Extreme diets and trendy food fads tell us that our nutrition should be constantly monitored and that foods are either good or bad, with nothing in between.
While we could write an entire book on this topic, here, we’re sharing why it’s important to find balance in your nutrition, why you should avoid extreme diets, and how to have a healthy relationship with food.
The Importance of Balance in Nutrition
As with every part of your healthy lifestyle, balance is key. Balance in your nutrition is no different.
Everything taken to the extreme can be detrimental. After all, stress is horrible for your health. So, if you’re constantly stressed about sticking to a diet or avoiding cake, chances are, it’s not really helping.
Some people use the 80/20 rule where 80% of the time they’ll eat healthy, nutritious meals. But 20% of the time, like when they’re at a restaurant with friends or hosting a holiday dinner, they don’t mind eating what they want, no matter its nutritional value.
Without balance, you run the risk of negatively affecting your health due to stress and unnecessary restrictions. It’s so important to find a sweet spot (pun intended) in your diet for a truly healthy lifestyle.
Avoiding Extreme Diets and Fads
Extreme diets with excessive restrictions are unrealistic in the long term and passing fads are just that - passing. The truth is, there is no perfect diet. We’re all different and finding balance with our nutrition that works for our unique makeup is the only way toward lasting health.
Sure, there are certain nutrients we all need, like protein, fats, and carbs. But, the amount of each of the nutrients we need will vary depending on our biology and activity levels, for example.
If you have a heavy training regiment, high-quality supplements are a great way to find balance in your nutrition. And a general rule of thumb is sticking to whole foods versus processed products. But the real key is balance and listening to your body.
Craving dessert? Have some! Hungry at 3 pm? Grab a snack! Feeling full only halfway through dinner. Feel free to stop!
When we deprive ourselves of the foods we crave or we teach ourselves to ignore what our bodies are telling us, we’re more likely to eventually cave, binging on candy or bread.
Balance in your nutrition and intuitive eating helps us avoid falling into a vicious cycle of binging and deprivation.
How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food
First of all, accepting that we’re all human is a good starting point toward building a healthy relationship with food.
Eating is emotional. We do have cravings and we do have a social connection with the food we eat. Avoiding these facts are counterproductive.
The better approach is to accept these facts and work with them, not against them. When you deprive yourself of all sweets, you will eventually cave. The difference is how much pressure you put on it.
For example, if you have the brownie as soon as you crave it, right then and there, one piece is likely to be enough. But if you’ve been depriving yourself for weeks, chances are you’ll eat the whole pan, setting yourself back a lot more.
The idea is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can still be a healthy eater and have a slice of your nephew’s birthday pizza. It’s not one or the other!
How do you practice balance in your nutrition?