If you’ve read this blog a time or two then you know my goal is to promote a new way of looking at achieving lasting results through focusing on the whole picture… eating, thinking and moving.
Within each of these is a ton of information on how to live better, eat better and move better. Everyone has their own twist and to be honest, much of it sounds pretty reasonable.
So who is right? Which info should you rely on when it comes to lasting change?
If you’re like me you like to soak it all in, but can we know too much?
PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS?
I’ve noticed that many fail to act because they are paralyzed by where to start. The bombarding of info isn’t short, but the ability for people to respond to it is. I also believe this failure is just one cog in the wheel of the yo-yo dieting cycle.
Nowhere in the realm of healthy living is there more info than on the topic of diet. There are literally thousands of books each claiming to be “it”. Is it Paleo, or GAPS? What about Raw or Vegetarian?
So the question must be asked, “Is there a perfect diet?” and “Which should I follow?”
We are told to believe that there is one perfect, one size fits all way for everything, including food and eating. If one diet works for our favorite celebrity or our best friend then it’s got to work for us too? I think by now we know this isn’t the case.
As I’ve stated before I think nearly every diet has its valid points but none can suit everyone.
A MATTER OF FOCUS
Being that we can pull merit from any diet, maybe it’s not only about food like many would have us believe. We’ve all done some type of diet and of these most if not all have a food focus. Eat this, don’t eat that… you know the drill.
I personally believe there is no such thing as good vs. bad food, just food that doesn’t test well for you in quantity, quality and timing.
Obviously food choices are an important fit to the puzzle but what is often left out and not fully discussed is the role of psychology and diet. By this I mean, what is the psychological state of the individual (angry, sad, happy, elated, bored etc) when they eat? And how does this play into lasting results?
I’m guessing most have never really sat down and thought about the effect of states on our eating behavior. Again, why would we when we’ve been told it’s all about the food either in quantity in quality or in both?
I’m now starting to believe that too much focus is put on food alone.
WHY IT’S NOT THE FOOD
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about why food or exercise are most likely not what is holding you back but that psychology was the limiting factor.
What if it was a matter of simply changing your focus to addressing psychological states? By changing focus we are approaching the problem from another angle, asking different questions, questions that lead us to better answers and longer lasting change.
Many times if you can find out the reason (state) you are doing something that isn’t working you can become aware of how to change it (skill). This is known as states vs. skills.
Psychological states are things like bored, happy, sad, anxious, tired.
Skills are any action that can change your state, in this case eating. The take away is that your skill can be anything… any action!
They can be interchangeable but in most cases I see, and experience, people eating in a poor state. They are putting skills before states. For example, if I eat (skill) because I am bored (state) then I am setting myself up for eating outside of my intuitive need and decreasing my chances of lasting fat loss or increased health.
On the other hand if I create awareness around eating and notice what state I am in prior to, I can better act on that awareness with the appropriate skill. A state of hunger and be a good time to act on the skill of eating.
So why do we continue to make poor decisions when it comes to food? Because we don’t ask good questions that would provide more resourceful actions or skills to choose from.
Food selection is a skill. If we focus on this first, many times we are not in the best or most resourceful state. How many times have you been in a hurry and drove through the closest place available just to fill up? Most likely it wasn’t a great choice and negatively affected you mentally and physically.
Focus on states first.
How do we go about creating awareness of our mental states?
STEP 1 -LISTENING AND ASKING APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS
- Am I hungry?
- Is it food that my body is truly asking for?
- What sounds best?
- How would I feel after eating a particular food?
- How much do I ‘need’?
- Do I need more? Less?
These are very basic questions that can at least start the process. They will allow you to fine tune your feedback and prune as necessary.
Now, what about food? What about macro or micro nutrients? How much fat/protein/carbs should each of us consume? I don’t know, because I am not you. I am not your body asking those questions for you. But I can start with a simple suggestion based on experience….
STEP 2 – GETTING BACK TO A MORE TRADITIONAL DIET COMPOSED OF HIGH QUALITY, NOURISHING ORGANIC FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THAT ARE PREFERABLY LOCAL, AND CONSUMING MEATS RAISED ON PASTURE, IS A GREAT PLACE TO START
If you’re not there yet, no worries. This change is a journey and one that we want to last. Lasting change happens over time, not over night. Approach it one step at a time. Don’t forget to sign up to my list to the right of this page —>
- what small changes can you make today that would be better? ex. adding fruit? adding vegetables? going organic? eliminating processed foods? fast food? testing different fats/oils? eating more or less meats? choosing local and sustainable sources?
- If you ask this questions daily, you will be amazed how not only your nutrition/eating changes, but many other things will follow in line. This is intuitive eating.
Most diet books are based around strict guidelines eliminating huge portions of a traditional diet like meat, carbohydrates (grains) or fats. I have tried many of the various diets out there and finally realize none of them where built specifically for me, I had to build it for myself.
These various food focused diets did give me tools to ask better questions, and I did learn some interesting tidbits about myself along the way, but it wasn’t until I paid attention to my psychological states that my selection of that food changed. What I have found, is that I was in a good state I chose foods closer to how they have thrived in nature which always tests better for me in the end.
It’s not about a complete shift tomorrow, or the next day… but a gradual answer to the question, Is this better? Isn’t that what it’s ALL about? Being better today, than we were yesterday? It’s really not rocket science, but it does take quality, tested practice and some patience. Ultimately what you come up with is a sustainable way to look and feel how you’ve always wanted and is truly yours.
Here’s to the the journey ahead!