Aside from a description of their health concerns and goals, one of the most common things I hear as a Holistic Nutritionist, is that people are confused and overwhelmed with all the food advice circulating out there. Women will say to me: “I just don’t know what to eat anymore, I am so confused and overwhelmed”.
I typically smile and nod in agreement. I get it, I’ve been there myself. It appears we have all forgotten how to eat to nourish our bodies.
It only takes a quick trip to your favourite social media platform or local bookstore to understand why we’ve become so confused around food. While the list of books that promote and teach balanced and sustainable approaches to eating is shrinking, the number of books and authors on “specific diets”, or fad diets, has grown quite extensive. Furthermore, it is easy to be persuaded that following a specific (usually restrictive) regime will get your health fixed for good.
Yet, I hear all the time that after trying every diet on the face of the planet, women still struggle with their weight and experience all kinds of unpleasant symptoms: low energy, bloating, mood swings, skin problems, headaches, PMS, painful periods, etc. etc. These are clear signs that our bodies have fallen off balance, and the foods that we consume have a direct impact on how we feel on a daily basis.
In my personal and clinical experience, I noticed that the reason why we become so confused around food, is because of years of dieting, restricting, depriving and over-indulging. A life time of dieting makes it difficult for us to tune into our bodies to understand its needs. Dieting hinders our ability to eat intuitively and it fosters fear, confusion and stress around food.
I am not denying that specific diets have a place in the nutrition world. They can be valuable tools to help people with specific symptoms. Yet, not every diet will serve every person. Fad diets, which are typically centered around restriction and deprivation, tend to backfire.
They often lead to a damaged relationship with food, overwhelm, confusion and further disconnect with from bodies.
On the other side of fad diets, is eating a balanced, wholesome diet which nourishes the body and allows us to regain a sense of peace around food. The key is to listen to our bodies. I have personally committed to giving up dieting and to be patient and kind on my journey to better health. As a result, I enjoy more energy and a stable weight.