Our collective “diet perception” is so diverse, how could any single way of eating be the only right way and why let it control how we show up in the world?
I dare you to consider whether or not certain eating limitations — or lack there of — are truly helping you be the healthiest version of yourself. And whether it’s really necessary to put others down for their choices. Because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: to eat in a way that makes us feel good, so that we can live happier, healthier lives.
Now, on to some food for thought. Here are three signs you may be sabotaging your own health:
1. You treat your diet like religion.
Diet trends are gaining popularity each and every year. In 2013, the Paleo Diet was the most googled diet, well ahead of Atkins, Vegan, or Mediterranean Diets. The number of people who are vegetarian in the U.S. has more than doubled between 2008-2015 from 2.3% to 5%. Vegetarian cookbooks are the fastest growing sector in food publishing.
I’m happy to see people taking an interest in their health, and I’m ecstatic at the fact that more people are opting to decrease their intake of animal products. However, what concerns me is the inflexible allegiance people have with their diet choices. We make rules for ourselves and consider anything contradictory to be bullsh*t, regardless of whether or not there is merit.
Vegans don’t want to hear that eating animal products on occasion can actually be a good thing. Our carnivorous friends don’t want to hear that you can live and thrive on a more plant-based diet, and that you don’t need meat to obtain proper amounts of protein.
By thinking so one-sided, we are getting in the way of our own health progression. At the end of the day, giving our bodies the nutrients it needs to survive is the priority; it’s the only way we can live optimal lives. So loosening up our dietary preferences a bit — and not placing serious judgement on others — is a good thing.
2. You live for cheat days.
I’ve seen so many friends on diets who couldn’t wait for Sunday to roll around so they could live it up on their “cheat day.” Here’s the thing. Playing mental games and depriving your body 80% of the week usually backfires. It becomes a free-for-all of pizza, ice cream, and anything else that was forbidden five days earlier.
You feel like crap afterwards and your body is pretty much like, “WTF?”. When deprivation and weight loss are the focus, you set yourself up for failure. Period. Yes, fitting into the jeans you wore at age 25 would be nice, but isn’t having a body that’s free of disease, inflammation, and other issues a better goal? Focusing on being healthy and treating your body well (as unsexy as it may sound), is what usually leads to shedding excess weight and more. Think: abundant energy, smooth digestion, and serious clarity.
When we eat to feel good, everything falls into place. Trust me. So make “cheat days” a thing of the past and drop the bingeing routine. Your body will thank you.
3. You believe that food dictates your lifestyle.
Raise your hand if you’ve canceled dinner with a girlfriend because you were afraid you couldn’t find anything on the menu. Or you became a vegan because everyone else at your favorite yoga studio was doing it. Or you skipped a fun family dinner with all of your favorite things because you were on a juice cleanse.
If this sounds familiar, your healthier lifestyle is affecting your relationships and your life in a negative way. So not fun, right?! The way we choose to eat doesn’t always have to be inconvenient. It’s actually an opportunity to get creative, own your choices, and still show up for the people in your life that matter most.
Food is meant to be enjoyed. It’s also our fuel — something that keeps us energized and alive. And it’s meant to bring people together. To share a meal with others is an experience that is meant to be truly relished. Not avoided.
So there you have it, friends. If you’re engaging in any of these behaviors (as I once was myself!), it’s time to rethink your approach towards your own health and wellbeing. Acceptance is a beautiful thing. Compassion is another. If you aim to eat and live so you can be the best version of you, and allow others to do the same regardless of their choices, we would all have the opportunity to reach our potential and feel amazing, inside and out.
If you’re ready to make your own diet rules and learn to eat in a way that works best for your unique self, make sure you download my ebook “Ditch The Labels: 4 Steps To Designing Your Perfect Diet” here.