Why do you eat the diet you do?

Uncategorized Feb 10, 2021

This is something I've noticed all over the internet right now and it's driving me nuts!

All these experts walking around telling you their diet is the best way.

If you want to lose weight you need to intermittent fast, do keto, cut carbs,  protein load, the list goes on and on.

Everyone claiming their way is the "best" way to lose weight.

But here's the thing.... Not every way can be the best way so who's lying? 

Well, maybe no one.

Here's the thing we aren't acknowledging, and the fitness experts definitely aren't acknowledging - Every body is different.

What works for one body won't necessarily work for another and no one knows their body better than the person living in it 24/7.

Now I know you could argue that "if that were the case then everyone would eat healthily," but I think there are two reasons that that doesn't happen.

  1. Everyone puts information out like it's the ONLY way instead of just one way so we fall victim to thinking we have to do something.
  2. There are so many options that are quick, easy, and loaded with chemicals that make it smell and taste so appealing we make the choice to eat it.

Both of these options can cloud our ability to truly know how to listen to ourselves. We become blocked and instead of turning inward for answers we go with the easy patterns and buy into easy ideas presented to us.

And that's a totally normal thing! That's a conditioned pattern that has been around for so long, passed down and modified through the generations. It's hard to get around modern marketing.

But it also comes down to judgement (doesn't it always?).

It's not just that people are presenting these ideas it's that they are presenting them with both overt and underlying judgement. Sometimes the judgement is harsh and spewed all over the information. You leave feeling terrible. But sometimes it's just so subtle you can hardly tell but it still leaves you feeling terrible and a little like a failure.

I read a post by a well-known fitness and nutrition expert and it blew me away, literally.

It was talking about being 100%, 100% of the time.

She said she needed to admit she hadn't been 100% with her nutrition for the last month. It was more like an 80/20. My first thought, "okay, what's bad with 80/20. Isn't that realistic?"

Then she goes on to say it was a few dark chocolate chips here and a glass of wine there and a few extra bits of potatoes.

That's where I stopped reading. GIVE ME A BREAK!

If you were to have read that whole post and then thought about your habits how bad do you think you'd feel?!

Also, what I find really funny is that a) dark chocolate and red wine are items found in the Blue Zones b) potatoes are actually a superfood so you probably did yourself some good for eating them c) everyone is human.

So something I highly recommend doing is reflecting and asking yourself "Why do I eat the way I do?" "Why did I choose this diet and not another?" "Why do I believe what I do about nutrition?"

If the answer is something like "I saw an expert say it was the best way to lose weight," or "That's just what we ate growing up," or I've even seen people say "Because it's THE way to be healthy" or "I value my health" or something along those lines it might be time to really start unpacking those beliefs.

Remember, this is a totally normal thing. We listen to experts who preach that their way is the only way, we listen to our parents, who listened to theirs, and so on and never questioned it.

Ingrained thought patterns are just that, ingrained.

Here are a few things that helped me when it came to food and my beliefs:

1. Changing my language

I just did a post in a group I am a guest expert for asking why people ate the way they do. Unsurprisingly I found a lot of people say "Because I value my health," "Because I like being healthy," etc. Someone even said, "I need to have long-lasting energy, get all my nutrients, healthy internal and external parts," (to sum it up).

And all that sounds legitimate but one thing I noticed, particularly regarding the last one, is the language. The use of "I need" or being very definitive. Saying something like I value my health implies that you think your way is the only way and saying "I need" implies you are following a set of rules.

I prefer to change my language to something like "I believe it supports my own personal health," or "I love that it gives me a long-lasting supply of energy, all my nutrients, and supports my internal and external health in the way I desire." It gives me more ownership and makes it about me and my personal health instead of implying that it's "the way."

2. When I spoke about my own diet, I'd take a minute to ask "am I about to say this with love or with judgement?"

This is an important one I think. Judgement is not a way to empower someone to creating long-lasting habits or change their beliefs. It just doesn't. It makes them feel guilty for the choices they are currently making in their life.

It might help for a very short amount of time but eventually, they'll grow to resent it and the reasons why they're doing it. They'll feel trapped in the having to follow the rules in order to take care of their health or lose weight or whatever their reason is for eating that way.

Sending the message with love (or if you cannot then maybe you need to stay quiet for a minute until you can) makes people feel empowered, it makes them feel like they can be successful, it helps them build a positive association with their choice, which creates long-lasting change. Positive reinforcement is an extremely effective method in creating behaviour change.

3. Changing what I thought when I heard the word diet

This was a big one. When we think about the word diet we assume it goes along with unsustainable ways of losing weight. But once I stopped eating with the sole purpose of losing weight "diet" didn't seem to suit my needs.

Diet seems to have two means. Diet, in general, is simply the foods you eat. A diet is a particular structure for eating to lose weight. You can see the confusion.

So I started pairing diet up with another phrase. I'd ask what's your diet / eating pattern? While 'eating pattern' doesn't necessarily feel 100% I think it feels fairly description for my purposes. I'm not on a diet this is just my regular diet or my eating pattern.

4. Once I tackled those then I rethought my beliefs

Why was I really eating this way? Did I buy into the "this is the only way," or "this is the best way," mentality?

I decided it was more about personal ownership.

I believed my eating pattern supported my health the best, I believed it was the most sustainable eating pattern, I prescribe to the ideas discovered in the Blue Zones.

But I also had to admit, a lot of people believe a lot of other things and if I couldn't make them see my way through love and support then I had no right forcing my beliefs on someone else.

I'm going to challenge you.

Take a reread of those tips. Really begin to think about how you can implement them. Spend some time in reflection. Once you do that, rethink your way and actually go and rephrase it. Take ownership of it, be empowered by it, be passionate about it, love it.

Once you do send an email to [email protected] and let me know! I'd love to hear your reworded why and to send a little love your way!

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