WANT TO EAT HEALTHIER? FOCUS ON THE EXPERIENCE, NOT RULES

With so many ways to quantify your body and what goes in it, healthy eating has gotten overly complicated. Here’s why those minute details don’t really matter in the long run.


BY: EMILY FONNESBECK, RD, CD, CLT

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear a question about nutrition that makes me wonder:

When did nutrition get so hard?  

We are putting butter in coffee, using pH strips to test our urine, meticulously combining foods, diligently tracking food and exercises, and spending loads of money on new diet books, color-coded food containers and supplements.  

It seems like we are getting stuck, fixated, and obsessed with small details that are really just distractions.  In those questions, there is so much distrust around food and our own ability to feed ourselves. That’s why it’s so important to understand that trusting yourself with food is innate.  

We don’t actually start out distrustful, we learn it.

This could be due to parents overstepping their boundaries, dieting history, traumatic events around food, or doing too much “research” on Google.  Your problem isn’t that you can’t trust yourself, it’s that you don’t believe you can.

And that’s why it’s helpful to take a step back and identify what is working, and what isn’t. In the past, you may have determined if something is working based solely on how perfectly you followed the rules, and how it affected your weight.  

Your relationships could be falling apart, your energy levels could be at an all-time low, you could be losing hair, not sleeping well, or feeling very emotionally- and physically-deprived. But if you’ve been perfect with the rules and you’re losing weight, it’s ‘working’.  

On the other hand, you could have thriving relationships, a ton of energy, great sleep and feel very content. The only thing you haven’t been doing is following food rules obsessively, your weight hasn’t budged, so your mind goes towards: “it’s not working!”  

How does that make any sense?  

For the sake of your health, it’s absolutely vital, to put food rules and weight on the back burner.  When that becomes the driving motivation, both your body and mind suffer. On the other hand, when you cultivate habits that support your deeper values and well-being regardless of weight and body shape, you can learn to trust your own experiences with food.

Ultimately, we learn best through our own experience.

Eating without restriction and deprivation while trusting your intuitive signals of hunger and fullness will help you naturally moderate choices that support your own well-being.  But until you experience it, it will be hard to believe.

While you may assume that having someone tell you how and what to eat will help, it actually only hurts. It pulls you further and further away from living and experiencing…the very things we are here on earth to do.

Meet your fear of food with gratitude, and allow yourself to feel encouraged by the progress you are seeing. Trust your experience, and have faith that you will figure it out by continuing to listen and learn from your own body and mind.  

The act of putting food rules and weight concerns on the back burner will open up the possibility for health to be something you can feel now, rather than some number or goal you hope to reach.  And when you stop, what you’ll find is that worrying about food and weight was actually creating the problem in the first place.

But then again, you won’t know until you experience it.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: BROOKE LARK

Emily Fonnesbeck, RD, CD, CLT is a Utah-based private practice Registered Dietitian. Instead of creating unnecessary restrictions, Emily focuses on helping individuals become confident and in charge of their own well-being through Intuitive Eating and Mindful Living. She is a strong believer and advocate for helping people become capable individuals who are confident in taking care of themselves.  Make a visit and read more from Emily.

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