When it comes to your nutrition, where do you draw the line between tidying it up and full blown obsession? Char
left me an excellent comment last week pertaining to this, when I wrote about de-junking unhelpful though
“The whole reason that I don’t do all or nothing challenges like no junk food for a month is exactly because of this.I know that one failure would have me abusing myself mentally to the point where it would all fall apart. So focussing on fuelling my body well and trying to improve my self-talk is a lot more productive for me personally. It’s taken me almost 50 years to learn this about myself but I’ve got there eventually.”
Then, concurrently, it seemed, I was getting multitudes of varying eating themes on my Facebook feed – Paleo, “Eating Clean” (gawd I hate that term), the Ashy Bines debacle (she’s the bright soul that tells people to avoid lettuce because of its high sugar content) and so forth. Interspersed amongst all this “information” were well meaning people posting Fitspo pictures for “inspiration”.
I decided to take some time to read these articles and links and the further I went on the more depressed I began to feel. At one point I began to wonder whether I was taking enough steps to “de junk July”. According to the self proclaimed “fitness experts”, apart from Ashy ( you can’t really take her seriously), I wasn’t eating clean enough, I was eating too much fruit, I was eating gluten and I was eating highly processed food in the form of cannelloni sheets – and I wasn’t eating the right sort of fat etc etc. Apparently, in the world of Facebook ‘fitness experts’ , I’m a dirty carbohydrate lover, who’s making a poor example of herself by eating white flour. Never mind that most of what I ate on that day quite obviously came from animals and plants.
Then it occurred to me that I’m an expert – when it comes to making the correct choices about exercise and nutrition for myself. I’ve been hanging out with my body for the last forty two years every day. You could say that I’ve learned a thing or two. And like Char, above, it’s essentially the same deal – fuelling myself well and focusing on positive self talk.
Yet often the diet and fitness industry don’t wish you to see this. They prey on your self belief by convincing you that you need to be engaged in a specific nutrition and exercise plan to see “results” – the kicker is that it’s usually “their” plan – be it nutrition or exercise regimes that are “the only way”.
The amusing thing is that all of this nutrition b.s just gets recycled in one form or another. The books that I photographed above are a sample of 70s diet books that I was perusing at the Lifeline Book Fair earlier this year. Today’s offerings – same old b.s – just packaged differently.
Most clients that come to me for health coaching know what they need to do to improve their health, to the point of having an encyclopaedic knowledge of weight control, yet haven’t mastered the art of moving into the right headspace (thought control) to get there. Moving into the right headspace is often about moving away from what the “experts say” and listening to the whisper of our own intuition. It is all too easy to become disconnected from your true inner voice in the face of all the flotsam and jetsam of Social Media.
YOU, yes, you, are your own best expert – so park in your comfiest chair and steer your own ship! In regards to nutrition, I wrote my own “Eating Manifesto
” last year – in the spirit of keeping it real. As for “Nojunk July” – I’m all about honouring my self belief in how I do things. Healthy eating for me means eating cannelloni for dinner sometimes and enjoying a dessert. That said, some eating styles are worth further perusal – as an example, I’m reading a book with a Paleoish approach called “It Starts with the Food”. I’m enjoying the emphasis on fresh, whole foods. Does it mean I’m going to adopt Paleo style eating – nope, but there a few suggestions I’m going to experiment with (as I’m my own best experiment).
All this might sound a bit funny from someone that does health coaching (including customised menu plans), but the truth of the matter is a good coach or teacher makes themselves progressively unnecessary – and should encourage you to explore and experiment. If you’re going to seek help from an “expert”, make sure they have the appropriate credentials for the job. In the exercise arena, look for an accredited Exercise Physiologist or Exercise Scientist (that would be me) with experience in your chosen sport.
It’s also worth looking at your motivations as to why you’re perusing all of this online material in the first place. Mid way through last year, I felt fleetingly tempted to join a popular “challenge” , then quickly came to realise that I’d go slowly mad on the nutrition plan and would want to change the exercise schedule around to suit myself and it occurred to me that I wasn’t actually seeking a “challenge” as such, I was feeling a little bit lonely and wanting to seek connection with other people that love keeping fit.
This year, I have been really fortunate to find that in real life with many of my fitness pals from the gym. On Sunday, I went road riding with three girlfriends from the gym as Mr B is on holidays. I had such a good time – it was beautiful outside and having tea/coffee and chats afterwards was right up my alley ! We’re hoping to make it a regular occurrence, especially with the Brisbane to Gold Coast 100km ride coming up in October. I’ve also met some really nice health and fitness bloggers in the last few months and am enjoying connecting with them too – and the yogis I’ve been training with are also a nice bunch. Interspersed between all of that have been my introverted treadmill runs which have provided the perfect balance.
Have you ever been filled with self doubt about how you should be eating, training, sleeping…living?
When I’m full of doubt, I’ll turn to the brilliant Dr Seuss to straighten things out!
“You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go”