address the root causes of the eating challenges to be able to overcome them.
Your symptoms are solutions.
An essential aspect of the Psychology of Eating is to openly explore all dimensions and factors in your life that can impact your health, food intake, and overall body rather than diagnosing your challenges as a deficiency. Try not to view health challenges and symptoms as the “enemy” and view them as an opportunity for exploration, self-improvement and growth. Examine other areas of your life that may involve relationships, stress, finances, work obligations, family and more. Reach out to me and I will help you along this journey.
What you eat is only half the story.
The other half is up to us. Our brain responds to programmed responses. Essentially your brain will go into a certain mode depending on what mood you’re in. It fully recognizes if you’re stress eating, eating mindlessly, happy eating, reward eating, etc and the interesting part of this all is depending on what mode you’re in, the body will process nutrition differently. It directly affects our “Digestive Power”. For example, when happy eating, enjoying a meal with friends or simply just by savoring each bite you dramatically increase the body’s metabolic and digestive power. This prevents overeating, under eating and over indulgence.
As you can see from the list, Nutrition does not come down to a set of food rules and restrictions. Holistic Nutrition and Psychology of Eating make the field of nutrition extremely interesting. It comes down to living a well-rounded life and being able to have honest conversations with yourself about what the self truly needs and craves. If you still feel a diet is the path for you, pick one that encompasses the foods you like and enjoy and modify it to meet your personal needs. If you are new to this journey and would like some guidance, please reach out by email and make sure you check out my HAPPY SPOON 30-DAY PROGRAM that will help you find what your body really needs and craves.