Lifestyle Change — It’s an often-used term, but we don’t really get it. Diet Culture says a particular diet will change your life – and maybe it does. —— While you follow it. Then what happens?
That change isn’t so permanent, is it? Unless you find a reason for it, unless it works for your body AND you like it, unless it’s a health issue – such change doesn’t often last. Most of us have to be motivated by something to change our lifestyles, and the idea of keeping weight off in the face of something really tempting doesn’t always work.
We have made huge lifestyle changes as a culture. We changed significantly in the 80s when we were given the Food Pyramid and advised to reduce saturated fat. Whatever your opinion on the low-fat or high-fat question, we were scared out of our morning bacon and eggs because of a hypothesis about cholesterol. Remember the Time Magazine cover?
Suddenly everything had to be low fat, or we wouldn’t go near it. How low fat can we make this? We changed so many products and tried to enjoy things that tasted a bit more like cardboard than food. We could have all we wanted – it has no fat! Things I’d never heard of became a thing – bran, rice cakes, butter-free popcorn. There were also some really lovely things like fat-free frozen yogurt and fat-free cookies! I remember suddenly being allowed to have bread, potatoes, and pasta on a diet – it was very low in fat, so why not? Definitely a lifestyle changer.
Similarly, Paleo and Keto became words in common usage in the last decade and again changed some lifestyles. Refined sugar and carbs were now the problem, but fat was good.
I’m not sure fear drove people to it as much as the prospect of gleefully eating bacon and butter again.
Just like feeling free to have bread and potatoes kicked up my desire for them, and then overeating them after years of being denied, permission to eat bacon — bacon — bacon —
Permission to have what has been banned increases desire as well as portions consumed.
Hence the problem with many diets. They eliminate something.
I’m not a nutritionist, so I can’t say what specific diet is best for everyone. What I can say is that our bodies are all different, so what satisfies us – our bodies, minds, and hearts — isn’t the same. When what we’re eating isn’t satisfying, it ignites our emotional eating.
With my clients, I talk through previous experiences, cultural specifics, and what they most want, and we come up with a plan. The best nutrition plan is one we will follow. The best plan is one that works for YOUR BODY. When it works for you, it becomes a lifestyle change you can enjoy and maintain.