Your Diet Part II: One Life

In Part I of this blog series we went over the dual food lives many of us live.  While it may make some part of your life workable and consistent with your psychology, it doesn't mean it's healthy.  Bingeing at night may in fact line up pretty well with restricting during work hours around other people but it shouldn't be a reason to keep doing it.

So many of us change our food behaviors in ways we don't truly want to or feel ready for simply because of other people's judgement. Whether we are consciously doing it is probably another topic altogether but this change only happens because we're so concerned with how other people think of us rather than being able to self-reflect on what the deeper issue is.  Looking at the outside viewer instead of looking inside ourselves.  It's a common trap, I don't know that anyone is ever truly not experiencing this in some capacity.

It doesn't mean we can't work on it though.

My real suggestion here is to slowly practicing eating the way you truly want to when you are around other people.  Even if you think your nutrition needs work.  If you don't ever practice this in the environment you are uncomfortable in, you'll never be comfortable.  Environment is one of the largest drivers of who we become, but our perception is also so closely linked with how that affects us.  By practicing eating in a way you actually want to, you will become more and more comfortable over time doing that.  I've worked with people who were embarassed to eat pizza at lunch and others who happily ate a large in front of other people.  Their perception was different. 

Even though this might sound like I am enorsing eating whatever you want, I'm not.  But I don't think you can truly have a good relationship with food without eating this way because you can be lean still be embarassed to eat what you want. I have had lean people apologize in an office for only ever bringing a sandwich, as if they thought it was lesser.  And another lady apologized to me for eating African food because she thought I might be offened by the spices.  For either situation, I didn't care and it is not my place to dictate their lunch but I was surprised that they thought I would. And it means every lunch might be stressful for them, and that sucks.

If eating in front of others, the way you want does end up prompting you to make better choices, you'll have done it for the right reasons. An interest in health rather than an interest in appeasing others.  You won't be free of this once you're lean if it's never dealt with.  For a long time after I got lean I felt so stressed to always be making a healthier choice going out to eat with others because they wan't you to get pizza too, or eat fries or have cake.  And if you really don't want to, people with pressure you.  That can be just as stressful.  So being able to make a food choice and not care what anyone says is powerful.

It doesn't mean nutrition can't be discussed and if you have a question, ask someone for help.  But don't take other people's discussions as an admonishment for what you are doing.  I used to hear people say the word "fat" and cringe, even when I knew they weren't talking about me.  I was so sensitive to how I appeared to others that I couldn't hear the word and feel like it wasn't directed at me.  Maybe you feel the same and I know it's tough. Keep practicing being true to yourself and being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Then take the time to work  on firther education if you feel the need.  Keep a food log, use a nutriton data app, start eating more veggies or saying no to dessert. But let it come naturally and out of a genuine desire to improve your health and make your life better - all your fitness and nutrition decisions after a good decision like that yield a much better relationship with your body.  Too many people are having to spend years undoing the unhealthy ones and you know exactly what yours are.

Environment is powerful but your perception will dictate how you respond.