By now if you have graciously read my previous few posts I have given a lot of insight into my relationship with food. From overeating, under eating, fad diet-ing, macro-counting, and all sorts of other "ings". I have zero #regrets as all of the "experimentation" has given me experience with what works best for me as well as an appreciation for what others go through when it comes to the struggle of finding "what works". I definitely agree that nutrition is not a "one size fits all" kind of thing but there are a few tips I would give to anyone trying to find their way in in the complicated world of eat this not that but maybe this?
Do your homework, and don't stop: No you do not need to obsess and read every nutrition article that is blasted on social media every day and study nutrition at university in order to be knowledgeable about what you eat and how you fuel your body. Simply put don't be ignorant to the knowledge that is readily available. We have one body and one life so while I know it can be overwhelming and at times annoying, make it habit to educate yourself on the basics. Where to start? Learn the basic composition of macro and micronutrients and what the food you eat is comprised of. It can be really overwhelming when you first start so while it can be a bit expensive it may be well worth it to meet with a local trusted dietician even just a few times to gain some base knowledge. Calm down, this is not an advertisement to start obsessing about "macros" and tracking/weighing everything you eat (although I do think this is a great exercise for everyone to do at least for a few days of tracking once in their life). Simply reading about and learning how macronutrients and micronutrients can affect your body, your workouts, and waistline will be beneficial for building a food lifestyle that works for you #beinformed.
Stop Demonizing food groups: sugar is not the direct cause of obesity, fat isn't the direct cause of heart attacks and going on a 10 day juice cleanse will not make you #health. All facts. Try things, make mistakes, find your own way: figure out the approach that will allow you to maintainably look and feel your best. As I talk about above it can be daunting when you just want the "SECRET" to eating all of the food and also being fit, fabulous, and feeling great. Every new article has new "evidence" that a certain diet, food group, and plan is the "key". You can find an article on high fat, low fat, high carb, low carb, juicing, no sugar, only protein, coconut sugar, agave, stevia, cayenne water magic voodoo BS and this can be beyond overwhelming and frustrating. So here is my magical advise: do not cut out any food group unless you are allergic or have sensitivities #dairymakesmescary. Limit the packaged processed stuff in your day and do not demonize certain macronutrients because an article in Women's Health told you to. If you attempt to follow the "newest of the new" you will discover that sugar is the root of all evil, all fat makes you fat, oh and that juice cleanse is the best way to detox and drop 10 pounds overnight! Real life: weighing out a banana for fear of it being "high in carbs" is likely going to lead to waking up in your pantry with an empty box of golden grahams, crumbs everywhere and no recollection of how exactly you got there #eatthebanana.
Comparison is the thief of joy: "He/she can eat whatever they want" "But they eat keto and it works so it must work." Well this just in, you are not them. Your genetic makeup is unique and sometimes unique means #itsucks and you can't do the same thing suzy #mcskinnyfitperfect pants does in order to maintain your ideal. Sorry, sometimes the truth is hard and that also means having to pay attention to what you consume differently than your friend, sister, brother, and instagram crush. In reality the person that you feel "eats whatever they want" likely practices moderation without even thinking about it. I wish we could all have this magical ability to not "overthink" food and be perfectly moderate but the fact is, its rare these days. It's rare because we are bombarded with the internet and social media metaphorically throwing up on all of us with the "do this not that" approach. It makes it increasingly difficult to practice any sort of moderate "unconscious" approach to what we eat. I made the "well they did so I will" mistake time and time again, and it left me sad, empty, overweight, underweight, and everything in between. I stand by, genetics are not "fair", no one person is the exact same, each person is different so STOP comparing and further to that please quit whining about what is fair and what isn't #millenialproblems.
I am still figuring it out and will probably be a forever foodie and student of nutrition. It fascinates me and I love learning more each day but overall I advocate for the 80/20 rule. I use this as more of general approach not an exact ratio. Why? Because as I have repeatedly said, my 80/20 may look different than yours, than hers, than his. Be your own scientist, find your food fit. I have discovered over years of experimenting, that I thrive with structure, that I feel best overall with more of a 90/10 balance. Meaning 90 percent of the time I eat a fairly structured diet. I plan ahead, I eat a nutrient dense paleo based diet that is prepped and I stick to it pretty carefully. 10 percent of the time (usually I plan for my 10 percent and I don't "wing it") I drink wine, I eat too much chocolate, enjoy some processed foods and gasp I do in fact indulge in desserts (hello beignets). This is not a prescription to say YOLO as that generally leads to pants that don't fit, treating yourself maybe a little too often, and pounds that are hard to get rid of. You don't always deserve to have "just one more cookie". Seriously. Eat real food as much and as often as you can and indulge the remainder of the time because what is a life without some wine?
In closing, be more informed, understand that sugar isn't satan, and stop comparing yourself to that #fitspo model on instagram that can "never eat enough" to keep weight on #eyeroll. Find your own #newnewbalance and I can guarantee the you will never DIET again.
I am in the works of compiling my years of recipe testing and food experiments into a recipe and food tips e-book, so please stay tuned! I hope to release it in the next few months and I would love feedback on if people would be interested in something like this? Let me know by sending me a direct message on instagram @mandimnewman.