There’s no denying that whatever your health goals may be, having a structured diet and meal plan to follow is incredibly helpful.
But with the crazy number of dietary theories that exist, how do you know which is the most effective?
A good example that comes to mind is going gluten-free. There’s a lot of controversy out there right now about whether or not gluten sensitivity really exists, or if it’s all in your head. There are so many studies conducted, it’s hard to say who’s right and who’s wrong.
In the end, it all comes down to what works for you as a unique individual.
Diet-labeling can distract from the most basic approach to understanding which foods make you feel great, and which make you feel absolutely god-awful.
So what is this basic approach? Simply, it’s paying attention and taking note of how you feel after eating certain foods. Simple does not equal easy, as we know, and this step is overlooked all the time. After all, our minds just zoom past mealtime and we keep going with our day.
But taking 1 minute to take stock in how you feel an hour or two after the meal can make all the difference.
Connecting the dots between meals and any cramping or stomach pains, bloating, or gas increases your chances of remembering that the next time you make a decision on what to eat. Asking yourself, “Do I feel good right now? Did I feel this bloated this morning? Or, am I completely energized and ready for the rest of my day?”
Whatever the answer is, the key here is to check in with yourself and track it. Any discomfort should be noted, and over time you will build your mental library of foods that make you feel amazing versus the ones that don’t.
What are some other signs of digestive issues? Gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are a few clear indicators.
However, there are other signs that aren’t quite as obvious like brain fog, lethargy, rashes, fatigue or drowsiness, back pain, stiff joints, and headaches.
The takeaway here is that digestive discomforts are not normal, and should not be accepted as just a sign of “getting older”.
Okay, so now that we’ve got that down, what if you do want to try going gluten-free/vegan/macrobiotic/etc., but are scared off by all that it implies?
I propose this: why not add the two words “right now” to your food choices?
As in, “I don’t eat pasta right now because it makes me feel sluggish.”
Or, “I eat less meat right now because I feel lighter and have more energy.”
Or how about, “I don’t eat dairy right now because unpleasant things happen after.”
Because ultimately, nothing is permanent.
Minds change. Bodies change. How many people (not including yourself) do you know who have switched diets?
Those two little words relieve the pressure to being committed to a certain way of eating. It gives you that much-needed space to experiment and realize what works.
Saying the words “right now” isn’t meant to give you an out. Instead, it’s a tactic that increases awareness about what you’re putting onto your plate. It’s enough to make you pause and experience a mindfulness that is easily omitted in everyday life.
And truly, that’s how healthy habits and lifestyles are formed – through one conscious choice at a time.
How will you put this concept into practice today? What can you experiment with in your diet “right now”?
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