In this post you’re going to learn 3 steps that you can put in practice right away to get clarity around how to eat a healthy diet that works for you without feeling confused.
You’ve probably had times when you eat something and then wondered: hmm maybe I ate too many carbs, maybe I didn’t eat enough protein, maybe it had too many calories, maybe I should just have eaten a salad, maybe I should have waited one more hour before I ate. Man, I can never make the right choice.
You have so many choices of diets out there. There’s people telling you to eat high fat because it promises 24/7 fat burning, there’s people telling you to eat paleo because it’s the way “our ancestors ate” and they were healthy. Then you have the ones telling you that the plant based diet is the way to go to leave a better footprint, others tell you that carbs are the problem, that sugar is the problem, that fruit is the problem, that you should try fasting, or intermittent fasting, the list goes on………
Understandably enough you feel confused, I felt confused too until I sorted this out in my head, and hopefully by the end of this post you feel more at ease and clear on what kind of healthy diet can work for you.
We have more access to information than ever before in history, and yet we are more confused than ever about what we should be eating, what is healthy and what’s not.
Why do we feel confused about what to eat?
So, why do we feel confused about what foods to eat, how much to eat, what time to eat at, etc, especially when we are trying to achieve a goal like losing weight?. Well, I have a few observations from my own experience and from my work with clients of why this is happening:
First of all, The field of nutrition is all over the place these days. Everyone wants to tell you their version of how to eat healthy and why you should listen to them. Science keeps trying to homogenize us and tell us what we all should eat.
New studies come out every day, with new information about possible benefits and disadvantages of eating certain foods.
You also have all kinds of “experts” in the online world giving you their version of a healthy diet with valuable reasons for why those approached can work.
You’ve likely been trying to manipulate your body through food for a long time, and if you haven’t gotten the results you expected from eating a certain way, this has likely influenced the way you feel about eating certain kinds of foods.
When we have been using food as a tool to control out weight, we forget the true reasons why we eat; we forget that we eat with the ultimate purpose of surviving and maintaining a healthy body that is going to allow us to fulfill our purpose on this planet.
We forget to enjoy food, to take pleasure from it, because we are so preoccupied with the “effects” of eating. We constantly wonder what certain foods are going to do in our body. Is this meal going to make me put on weight? Is my body going to accumulate fat from this avocado?, etc..
We have too many choices of foods available to us. Here in Canada, we have an increasing amount of new foods available from all over the world. Lots of new fruits from mexico that you could never find before, like papayas and guavas (which is great for me because I grew up with these foods).
We also have a large amount of “superfoods” like chia seeds, goji berries, spirulina, and so many more exotic foods that we can now try.
Some of this foods have become so popular on the internet that people naturally feel like they should be eating these foods too, but no everyone has the genes to properly digest these foods.
Science keeps studying foods and finding out properties that can be useful for human health. They put out a lot of information out there available for everyone to find it on the internet, and suddenly everyone is talking about the health miracles of things like turmeric. Science also keeps trying to homogenize us and tell us what all humans should be eating, but it doesn’t work like that. We are all humans but we all metabolize, digest and assimilate differently. Not all “healthy foods” work for everyone.
Think about it for a second, are any of the above some of the reasons why you might be feeling confused about food?
I had two clients coming to see me for a free session last week, and when I asked them what they needed help with, they told me this:
I just need some guidance, I think I know how to eat healthy but I’m just so confused by all the things I read. I don’t know if I should try fasting, what times of the day I should eat at, how many calories I should eat, If I’m eating too many carbs, because you know what they say……carbs are bad, right? I read a lot of stuff on the internet, and I always end up more confused.
Maybe you can relate to that too, so let’s break it down.
I’m gonna give you very simple steps so that you can stay on your lane, find out how to eat healthy in a way that works for you, and let everyone else do their thing.
First of all, Pause for a second and ask yourself:
What is it that I want a healthy diet to do for me right now ?
You might have been using food and exercise up to this point to change your body in some way shape or form. What happens when we do that is that we come to a point where we don’t know why we eat anymore, we don’t even know what we like, when we’re hungry, how much to eat and what to eat.
We have become disconnected from the real purpose of eating; which is to keep you alive and healthy. Eating becomes a tool to manipulate our body into losing weight, and this adds to our confusion about food.
The perfect healthy diet for you, might be different if your goal is to be healthy, rather than lose weight, or drop a certain amount of pounds in a certain amount of time. It will also be different if your goal is to build muscle. The perfect diet is a moving target, and it’s dependant on many different variables as I mentioned in my previous post in this topic.
Confusion vs uncertainty
I want to point out that there is a difference between confusion and uncertainty. It seems like humans are the only creatures on the planet who are confused about what to eat. Not sure why that is, Maybe we have too many choices?.
Confusion sounds like this: Oh my god I don’t know what I’m gonna eat today, everything is so confusing, I don’t know if I should eat more protein or more fat or less carbs. This is crazy, I wish I didn’t have to eat, how can I eat healthy without feeling confused!, etc..
Uncertainty is: humm I wonder what I’m gonna eat tomorrow…. Oh well, I’ll figure something out. I’m sure I’ll be ok.
