All too frequently there seems to be a new diet introduced to mainstream media that claims to be the one diet that actually works. Along with that, there are new studies being released constantly, claiming that foods you thought were healthy to eat are actually not. For example, fats were thought to be bad for you in any form, yet avocados are currently a very popular food item. If you adhere to any part of mainstream diet culture, you are bound to change your intake frequently because of constant fluctuations in fads.
Why has eating suddenly become so complicated? With the increase in technology – and knowledge, subsequently – it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking you need to know as much as possible before you make a decision about anything. While this mentality applies in a lot of cases, it shouldn’t be completely adhered to when trying to figure out how to properly nourish yourself.
The main consideration to keep in mind is the idea that every human body is different. Yes, we have the same general processes and physical makeups, but the way each of us processes/reacts to different foods is wildly different. This can be due to genetics or levels of physical activity, as well as intolerances and diseases. There is no “one size fits all” in terms of a proper diet.
Think about how you ate when you were a child. You didn’t think much of food besides whether or not something sounded appetizing to you in the moment; in that state of being, you were completely reactive to what kinds and amounts of food your body was telling you that you needed. Your body is extremely smart and is only trying to keep you healthy. It tries to achieve homeostasis at all costs.
When you overeat at a meal or a few meals, you naturally feel less hungry for the next day or two, and vice versa. When you eat too much unhealthy food, your body will instinctively crave foods that contain more nutrients. But it’s okay to eat “unhealthy” foods that you like – just eat enough to be satisfied! Your body is not something to be feared! People don’t “lose control” by listening to their genuine instincts.
The problem with diet culture is that no part of it actively encourages intuitive eating. Indulgences are labeled as being “out of control,” and in general you are told you cannot control your impulses if you are left to your own devices. The truth is, you can. Easily. All you have to do is listen.