The blog I wish I read when I was younger
How do you determine if a diet is successful or not? Is it determined by weight loss? Is it determined by performance? Is it determined by simplicity? Nutrition can be such a confusing topic because there is so much misinformation and misleading information out there. However, I firmly believe the reason 90% of diets fail is because we have the wrong North Star. We are following the wrong path. A path laid in restriction, short-term thinking, and harmful mindsets. This is the blog I wish I would have read when I was younger because I think it would provide the right framework for building a sustainable, effective, and healthy nutrition lifestyle.
HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS WITH FOOD
A diet should only be considered successful if it helps promote healthy relationships with food. Sounds bold right? Let me explain. When we build healthy relationships with food we actually create the right framework for consistency. When we realize all food plays a role and function we create awareness and context instead of confusion. When we create consistency it leads to sustainability and THAT is what creates results when it comes to nutrition. You can't lose weight with 1 salad and you can't gain fat with 1 cookie. Progress/results take time in either direction. Consistency is the key and healthy relationships help build consistency. If this is true then how do we build healthy relationships with food? We need to have proper information so we can stay away from common pitfalls. The nutrition industry loves to tweak and bias information for the sake of sales, marketing, and culture. Don't fall for this. Instead, here are two tips to help build healthy relationships with food and as a byproduct, the best results of your life!
Tip #1: Food is Good
Food is actually good for us. It sounds weird when you say that out loud but I do believe some people need to hear that. When we realize that all types of food have benefits then we can create awareness and context. We can enjoy all functions of food and this is what leads to consistency and sustainability. Carbohydrates have a function, fats have a function, and protein has a function. Fruit doesn't make you fat. Fat doesn't make you fat. Sugar doesn't make you fat. Carbs don't make you fat. Oil doesn't make you fat. It's the larger context of these factors interconnected that lead to fat loss or weight gain. All food is okay in moderate (except for TransFat & High Fructose Corn Syrup). None of these things are inherently bad and we have to stop using language that infers this. I'll explain why.
Trap #1: Cheat Meals
When we believe certain foods are inherently bad we start to demonize certain food groups we tend to use language to support these beliefs. Cheat meals are one of the most destructive things that are keeping you back from your goals. A cheat meal is a food(s) that you have deemed inherently bad. Because you have deemed this food as bad, when you inevitable eat some of it, you subconsciously believe that you have done something wrong and "cheated". You aren't bad because you had a donut and you aren't good because you had a salad. This leads you down a very dangerous emotional, mental, and physical path. This strips you of joy and peace and instead gives you shame and guilt. It will make vacations, holidays, and social outings very stressful and rob you of precious memories. To make matters worse you will feel unmotivated, frustrated, and annoyed because you will never be able to see long-term results. It is impossible to build long-term sustainability within a cheat meal framework without creating some form of damage.
Tip #2: Eat Food You Love
You should be eating the foods you love on a regular basis. You should be looking forward to your meals. This is a sign that you are creating a sustainable structure. 80% of your foods should come from whole, nutrient dense, non-processed sources. This is usually foods with 5 ingredients or less. Look for different combinations, spices, sauces, and structures with these foods to liven it up. The other 20% can come from foods that society will deem "less advantageous" such as cookies, ice cream, chips etc. There are two primary reasons why you want some (10-20%) of these foods in your diet. First, eating these foods on a regular basis allows you to never feel restricted. This allows you to eat in moderation and drastically reduces cravings. Secondly, when you are eating these foods on a regular basis and start seeing progress it helps build new neuropathways in your brain and promotes healthy relationships with food. You actually begin to realize that these foods aren't inherently bad. At the end of your day ask yourself this question. Is this diet enhancing my life or detracting from it? Nutrition should be giving us life not taking it away.
Trap #2: Being Too Rigid
Stay away from being too strict and rigid with your foods and meal plans. Eating out of TubberWare 6 times per day and eating week old chicken and broccoli will only get you so far. Remember, when it comes to building sustainability we want to think in DECADES not DAYS.
I hope this helps you start creating the proper framework for healthy relationships with food. I truly believe that this is where it starts. Once we have the proper understanding then we can build sustainability and amazing results. If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out! Otherwise take a look at our nutritional services if you need specific direction. We will meet you where you are at! Your best is yet to come.