I’ve been navigating my way through the confusing, contradictive world of nutrition since I was 10 years old. I’m a “jump all in right away” kinda person, so if I get an idea in my head that Diet X might be the healthiest, best way to lose weight, and I spend a month digesting as much information on the science behind it as possible. I drank the cool-aid and jumped on board the diet train. I let myself feel proud when I went a full day committed to the stringent rules and regulations, and depressed when I ate something that wasn’t part of the plan.
But isn’t it funny (and strange, and sad) how one diet plan can demonize a food while another equally reputable, equally “healthy”, diet plan can put it on a pedestal? Who are these people coming up with this radical diets, and who is to say what is truly the healthiest for MY body?
A great example of this dichotomy at work is fruit and fructose. For 6 months in college I followed a fruitarian diet, claiming that all humans really need to eat is fruit, and maybe a bit of veggies and nuts here and there. Now, this is definitely on the very far end of the extreme of the “eat your fruits!” debate, but its important to acknowledge, as there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who at one point accredited this diet as the “cure-all” diet for all human ailments. I followed this diet adamantly, until one day I realized all of my hair was falling out, my period was completely dysfunctional, I was an emotional wreck, and I still wasn’t thin. This diet was obviously not for me.
Another diet fad that I am no stranger to is the ketogenic, “high-fat-low-carb” trend. There are varying degrees in which one can apply this diet, but people on the more strict end of the scale rarely eat fruit. I’ve read keto books urging diet followers to try to limit fruit to just once or twice a week, and that too much fruit would ruin their ketogen levels and then you wont lose weight or feel great. There are definitely parts of the ketogenic diet that I do love and use in my daily nutrition plan to this day, but the flaw in this diet still lies in its stringency. I went about a month without eating any fruit; nothing but high fat, high protein foods and a bit of leafy greens along side. I felt so dehydrated all the time. I was definitely NOT thriving on this version of the ketogenic diet.
The reason I bring up these examples is to point out the dangerous dichotomy in the diet industry. There will NEVER be a one-size-fits-all diet. You will NEVER be able to read a diet book, proclaim to yourself “this is the perfect diet recipe for me, I will implement it and follow it to a T for the rest of my life!” We need to find a better way to approach out nutrition.
I love giving nutritional advice and strategies to my clients, but it is never my intention to place any pressure or guilt surrounding eating. My goal is to help you:
- develop a healthy relationship with food (or first, help you realize that you have a relationship with food, and to uncover what feelings you currently have with food)
- learn ways to fuel your body that are proven to be beneficial
- leave the decision up to you to decide what actually works for your body, and realize that the world will not come to an end by straying from these guidelines.
Please keep this in mind as you go along with your healthful pursuits. I can also highly recommend the following resources if you want to read more about intuitive eating and health at any size from other sources:
If you’ve read my post about no expectation training then you know how I feel about using weight loss as a motivation for training. So, does that mean you shouldn’t train? Hello no! Remember that our goal is to always do what makes our light shine brighter, and I truly believe that sweat is part of the secret sauce of having a radiant shining inner light.
What is your motivation to workout?
Take out your journal right now. Give me three reasons why you feel a desire to sweat on a daily basis. Here are mine:
Hopefully you can come up with 3 beautiful reason of your own, and remember that “working out to make your light shine brighter” is always one of the best excuses to do anything.
Share in the comments your reasons! Help be a part of the inspiration. And stay tuned for future posts about how I get fit at my size .🙂
Indulge me for a moment by taking a trip down memory lane with me, won’t you?
It’s my first day at a new gym. Of course I’ve worked out before, I’ve always been a quite active person. But I had taken a few months away from training and I was in a bit of a workout rut. My spandex workout pants were squeezing me in places that really didn’t want to be squeezed. Before even walking into the gym, I felt a rush of guilt and shame come over me for letting myself get “soft”.
A tall, muscular, beautiful man walks up to me and introduces himself as my trainer. We then proceed to his office where he poked and prodded my fat to get an accurate “starting point” of my BMI, body fat percent, and the like. If you haven’t had this procedure done, let me tell you how AWFUL it is. It literally felt like I was a cow being examined before being sent to the butcher. Without even asking me what my goals were for being at the gym, he said to me “well, this is your starting weight, give me a few months with you and we’ll have you down to your goal weight!”
Let me put this into perspective to you with an analogy: You come into a car shop with a beautiful, vintage, collector car (I’m not a car person, so just insert your make and model here). The dealer looks her over, and begins pointing out all of its flaws. “This piece here is pretty out of date. You’ve got some scratches on the paint. No one uses these headlights anymore, what are you thinking!” Within a matter of minutes, he’s talked you into how dilapidated your car is, and begins to show you the updated models he’s trying to sell. The one straight from overseas thats never been off the lot that looks exactly like all the other brand new cars.
But your car was beautiful. It had more beauty and worth than his “perfect” cars on the lot. And your body, the way it is right now, has more beauty than this “trimmed down, toned up” version that your personal trainer is trying to sell you.
I didn’t realize this at the time when I was standing half naked in my trainers examining room. I was so grateful that this man was willing to help me get rid of my flaws! That in just a few months, I could stop being ashamed of my body! If only I had a trainer who asked me what my goals were outside of weight loss. Who didn’t see my body as something that needed to reach a goal number. Or as something that was broken without even knowing what it was capable of. Maybe it would have sunk in sooner that my body is actually a miracle, the fact that I’m able to move it the way I do and that I am able to have goals associated with it is a true blessing.
But I realize it now. And that’s why I train the way I train. I never want another woman to feel like she has to change something about herself in the next 6-8 weeks to be an acceptable human. Because you don’t need to. You just need to show up every day, loving yourself the best you can. That’s all any trainer should ever ask of you.