SANE EATING: Getting to it….and staying there
How familiar is this? You want to look good and feel good. You know you should eat more vegetables or less sugar. You know you should eat at home more often. But somehow this keeps not happening. Life intrudes. You’re busy. You just don’t feel like it. Sometimes you don’t even know why you’re not doing what works best. Meanwhile, you worry and struggle and never feel quite right with how you’re eating or the shape you’re in.
You’d think with hundreds of thousands of diet books, not to mention the thousands of monthly diet articles, and billions of dollars spent on products, we could put this problem to rest. Yet we continue to struggle.
The Diet Rollercoaster
The authors of most of those diet books offer solutions for people who struggle with weight. And while it’s confusing to face so much advice, some of it actually works well, if followed. It’s that “if followed” that highlights a key question: how do you keep on following a new regime, make it your “default” setting, make it “just how you live”, so that you’re not always thinking about it, struggling to stick with it, giving it up in frustration, starting all over again and again?
Here is where coaching toward sane eating can help—in not only prescribing what to eat, as we have no shortage of advice here, but in helping each person identify and dismantle the particular obstacles on her or his own path. Obstacles can be practical—limited time to plan or cook, for example. They often are cognitive. In other words, how we think about ourselves and diet affects our eating. Very often, too, they are emotional. How many of us use food, knowingly or not, to handle stress, sadness, or frustration? Solutions may lie in simple habit changes, in learning new ways to cope, or even in solving other life problems.
And Remember: This Is A Cultural Problem, Too…
Michael Pollan, author of The Ominvore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food believes we face a “national eating disorder”, with widespread anxiety over what and how to eat. To explain this, he points to both an unhealthy system of food production in the U.S., plus the absence of a shared “national cuisine” (such as exists in France or Italy or Japan). He, and others like him, sensibly argue for changes in public policy that will help us eat better.
Our “national eating disorder” will take time to heal. Hopefully, it will enter remission in the next few years, rather than the next few decades. In the meantime, we face the challenge of discovering own individual solutions. In other words, it may not make sense to wait for years to lose the extra weight and stop the frustrating cycles. Finding a path that works, and tackling your own persistent obstacles, will allow lasting change to take hold.
So finding the right diet doesn’t necessarily hold the key to success. But with tools such as the Eat Sanely workbook, or personalized diet coaching, the right keys are cut to order. Then they can open the door to feelings of well-being, self-esteem, and accomplishment.