I learned so much in school about nutrition. I loved every class, I even showed up to every class. I took notes diligently, I aced tests, got great references, moved on to an intense internship, studied hard and passed my boards. All of that to learn that maybe, just maybe, nutrition wasn’t exactly what I thought it was.
I mean at the core, it’s the same, but how we approach it, that’s where I think it can differ greatly. I learned about diets, and research, and heck, I even had a whole class devoted to weight management. I learned about things being a “lifestyle” and making changes to get ‘healthier’ I read research telling people to keep record of everything that touched their lips or why everyone belongs within a similar weight range or BMI. Heck, I even taught that to so many people. I accepted everything I learned as fact because, I thought, the research supported it.
I think it’s flawed to look at it as an individual problem. It’s not. The truth is, the people funding research are often times people who stand to profit off of failed diets. Off of people’s shame, guilt, insecurities and feelings of failure. There is a culture here that stands to make multi-billion dollar gains off of the diet industry. The fact of the matter is, diet culture has it's tentacles into every aspect of food, media and even businesses.
I think that starts with picking and pulling away at the strands of diet culture woven into our lives. I think it starts with acknowledgment that it's not our fault, that we've been set up to fail and learning how to get back to our roots. I think it need to be a discussion about how to feel about food and nutrition. I think we need people that are willing to fight that fight and help people reclaim their relationship with food.
I believe in some core principals within nutrition. First of all, I believe in whole food, wholeheartedly. I believe in their power and their ability to affect almost everything to do with our bodies. Speaking of bodies, I believe and trust in the human body. I believe in it’s resiliency, it’s strength, and it’s dedication to homeostasis. I also believe that food and bodies were never meant to be at war. I believe we were born with an instinct to eat and to eat to our satisfaction.
I believe in intuitive eating. Period. I believe this is how we were always intended to eat and somewhere along the line diet culture crept in and destroyed our relationship with food. Included in diet culture, food processing companies, putting sugar where sugar doesn’t belong, adding unnatural flavorings to foods that don’t need more flavor and marketing food items as low calorie, low fat or heart healthy. I think we got tied up and twisted trusting anyone but ourselves when it comes to what to eat, when, and how much.
I believe in honoring your body, honoring your hunger cues and fullness prompts. I believe all these components, when working together well, will fulfill you, sustain you and create an 'at peace' way of life. I believe that getting rid of the noise (diet culture, guilt, shame, and insecurities) can be the most liberating experience of someone’s life and can create a world in which their bodies preform the way they were intended.
I believe that intuitive eating and all it encompasses can bring us back to ground zero before we were told, by someone else or by ourselves, that we weren’t capable of making [food] decisions for ourselves. Because guess what? You are in control. Choose to exchange guilt and shame with grace and compassion. Learn how to give yourself permission to eat what you want with no regret, guilt, or even a second thought. Give yourself permission to enjoy food again. Give yourself permission to listen and trust your body to know what’s best for your body. Because after all, it is your body.