There’s so much health, wellness and nutrition information out today that you can easily get overwhelmed and even confused by the conflicting advice. One website I was searching had an article that said “drink two liters of water per day,” while another article said, “drink only when you’re thirsty.”
I constantly hear from my clients that they are overwhelmed, stressed and confused and don’t know who to believe anymore. Their inboxes are full of emails from bloggers, doctors, and wellness experts all claiming to have the latest information, studies and tips you need to improve your health. I understand their frustration, especially when you’re trying to do research on a nutrition topic. I personally like to source from medical journals and scientific research that is evidence-based. But that can be hard to decipher if you don’t understand medical jargon and it’s a lengthy read!
My advice is to clean up your inbox and follow people you trust and those who give you valuable information that you understand and resonate with. Stop the constant funnel of information, or should I say misinformation.
The main problem with nutrition advice is the study of it is fairly new. We can only get true data after following someone’s health for their lifetime to witness what effects their diet had on their health. However, it’s extremely difficult to trace a particular food or item in the diet to disease outcomes years later, especially given lifestyle factors and other variables.
I believe that if you can swear off all of those crazy fad diets, juice cleanses and food rules, you can once again have a healthy relationship with food. You need to listen to your body and follow its advice. If you have bloating after eating something or develop a rash, you probably shouldn’t be eating that item. Do you feel tired after a huge plate of pasta? Perhaps cut back and add more veggies and protein to balance your blood sugar. Once you can slow down and really tune in to your body’s rhythm, hunger signals and distress signals, you will learn what to feed yourself.
Slow down and pay attention to your meal. Many of us are eating on the go, in the car, and at our desks. We aren’t focused on the smells, the appearance or taste – we’re just shoving it in. Take a moment to have a few deep breaths before a meal and relax your parasympathetic nervous system. Savor each bite and enjoy your meal. It will help you feel fuller and allow you to listen to your body’s fullness cues. Mindfulness and being present in the moment are the keys.
Stop the fads and trends. Are you eating egg whites or avoiding eggs because of cholesterol or avoiding fat, because it “makes you fat?” If you enjoy the whole egg, eat it. If you enjoy bacon, eat it. If you want a donut, sit down, smell it, and savor every.single.bite. Depriving yourself of treats only leads to overindulgence down the road.
Don’t put yourself in a diet box. There’s no reason on Earth that need you to proclaim to the world that you eat a specific way. Maybe you’re a vegetarian who enjoys a fish taco every now and then or you’re vegan, but eat local raw honey. Or, perhaps you eat a Paleo diet, but can’t give up cheese. Who cares! Eat what you want, enjoy it and don’t feel like you need to put yourself into a specific category. I call my eating style “Flexitarian” – I eat whatever my body tells me it wants.
Make it sustainable. Whichever way you do eat, make it something simple, tasty and fun so that you can sustain this way of eating for the rest of your life. When I ditched processed foods and switched to whole foods, I took my time. I slowly started integrating healthy salads, smoothies and grass-fed proteins. It didn’t happen overnight and by taking it slow, I’m proud to say that I love my healthy diet of whole, clean and local foods for five years now. When you diet, it’s usually something short-term and not a “way of eating” that is sustainable forever. I urge you to source locally, eat fresh, whole foods and cook as much as possible on your own. This alone will improve your health tremendously!
Hopefully these tips will help you release some of your food guilt around eating and you can have a healthy relationship with food and your body again. Spending time making meals with love and eating them with our full attention can help you nurture and nourish your body.