Finding a balance between health and indulgence can be tricky. We have known for years that our eating habits and mental health are intimately connected, yet there is not one diet that’s proven effective. The problem with so many of the diets and weight loss regimes out there is that they don’t take into account our day-to-day lives, and they definitely don’t allow flexibility. Instead, the key to a sustainable lifestyle is listening to your own needs with intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating is an approach that encourages a healthy and flexible relationship with food. When you eat intuitively, you listen to your own body’s cues and learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings. Although it seems simple enough, the decisions we make when we listen to our bodies are often clouded by years of dieting and ‘food myths’. We are taught from a young age that success means maintaining a small waist and that restrictive eating can increase our happiness. But, is that really true? When we hold ourselves to the strict rules of dieting, it becomes difficult to enjoy any situation where food is involved.
A few years ago, you may remember the results of foods tested with the Glycemic Index populating many health publications. The Index ranks carbohydrate foods on their effect on blood glucose levels, or more commonly referred to as blood sugar levels. Foods are ranked on a scale of 0-100, and those foods rated 70+ are ‘high’, foods 55-70 are ‘moderate’ and any foods below 55 are ‘low’. The higher the ranking, the more the food affects spikes in blood sugar levels.
The results that were circulated claimed that carrots had a high Glycemic Index, and as a result many people started avoiding carrots all together. What the study forgot to mention was that they tested food in 50 grams of carbohydrate portions. The amount of carrots required to see this spike in blood sugar would be 1½ pounds! Considering how unlikely it is to eat that portion of carrots in one sitting, the results displayed were incredibly misleading. Carrots are still incredibly high in Vitamin A, and are a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and fiber. Unfortunately, we see time and time again that popular research misleads us with what are often unclear findings.
Moderation is the answer to the inconsistencies of the Glycemic Index, and moderation is the answer to living a healthy lifestyle. When you change your perspective to focus on balance, you break the rules of the dieting world. Sometimes, nutrition needs to be put aside all together to heal an unhealthy relationship with food. Your mental health is more important than your physical appearance. We all deserve support and positive words.
The real path to happiness comes when you commit to bringing calm and control back into your life. Believe that your body knows what’s best, and trust in your decisions. You deserve to eat what and when you want, and you deserve to feel true contentment. For many years, I struggled with this knowledge. Although I knew that my body was beautiful, I couldn’t help but wish to be a smaller size. That is until I realized that I would never be satisfied with my body, unless my mindset changed. We need flexibility in our expectations to allow for real life. Things won’t always go as planned, and that’s okay.
No, you can’t ignore nutrition, but you can’t take everything you hear to heart. The world of nutritional science is still very young, and it consistently gets flipped on its head. What remains true and is the need for moderation and intuitive eating. This approach may not be as newsworthy, but it’s incredibly effective. Don’t let the dieting world make you feel inadequate, and don’t let your life be put on hold for the newest fad diet. You are beautiful and you are strong!
Until next time,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.