What’s the Right Diet To Follow?
Which is the RIGHT nutrition to follow?
What does it really look like? Is there such a thing as the RIGHT diet?
A topic about which I could write a book and will do so one day. But let me start with this post and my own experience.
For years, especially during my studies, I was clearly of the opinion: YES, absolutely there is the right diet.
A food pyramid exists. For example, here are the 10 rules for a healthy diet from the German Nutrition Society (DGE), according to these rules you should live your life and eat.
However, they still didn’t work for me, FOR YEARS.
For example, I couldn’t do anything with the “5 per day” rule – I often felt too full. The rule says, “Eat fruits and vegetables 5 times a day.” This would mean that we should eat a total of 5 meals a day, three main meals and two snacks in between. I realized that my body didn’t need five meals. Many times I felt best when I ate only two times a day. This always made me wonder, “What is wrong with me?” The answer is: Nothing!!!
My body simply appreciates longer pauses between meals and that leads to the fact that there are no five meals.
I just don’t feel hungry right away in the morning after I get up, it takes me 1-2 or even 3 hours before I feel hungry enough to eat something. It took me some time to understand that these rules and regulations about “correct nutrition” should be considered more as guidelines, because they do not deal with people on an individual level.
However, we are all individuals, we all have different daily structures, energy consumption etc, consequently we cannot all live by the same nutrition rules.
Today I know there is not the “right diet” for everyone, but there is the right diet for everyone personally and that is the one that suits your body best.
And even on an individual level, YOUR right nutrition changes through life.
Nobody says to an infant: the milk is too rich in fat. No. At this age, this is EXACTLY the right nutrition.
Your age alone changes the need for the nutrients that you require at that moment.
Similarly, your right diet changes with the seasons. In winter, your body needs more calories to deal with the lower temperatures. Accordingly, your cravings for calorie rich foods will increase. Whereas in the summer, you may not feel as much like a cheese fondue, cookies, or whatever your winter food is.
Not to mention age and season, your calorie and nutrient needs change based on your lifestyle. Are you a marathon runner or do you lift weights? Do you have a sedentary job in the office or do you work on a construction site?
There is THE right diet and that is the one that suits YOUR body best.
How Do I Find My Right Diet?
So the exercise is first and foremost to find out what that means for you and for that we need to put aside the analytical thinking for a moment, and find our way back into our body to be able to feel more.
We are constantly judging – good food or bad food and this has lead to a point where we feel guilty or ashamed when we eat sweets or fast food. Or we allow ourselves a “cheat day” once a week, where we eat everything we don’t usually allow ourselves (be honest with yourself – do you recognize yourself here?).
Often times with the diet mindset, we have formed a negative body image, and therefore are usually at a point where we no longer feel connected to our body. We find it very difficult to listen to the body’s signals, interpret them, and most importantly, respect and honour them.
After all, according to our analytical thinking, we would know exactly what we should eat, based on various rules. Intuitive Eating, however, is about perceiving the body’s signals and feeling when and what we should eat, so that there are no more questions to the analytical brain, just an instinct – we FEEL it.
In Intuitive Eating there are no rules we can break, we can only learn and get to know ourselves better.I often get asked, “Yes, but if I can eat anything I want, won’t I just eat “unhealthy” foods, like too much sweets for example?”. That’s a valid question, and that was one of my biggest fears as well. The point is, your body doesn’t ONLY ask for sweets, sugar, chocolate or fast food. Your body is asking for crunchy veggies, fresh fruit, and good protein just as much.
Think for a moment about the last time you had the flu or didn’t feel fit in some way: can you remember that maybe deep down you knew exactly that you wanted a warm soup with root vegetables right now. In moments when we are not in our normal state, we often find it easier to eat intuitively. Likewise, there are many mamas who lived vegan before pregnancy and couldn’t stop thinking about meat during pregnancy until they gave in to the craving.
That’s the body asking for a specific nutrient.
The more you experience intuitive eating, the more you notice: that Nutella is actually way too sweet for me, or that instant pizza tastes way too artificial and greasy. I don’t really want or need that at all.
So the practice is all about listening to your own intuition and trusting it. This requires first and foremost, as is so many cases, being more mindful and getting to know yourself better. .
- How mindful do I eat?
- How aware am I of how my food make me feel?
- What effects do certain foods have on MY body?
- How much does my body need and when?
Questioning and reflecting yourself is the step you have to make and that a journey towards your beautiful self.
If you are looking for support on this journey, feel free to contact me.
Thank you for taking your time to read.