When you go to the grocery store do you analyze every item you look at in great detail? Do you compute all the fat and carb grams per serving in your head to figure out how much you’ll allow yourself for the day?
If you can relate to the above questions then this post is for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to not review food labels, in fact, it’s a necessary step these days for health and happiness.
But there’s a point when the desire to eat healthy turns into an obsession to eat perfect and I’m here to tell you there’s no such thing.
Here’s the truth: when you enter into an obsessive relationship with food, you create anxiety and chronic stress, and this type of stress often creates more health problems than any imperfect foods you may eat.
By searching for the perfect diet, we project onto our food what we want from ourselves as people – perfection. We attach to our diet the same impossibly high standards and rigorous rules we use to measure ourselves.
I have a client who is undermethylated with copper overload. With this biotype, it’s important to be mindful of copper and folate (and in many cases, histamine too). Being the perfect undermethylator that she is, she created a spreadsheet listing every single food she could find along with copper, folate and histamine levels.
She stayed up all night to create this spreadsheet.
Then, she began calculating copper, folate and histamine levels for every single meal.
When we started working together she said “I don’t understand, I’m following a low copper/folate/histamine diet, and I’m still struggling.”
Do you see where I’m going with this?
You see, it’s never just about the food because what you eat is just as important as how you eat.
So in addition to updating her diet to allow for more options, I also taught her how to eat.
Yes, you read that right. How. To. Eat.
Now this may seem trivial, but if you really think about it, were you ever really taught how to eat?
And I don’t mean open mouth insert food here. I mean developing a relationship with food like you would a new friendship or love interest.
Recently, my parents were here visiting, which of course means eating out a lot at restaurants that are not always going to have organic, grass-fed options.
So what did I do?
I did the best I could.
I ordered salads with protein, bunless burgers, and fruit for dessert.
But I also indulged too. One night, we split mud pie with my brother and ate french fries. Another night we shared appetizers. Of course, all these things had questionable ingredients, but what was more important to me in that moment was creating memories with my family. And I knew the next day I’d be back on my typical eating style and hit the gym in the morning.
In the past I would’ve analyzed every single morsel I had eaten and really beaten myself up, but instead I chose to be present with my family and really enjoy the moment.
And that moment just happened to included fries and mud pie.
So here’s some food for thought (and I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below):
- What kind of judgments do you place on yourself when you don’t follow your diet?
- How do your judgments affect you? In other words, do they make you want to eat more? Go on a binge? Get angry at those around you? Hide out from the world?
- In the next 24 hours, can you eat something you love that you tend to judge yourself harshly for, take your time, and just really enjoy it? What was your experience?