A Perfect Diet?
Who here has searched high and low for the perfect diet? Or, even if you’ve kicked the diet mentality to the curb, do you still find yourself scouring the Internet, magazines, and books… looking for a way of eating that makes you feel your best so that you can operate at 100% awesomeness?
(I’m going to assume that I see a large number of raised hands right about now.)
First of all, major kudos to us for all of our effort. Trying to find the perfect “food style” can feel like a full-time job. And boy is it infuriating when we go months without getting paid (i.e. feeling any desired results).
Second of all, if we don’t really know what we’re looking for… how do we really know what we’re looking for?
That’s the step I’d been missing. I just wanted answers fast.
I’ll take a helping of instant gratification and a side of “I want to feel better now, please.”
But I didn’t really know what question I was trying to ask.
Connecting to Your Body to Find the Question You Really Want Answered
I was ignoring every little signal my body was giving and I kept looking elsewhere for some feedback. I might as well have been tapping strangers on the shoulder and asking, “Excuse me, but do you know why my stomach hurts? Or why I’m tired all the time? Do you recommend low refined carb? Gluten-free? Dairy-free? Vegan? Paleo? Vegetarian?”
Now, these are not pre-packaged diets marketed toward speedy weight loss, restriction, or a lifetime of unhappiness – these can be incredible lifestyle choices (not trends) that really work for some bodies dealing with food intolerances, allergies, stomach troubles, etc.
But for others, these umbrella terms may not be enough to keep us dry from our daily desires and discomfort.
YOU didn’t come off an assembly line. You’re unique. And so is that beautiful body of yours – and its picky, obnoxious needs.
So I ask you: when was the last time you looked down at your stomach, with zero judgment, and asked, “What’s up, gut? What’s goin’ on in there? Let’s figure this out together. Give me… one grumble for hungry and two grumbles for ‘please skip the bacon’.”
In my opinion, spending some quality time figuring out what foods make us feel our best should be part of our self-care routines – every single day. (I know… this is a lot less than fun than getting a pedicure or lying on the couch and reading Cosmo with a cucumber facemask.)
What’s Worked for Me… and What Hasn’t
During one of my unhappy tummy times, I tried doing an elimination “diet” so that I could tell if certain foods were bothering me. I lasted one day. Why? Because, my name is Jace and I have issues with food!
Eliminating 7 staple food groups from my list of options was not a healthy decision for me. I felt restricted and completely overwhelmed. In fact, all I could think about was bingeing… But now, I’m trying something different.
Related Article: It’s a Mira-KALE!
Over the past three weeks, I’ve been attempting to give my stomach a break – one food at a time. I’ve been writing down how I feel after I eat something.
Now, let’s read that again together! I am not writing down calories or fat content or amounts. I’m simply jotting down some notes about how a particular food made me feel. Am I gassy? Happy? Full? Too full? Sneezy? Bloated? Lethargic?
For someone who used to keep a calorie counting diary, this was a little tricky at first, but after a few days I got the hang of it. I’m learning a lot from my body by taking the time to pay attention to what it’s trying to tell me. (Plus, I found a super cute notebook that fits in my purse. A layer of cuteness makes everything better!)
I’ve been walking this leg of my journey very slowly, because the idea that I “can’t” have a certain food (even if it makes me feel sh*tty) doesn’t mesh well with my bingeing brain.
But, I’m hopeful that if my non-bingeing brain can come to understand that my stomach (or my sinuses) really don’t like a certain food, then we can all sit down and have a nice chat about it – because I’m tired of feeling crappy!
Here’s a little example for you: I started eating dairy after a week of no dairy and had an allergy attack that lasted 14 hours… coincidence? Okay, maybe it’s a coincidence, I’m not a doctor and I didn’t go see one, but it’s something to think about. Only my body can tell me if it wants a glass of cow milk or almond milk.
Looking Inward Instead of Outward For the Answers
I spent 11 of my short 26 years (middle school through college) believing that the right diet would fix everything. Nowadays, even though I’m not in search of the latest quick fix, it’s still hard to kick the habit of asking the rest of the world, instead of asking my own body, what’s right for me.
Now, I know that this might not be exactly what you were hoping to see. But here I am giving you lots of maybes, potential correlations, and coincidences as related to one’s “diet” (or eating behavior) and the body’s reaction.
Related Article: The Binge Eating Diaries: What is Normal Eating?
You probably clicked on this blog hoping to discover a single, magical equation: If you do this, then that will happen – no matter who you are or what’s going on with your body.
Well, I hate typing this as much as you hate reading it: that equation simply doesn’t exist. (THIS equation does exist, though!)
But even though there’s no golden rule, there is a silver lining. Once we stop searching outwardly for answers that come from within – we just might realize that we’ve had some of the answers inside of us all along.
Until next time,
Note: If you are bingeing on a regular basis, this is something to address first and foremost – before you start trying to fine-tune your way of eating. If you are dealing with severe physical discomfort,consider speaking with a nutritionist or healthcare provider. This blog was not intended to dissuade anyone from seeking professional help in times of need, but to encourage us to listen to our bodies’ cues so that we can better learn how to feed ourselves in a way that makes us feel our happiest and healthiest.
P.S. If this blog resonated with you, please feel welcomed to share your thoughts in the comments section below. This is a safe, judgment-free zone.