The D Word, a weighty topic (for some)!
Decadent. Delicious. Divine.
All delightful D words however this article is about this D word – D.I.E.T.
Please know I’m not positioning myself as an expert in the field of nutrition. My goal is to share my experience with diet and my journey to a better way of eating in the hope that it may help you along your path.
I chose this topic because I know diet is an area in women’s lives that causes dissatisfaction, judgement, confusion, unhappiness and self-loathing.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When I planned this article I was amazed at how quickly I could compile a list words that have a negative association with the word diet.
Regime. Loss. Gain. Denial. Varied. Unhealthy. Restricted. Junk. Crash. Frustrating. Binge. Strict. Annoying. Stressful. Skinny. Quantity. Irritable. Obsessed. Slim. Yoyo. Overweight. Healthy. Hungry. Depressing. Struggle. Fat (not used in our household)!
Then there are the types of diets we read so much about and are encouraged to follow.
Sugar free. Low or no carbs. Paleo. Gluten free. Vegetarian. Keto. Organic. Meal replacement shakes. Vegan. Clean eating. Calorie counting. Raw foodist.
It was the start of 2015 that I finely tuned my attention to diet around the time I decided to become a coach. I knew that to be the best coach possible for others, I needed to start in my own backyard – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I started with the physical.
I embarked on a 64-day elimination diet living on 500 calories a day for a good part of that period. Well worth the commitment it required.
It was when I started to really educate myself about diet choices including the quantity and quality of food I put into my mouth.
I became a little bit obsessed. Okay, perhaps more than a little obsessed. I was super skinny and totally in love with myself so of course I was going to fight tooth and nail to stay that way!
My life revolved around food. How I ate. When I ate. What I ate. Where I ate.
Grain fed or grass fed. Organic. Wild caught or farmed fish. Olive oil or coconut oil. Refined sugar free. Gluten free. Wheat free. BPA free. Free range eggs. Oh but how much space do the chickens have to roam and what are the chickens being fed? Watch out if a product was tainted with guar gum!
I bought too many books, read too much and ended up feeling conflicted and confused but at least I was still skinny!
Do you think it served me well?
Hell no! I realised it was an unhealthy state of mind and I eventually talked myself down and came to my senses.
I adopted a new approach and became a flexitarian. My definition – a Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan foodie.
Allow me to share what my obsessive experience taught me:
What suits one person doesn’t always suit another. And that’s okay!
This was my BIGGEST learning.
To listen to my body and observe how foods made me feel.
My mood, energy levels and exercise.
To enjoy what I eat and when I eat.
I used to inhale food in 30 seconds flat. I’m now a more mindful eater and best of all, linger longer with those around the table with me.
The equation is simple.
If I don’t want a bloated stomach or dimpled thighs, then don’t eat the foods that cause it. And if I do, then I accept the consequences of my choice.
Coffee is quite okay.
In fact, there is evidence that suggests 2-3 cups a day can decrease the risk of dementia. Enjoy that morning coffee!
It’s okay to drink alcohol (in moderation).
The research also backs this one. Low to moderate alcohol intake, particularly red wine, decreases the risk of dementia. I say cheers to that!
Ditch the guilt.
I apply the 90/10 rule or 70/30 if on holiday. 90% of the time I eat well and the 10%? Whatever I damn feel like. Someone pass me the hot chips!
I believe in good gut health.
Again, evidence to back gut-brain health. Bring on the shot of probiotic and some Kim chi (when I remember)!
Hydration is important
I drink 1 litre of water to every 22kg of my body weight and more on the days I sweat it out. Good-bye headaches and lethargy.
One word – Yumprint
I love variety and when I find a recipe online I save it using Yumprint. Love making life easy!
So there you have it, my journey to landing in a healthy, well-rounded frame of mind when it comes to diet. A flexitarian.
I’m going to quickly put my coach hat on because I believe it’s worth exploring attitudes about diet especially if it’s an area you struggle with. What are your beliefs about food and specifically, what’s really behind the diet choices that cause unhappiness in this area of your life.
Finally, I’ll leave you to ponder this…
“What we eat really affects our brain, our behaviour, our neural circuits, and our health in many ways.” Society for Neuroscience, 2014.
Until next time,
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