You know how there’s a new diet or nutrition news article coming out every day?! It’s overwhelming and confusing for most people – especially those of us trying to be healthy and make better choices.
For many people, diet is a 4-letter word (literally and figuratively!) that makes one shutter and recoil. Here’s the thing, diet is simply the kind of foods a person eats habitually. It’s often shaped by our culture, environment, and upbringing (which may explain why some of us struggle to make healthier choices!).
At Well Balanced Nutrition, Kristen and I make it our mission to stay informed and up-to-date about the plethora of information on nutrition and wellness. It’s important to note that each human body, while similar in many ways, is also vastly different in our chemical makeup, including how we metabolize foods, how our bodies respond to stress, and so forth. It’s personal and each of us may require different strategies on the journey.
The Diet Spectrum
To bring more clarity to this conversation, I created a visual guide to help individuals figure out where they are on the spectrum.
On the left, we have our “highly structured” eaters. This includes individuals strictly following a diet, such as Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, etc. This is not including the 2-week crash diets, but more long-term. Then, on the far right we have the our “loosey goosey” eaters. On this end, there is almost no structure, boundaries or plan around what someone is eating each day.
In the middle, there’s balance. This does not mean someone on a gluten-free diet for medical purposes needs to start eating wheat bread to be balanced! It’s simply a tool to check in and determine where you are on the spectrum. Do you find yourself planning what you are going to eat each day before you get hungry? Or are you waiting to decide what you want in the moment day-by-day or meal-by-meal?
To become highly structured may be useful for setting new habits. Sometimes pressing the reset button with a highly structured diet plan can change how we think about or relate to food. The question is, what do you need to do to bring more balance in your diet? For some it may include more boundaries. Yet for others it may include a permission slip to eat off the plan every so often. Eating balanced feels different for each of us. Letting go of the shame means embracing our slip ups and planning to do better next time.
Food for thought:
As you go throughout your day or week, ask yourself is this choice Well Balanced? We find it most helpful to plan ahead! That way the decision is made before we get bombarded with too many choices.