Why Don’t You Listen To Your Body?
The internet wants you to find what works for you.
The other day, my cousin was telling me that she had just consulted a nutrition coach at the local gym. He made her a nutrition plan.
To make a long story short, she paid a decent amount of money to be told that she needed to WEIGHT the chicken that was on her dinner’s plate. That is to make sure that she eats the ‘correct’ portion.
Many questions came to my mind when I heard this.
First of all, how can there be a right portion for EVERYONE? How could everybody have the same needs at that specific time of their day or their life?
Second, why would someone believe that is it NORMAL to take the time to calculate and weigh everything that you put onto your plate. Who in the world owns a food balance?
I will not count the number of almonds that I eat as my morning snack, sorry.
And third, how does one manage not to feel overwhelmed and drained after only a few days on that diet?
Wait. That is how most people feel.
I kept my comments to myself, and I painfully listened to her telling me how she doubted that this lifestyle could be sustainable.
To be honest, I don’t understand that this type of diet still fools people in 2019.
Your body knows right
I suffered from an eating disorder at the age of 17 and 18 years old. It was indeed a mental illness; I starved myself to the point of losing half of my hair and passed out after running for two minutes in my gym class. I remember my gym teacher asking ‘what did you eat before class?’ as he was skeptically looking at my pale skin and weak-looking body. ‘Well I guess I did not eat enough, I would respond with a shy voice. The truth is that what I ate before that specific class did not matter much.
What mattered most was that I had been starving myself for months.
If you want to mess up your health real bad, then give it a go. I thought I knew what I was doing, but it turned out I was destroying that fantastic gift that allows me to move and enjoy life: my body.
So wise so young they say, do never live long — William Shakespeare
The teacher was bright, though, and he was aware of these types of issues in college. ‘You can go home now; I don’t think it is healthy for you to exercise,’ he said. ‘I think you should seek help.’
Which I did. And about a year later, I was fully recovered, wearing a lot more skin on my bones and watching my hair grow slowly, as a sign that life was coming back to my organs again.
Although it’s been a while since I have recovered, I have always remained sensitive to the topic of healthy eating and weight loss. I have suffered enough to know that restricting the food that you eat does not only have an impact on weight loss; it also plays a significant role in your whole body’s health. I have learned the hard way that losing weight during anorexia was only the tip of the iceberg; the health problems that came along and lasted long after I had recovered were terrible. If you mess with your body, it will counterbalance. It will show you how wrong you’ve treated it.
For many years I avoided the health and wellness community because It would trigger some eating disorder habits in me.
Recently, I discovered that this community was promoting common sense around food and diet culture. I became active in the health and wellness community the day I found out that the new trend was to promote the diet of you.
The internet is telling you to do YOU
I am really active on Instagram and share a lot of my meals ideas and inspiration on the platform. Content is usually all about food, but most people use captions to talk about diet culture, the negative influence of social media on body image, and the importance of eating a diet that is right for you. What this community is trying to tell you is this:
I am no professional. I share what I eat because I am passionate about cooking, and you should eat the diet that is right for your body, not the one that is right for me.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that what you see on social media is everything, because you are simply looking at a photo of one meal, but you don’t know if the person who posted it really ate it, or whatever they ate on that day before and after that meal.
Leaders of the health and wellness community on this platform are showing pictures of themselves stuffing their face in chocolate banana nut bread, high pancakes stacks and brownies, all under the name of balance.
The game has changed; being healthy is not about green juice or any kind of detox anymore. It’s about listening to your body (for REAL) and eating intuitively.
To get a piece of professional advice, I appreciate Abbey Sharp’s videos on youtube. Abbey is a dietician who reviews What I eat in a day videos from popular YouTubers and leaders of the food blogger world. She demystifies the tips and hacks that are often presented as guidelines in these kinds of videos. Her approach is that our bodies are wonderful machines that are capable of telling us what they need, so we should listen to our body. She strongly advised that there is no one size fit for all.
Find what you love and let it drive you
The idea of finding what works for you should be a guideline for anybody trying to implement a new habit. It requires a little work and self-reflection, but it is key to making a habit last in the long term.
Get to know yourself more
Be honest with yourself. Morning routines are trendy, but if you take a long time activate yourself in the morning, you’re wasting your time trying to motivate yourself to wake-up at 5h am to achieve absolutely nothing.
Establish the sleeping schedule that works for your productivity and overall wellbeing.
Look for a workout routine that respects your capacities and preferences.
You might not thrive on a vegan diet. You might not like to practice yoga every morning.
Experiment with different things
This one requires to be patient because you might need to experiment with different combinations before you come up with a perfect routine. Finding a habit that works for you means some of them will fail the test, while others will stick to the process. I have tried HIIT workouts, and I hated it to death. I am never getting back into it again.
Use other people’s habit as inspiration, not as a guideline
Articles, blog posts, Instagram posts, YouTube videos are there to INSPIRE you so that you can take whatever you want from that person and adapt it to your needs.
Nobody should be using anybody as a strict guideline. I eat a whole food plant-based diet, and I feel amazing. You could eat the same meals as me and feel miserable. There are no one-size-fits for all.
I am genuinely grateful that the idea of listening to our bodies is becoming more and more mainstream. When you think about it, it’s only common sense. It does not require any specific skill or sacrifice. I believe that we are finally taking a step in the right direction.