Thriving, not surviving
How do you choose the diet that works for you? Not the diet that leaves you feeling tired, bloated, and yet hungry for more of that food which got you feeling so flat in the first place. Not the myriad of diets which don’t actually work, because they are not actually healthy, nor providing sufficient nutrients to thrive. We learn all the wrong things, not because we are taught the wrong things, but because it’s so easy to believe the easy path to bad tidings.
While we are young, we eat all sorts of things. All the good, the bad and the really bad. While we are in our teen years, often this is when we are exercising enough to run out all the poor choices that we also bring along for the ride. Sadly, sometimes kids and teens eat too many bad things, exercise very little, and set the path for lifelong obesity issues. I would wish that parents can see this for the problem that it is. The number of fat cells that we have in our teen years sets how many fat cells we have for life. We can reduce the size of the fat cells, but not the number. Even if you get liposuction, they will grow back, as your body has recognised that number as it’s set point for that person. And this is something with which kids and teens need to be supported. If the family eats badly, the kids will follow. We eat according to what our friends eat, what our family has shown us, and what we see in social media.
In our 20’s, this changes, as we move from what we were fed at home, to starting to make our own choices, our own cooking, our own ability to select our future health. For some, this is when we start to recognise our own body type. When we were younger, it can be hard to see ourselves as different from our friends, from what we see in media. We might not wear the clothes which best suit us, or eat the foods which make us well, but we have the beauty of youth, and this can get us through. It is possible to make changes quickly, to lose weight within weeks, our metabolism works efficiently and we rely upon this, which can be difficult for later years when we assume that we can eat anything and regain health within weeks, which is rarely the case.
In our 30’s, we would do well to learn to recognise what our body thrives on. This is the age we can learn to love our body, or learn to self harm with poor dietary choices, and poor education, as to what genuinely works for us. Often we become too busy to take notice of our health, our symptoms, our sleep or our hormones. We might worry about our skin, or our weight, but commonly try short term quick fixes, rather than assessing issues on a long term basis. In this age, we start careers, fall in love, have children, often we lose touch with our best selves as we put our child, our family, our work, in front of our best selves.
Living in our 40’s and going into 50, it is time again to take stock, to review what makes us feel well, what allows us to sleep well, and what supports our hormones as we transition into our second adolescence, into the phase of life where we free ourselves from expectation, but also from ability to change our weight, sleep well, feel at ease with our thoughts. At this age, as with earlier stages, we have choices and we would benefit from looking at ourselves closely enough to understand what actually works best, for us at that age, as at any age.
This is really the point all along. How do we choose our diet, how do we make good choices, at all the different stages of our life, despite the fact that we are given the wrong information, that we are sold easy fixes, short quick fake goals, by gurus who stand up and shout “I do it this way, you should too”, with no empathy for the people who are not them.
We would favour our children with good fortune if we talked more with them about how to eat well for the energy that they need, to allow them to grow strong and tall, and full of life. We do not need to teach them to be pretty or popular or looking like those they see on social media. We should teach them how to read nutritional labels, how to search for protein in every meal, how to avoid unhealthy fats, unnecessary sugars, hidden fructose. How to eat enough but not too much, how to recognise symptoms of feeling unwell and making change. Food is more than weight. Food is vibrancy, energy, ability to learn, and positive mindset. Good food is thriving.
Counselling our children, teaching our teens, encouraging our 20 year olds, letting them see how their awareness of their very own nutritional needs, their very individual ability to exercise, and their very astute wisdom in questioning what people want them to believe, giving our kids these choices gives them a better quality of life.
And treat yourself with the respect, love and care that you would give your children. Look at the foods that you eat, and consider if you would allow a child in your care to eat that way. Learn about your choices, step back from the kitchen, and look at all the things that make you feel well, or unwell, and start to recognise that the choice lies within you to be better. Buying another diet book will not fix your diet – you are not that person. Investing time in finding out what foods suit you as an individual allows you to thrive.
I believe that we can all make mistakes, as long as we recognise those mistakes and grow from them. Think about what makes you feel dreadful and honestly ask yourself if that bad habit is something which you need to grow old with? Drinking too much alcohol in your youth means that you can see that it does not suit you to imbibe toxins. Eating a few chocolate biscuits every day may not seem like much, but over a week, this becomes hurdle. Not eating fresh salads and vegetables is a habit worth breaking early, as without these food, we can’t take in sufficient vitamins and minerals in order to create energy, clear toxins, or grow.
Surviving is very different to thriving.
Just because millions of other people eat poorly, and get up every day and go about feeling dreadful, doesn’t mean that you have to do this also. Think about the last time that you felt great – full of energy, light, without a stomach ache, or a headache, or sore joints. Eating a diet that is right for you can help you to achieve this feeling. And if you find a way to eat that allows you to thrive, then you can help your family to learn how to eat well for their best health also.
Eating well is a choice. It is a choice between ageing gracefully or declining rapidly. If you need help with this, with finding what foods actually don’t work for you, with finding the best foods for you, for your family, for you to thrive, I can help with this.
Naturopath, Revive Your Health