Confusion causes stress, it paralyzes you. Drop your confusion, it doesn’t belong!
Uncertainty is part of life, let’s embrace it.
Here are 3 practical tools to apply right now so you can learn how to eat healthy without feeling confused.
Accept the fact that there are a wide diversity of opinions out there. Theories, scientific studies, experiences. There’s all kinds of practitioners who have had success with a certain diet, they get excited and they want to tell the world that this is the right answer. Most people have good intentions in sharing their experiences, but it doesn’t mean that because it worked for them, it will work for you.
Having so many diverging opinions and approaches is not a bad thing, it gives you choices, lots of possibilities to explore and find what works for you.
The key is not forcing yourself and your body into an approach that is not sustainable for you simply because it promises “weight loss” or “eternal health”. Whatever diet you choose to follow, should feel good to you.
For example: if you love carbs, don’t go on a low carb diet, because you’ll likely feel miserable and frustrated. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure going into something that you know you won’t stick to in the long term.
Know this: You can lose weight and be perfectly healthy with a high carb diet if it works for you.
Let’s just accept and embrace the fact that Nutrition is like Marc David calls it; The Wild West. We have all kinds of people advocating to all kinds of diets for good reasons, and all these people are right and wrong at the same time.
Embrace the multiple possibilities, and the fact that the perfect way to eat for everyone doesn’t exist.
How to go about choosing the right foods or the right approach for you?
You don’t even have to hire me as your weight loss coach if you know how to access your own internal nutrition coach. Yes, you have one, it’s inborn. Your internal nutrition coach, also called Body wisdom is accessible to you at any time of the day and you can use it to decide how to eat healthy without feeling confused; what to eat, how much and when.
Here’s how to get started:
We all have foods that we naturally lean towards day to day. If a nutritional theory or diet intrigues you, try it! But do it with curiosity with willingness to explore, to learn something about yourself and what nourishes you.
Don’t do it solely as part of your agenda to lose weight or change your body because the experience and the outcome will be completely different. If you are obsessively attached to the outcome of losing weight or changing your body, you’ll block the flow of weight loss.
If a new food intrigues you, try it!. If you feel like you just want to eat blueberries for days, do it! Listen to your cravings, listen to your body. It’s talking to you in a hidden language.
I often find myself wanting to eat pineapple and I eat it for days and days, then the craving wears off and I start to crave a different food. I know that when I haven’t had meat for a while, there comes a day when I crave a big steak, and it tastes so good.
Experiment and listen for feedback, your body will let you know if the foods you’re eating are working or not. The digestive system is the place where we often get a lot of feedback from; through stomach upset, diarrhea, or constipation, gas, etc. Pay attention to those types of symptoms and adjust your choices accordingly. Let it be imperfect.
You can be perfectly healthy with an “imperfect” diet.
Most of us who have dieted for a long time, are used to impose our rules and manipulate our body through food an exercise to make it do what we want it to do. When this doesn’t happen, and we don’t get the results we wanted, we get frustrated, with start to hate food because it’s not doing what we want it to do.
So, instead of trying to find the “perfect way to eat healthy” let it be imperfect, try one thing, try the other, decide for yourself what eating healthy means to you. It’s a beautiful practice.
Once you’ve made a choice, trust that your body will know what to do with that food, and release. Move on. Your body has intelligence that science hasn’t even begun to glimpse. Don’t underestimate it.
Become interested in your own nutritional quest, and start to create your own nutritional story.
The only nutritional rule you need to know and follow.
Whatever you decide to eat, make sure it’s the best quality. This is a great place to start, just focusing on Quality and letting go of all the other rules.
- That it has been grown with dignity, with care and love.
- That it doesn’t pollute the environment, that is natural, organic (depending)
- That is as close as nature provides it as possible,
- That it hasn’t been genetically modified,
- That it hasn’t’ been treated with chemicals.
- That is hasn’t been produced in a factory.
- That supports fair farming practices.
- Make sure you buy foods from people and businesses you want to support.
- You get the picture.
When you decide to eat out or eat something that is not “so healthy” like pizza, pasta, ice cream, etc. What is the highest quality version of that food that you can find?
For example, when I crave pasta, I make sure I go to a place where they use products brought straight from Italy, because the wheat they use to make the pasta is likely not sprayed with genetically engineered pesticides.
Do the best you can!
Drop the confusion and Choose Trust
One of the things I teach my weight loss students is that at the end of the day, the best medicine for nutritional confusion is trust. If you live your life being confused about how to nourish your body, chances are you haven’t learnt to trust yourself and your body.
When you eat, trust that you made the best effort to choose the best healthy food for you given your possibilities and limitations at the time, then trust that your body will know what to do with that food, trust that it will be digested, and absorbed properly. Let your body do it’s job, and move on to the next experience in life.
Every time you feel confused about how to eat healthy, choose trust! Trust empowers you , while confusion weakens you. Trust is the ultimate tool for nutritional mastery.
If this article inspired you, share it with others below, it might just be what they need to hear. 🙂