Your New Diet Won't Stand a Chance if You Neglect Any of These Six Things
Updated: Jan 19
Have you gone to see a nutrition specialist to help you feel better?
Done a lot of poking around on the internet trying to figure out why you feel so lousy?
Have you tried all sorts of supplements, dietary restrictions, or maybe even some "food-math" programs in an effort to feel better?
If that's you, first let me say I'm proud of you. You're an action taker. You're doing your best to find answers. Bravo!
But...here's a problem you're likely running into.
You've found a lot of anecdotes.
You've found a lot of conflicting advice.
You can't seem to stick with any one plan for very long.
You've found ideas that seem promising, but when you try them, your results have been minimal.
Can you relate?
It's frustrating right?
So where does that leave you?
You know giving up isn't the answer. You know your body has the ability to heal. You've probably read the stories of people who've overcome a similar challenge...so what's blocking you?
THE PERSPECTIVE PROBLEM
Having been in the business of helping people with their health, nutrition, and fitness for over 15 years now, I've come to realize that one of the big things keeping people from experiencing a breakthrough is they are way too zoomed in.
It's not their fault actually.
They are doing something that makes good sense, but they're digging a trench when they should be looking at the landscape. In other words, there's a lack of perspective that causes them to miss the changes that will really move the needle.
Here's what I'm talking about.
A few years ago, Nina and I stepped back and tried to think of every excuse or frustration we've ever heard for why people have not been able to make progress with eating well...and thus haven't been able to enjoy the health they want.
We tried thinking of how we would define all that goes into "eating well." The above visual is what we ended up with.
WHAT WE REALIZED
Being too zoomed in, without accounting for all that goes into the what, why, and how we eat, is like trying to drive your car with only some of the fluids you need to run your engine.
Even if you have a full tank of gas you won't get very far without motor oil, brake fluid, power-steering fluid, and so on. It takes all the right components to run an engine well.
And so it is with using food as medicine.
WHY YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE GETTING RESULTS
Most nutrition "specialists" (I like to call them "partialists," i.e., they deal with part of the problem), are usually only focused/competent, at helping you in only one or two of those six areas mentioned above.
Here's what I mean:
Your local farmer, health food store, "clean-eating group" or CSA (community garden) might be able to help you find and source quality food...but the rest? Not so much.
You can hire a chef, spend hours on YouTube, thumb through cookbooks, and use trial and error to learn how to make healthier food taste good...but will your family like it?
Maybe your mom, good friend, or that blogger can help you figure out some weekly rhythms that will make planning and prep run smoothly...but will it last?
Your standard nutritionist can help you with the math of quantity, balance, and timing, and give you guidelines for "portion control," but is your life a perfect math equation?
Your alternative nutritionist or doctor (sorry, most RDs/MDs just don't know this stuff) can help you fill nutritional deficiencies...but are supplements the best answer?
Your "Intuitive-Eating Coach" might be able to help with the social and emotional aspect--i.e. bring clarity about why you've become an emotional eater, and help you be less hard on yourself when you make 'less than ideal' choices, but freedom still needs a direction.
Maybe your financial planner can help you expand your food/supplement budget or help you rethink your priorities a bit...but you still need to know what to buy, why it matters, how to prep it, cook it, etc...
AND I HAVEN'T EVEN MENTIONED...
...you have to figure out...who is doing all those dishes, and how to make yourself get up in time to actually make breakfast!
You see the point?
Most people, when they go to level up their diet, don't have a frame of reference like the above to account for the inevitable ripple effects (or roadblocks) that occur when they tweak their diet.
If even one or two of the above six areas are not accounted for, you'll be looking at really slow progress, or no progress at all.
DEVELOPING A SANE APPROACH TO IMPROVING YOUR DIET
Food is such an integral part of our everyday lives, that all of those factors come into play pretty much every day.
So, how do you move forward without driving yourself crazy?
Take it a layer at a time--from top to bottom and from left to right. Which of those six areas are you the weakest in? Worry less about the other ones and go relentlessly attack your weakest area until it's a strength.
HOW WE HELP PEOPLE LEVEL UP THEIR EATING
In case it's helpful, and to oversimplify what we do, essentially we've learned to take a three-part, phased approach:
First, we focus on transitioning to better quality food. Often, simply eliminating the bad, and replacing it with better can spur significant gains in health.
Second, we focus on optimizing digestion. Without efficient digestion, it won't matter how nutritious your food is...you won't be able to absorb it.
Third, we focus on the hormonal end of eating well. This means teaching people how to listen to their bodies cues and make adjustments based on that.
There's more to it obviously--your cooking skills, budget, mental hang ups, nutritional deficiencies, and social calendar, all need to be considered (our program covers all of the above).
But, once Nina and I stepped back, clarified those six areas, and developed a comprehensive approach, we became much more effective helping people heal, find food freedom, and put eating well on auto-pilot.
There's always more to learn, and finding voices you can trust takes some work, but if you can think in terms of those six areas, and attack where you're weak, you can really start to make some great progress using food as medicine.
If you want some help getting your eating (and health) in order, we're here for you!
Until next time,
PS. Curious how we put all the piece together into one, holistic plan? Check out this presentation I did to learn more.