One of my biggest takeaways from being a coach is the understanding that changing eating patterns is super HARD for most people!
Many people don't think that it's an easy fix. I mean... why do we struggle for so long with a health or weight issue if it's that easy, right?
To answer that, I would say it's not just about eating "healthy", but rather understanding what nutrients our bodies are (A) lacking (B)needing and (C) reacting poorly too.
I get to speak to many people about their health concerns. Often, folks are looking for a miracle product rather than addressing their nutrition.
Likewise, if the supplements or herbs you are taking are natural and good for you, it's still treating a symptom rather than the core issues.
In my humble opinion, this is because we have become reliant on a system that treats symptoms with a drug rather than doing anything to fix the core issues.
Is it so much to ask to at least have a little of both?
I often find that the people most willing to transform their lifestyles and do the quickest have no other options. For example, people with autoimmune digestive diseases literally can not eat multiple foods without getting sick.
They must learn which foods their bodies are reacting to, or they simply won't be able to function. That is where I started many years ago.
Why do people have such a hard time giving up food?
For starters... what is addiction?
Merriam-Webster defines addiction:
a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence: the state of being addicted.
Looking at your own eating habits, does any of this ring any bells?
Let's look deeper...
Let's say... you rushed out the door in the morning without eating breakfast.
What would you do? Would you spend the next couple of hours stressing over your missed meal, waiting impatiently for lunch while muttering exclamations like, "I'm starving because I missed breakfast!"
Are you really starving?
OR; to the contrary, would you decide that your digestion needed a bit of a break anyway, and it's not a big deal?
Does the thought of fasting seem like just too big of a hill to climb?
Do you sit all day at work and still eat the calories of someone who is physically active all day?
The truth is that some level of intermittent fasting is beneficial for most of the population. It takes the body 12-hours to digest a meal. One of the most enriching perks of fasting and maintaining a small eating window is learning the difference between feelings of real hunger and your body eating up its own toxins and fat.
Many can mistake sensations of digestion for hunger. But allowing your body to digest longer regularly is natural and very therapeutic. Check out this infographic on the incredible benefits intermittent fasting has on the body from healthjade.com.
NOTE: Please make sure that you educate yourself about proper ways to fast. To be done properly fasting requires structure.
The Scarcity Mindset
One could surmise that, at least in part, the food scarcity mindset is a lingering societal fear from a post-depression era.
My own grandmother is an absolute hoarder of pill bottles. She uses them to save garden seeds. I, too, am guilty of washing out food storage bags and keeping every container I buy for storage, which isn't bad perse. You should see my herb cabinet... it's chock-full of old jars and reused containers.
It would seem that many of those that lived in the depression era passed down to future generations their fears and starvation mindsets. Think about some of the common expressions like: "eat everything on your plate, "... "don't go to bed hungry, "... "never miss a meal"... and "don't waste food."
I agree with not wasting food... leftover food can be turned into the next great meal when you put on your creativity crown. :)
Has the rise of the pharmaceutical industry hurt us?
Once upon a time... if you didn’t stay well, you didn’t survive!
At one point, humankind survived entirely off of what was around them in nature. They knew what plants and mushrooms they could eat. All people knew which plants were safe and which weren't, and every culture appointed healers to learn and pass down knowledge of natural nutrition and herbal medicine.
The capacity of which whole food nutrition and botanicals can heal the body is vastly underappreciated and often discredited by our current society and healthcare systems.
If you only ate natural substances already in your environment, your body would, in fact, not be as susceptible to disease—your health hinges on integration and the contemplation of environmental facets, nutrition, genetics, and mindset.
Check out this blog post on the mind-body connection if you want to know more.
Claude Bernard was a physiologist and teacher of Terrain theory in the 1800s. Terrain theory is contrary to the popular germ theory. Terrain theory teaches that the body's terrain is more important than external pathogens and that it's keeping the body at optimal functionality with balanced nutrition and lifestyle that keeps one from acquiring diseases.
Therefore, we only become ill when toxicities or insufficiencies weaken our body's defenses. This theory explains why some people get sick when exposed to pathogens and others don't.
Germ theory was coined by a French chemist named Louis Pasteur at the same time as Mr. Bernard. They were close colleagues.
The theory that microorganisms were the cause of most diseases paved the way for pharmaceuticals and antibiotics.
Antibiotics kill all germs, good and bad, yet, they are still the most popular treatment for a toxic pathogen.
The story goes; Louis admitted his friend Clause Bernard was correct all along while on his death bed and that the body's terrain is accountable for most everything.
This begs the question…
Why are we still using germ theory as a basis for medicine and pharmaceuticals?
Now, ask yourself…
Are your eating habits copacetic to your state of health? And is that a problem for you to change?
Are you doing everything you can to nurture your body when it really needs you to?
Do you think pharmaceutical companies really have your best interest at heart?
If modern medicine leaves nutrition out of the picture, is that a sound practice to accept and give total control of our health too?
Just some food for thought…
5 signs you may be addicted to food
You choose to eat foods primarily based on taste rather than on nutrients.
You eat whether you are hungry or not… just because it is routine.
You choose to take potentially harmful medications rather than eat things that could heal or relieve chronic disease or illness.
You continually eat foods you know are bad for you because you like the way they taste.
You use food as a “reward” for your emotions; happy, sad, and otherwise.
If you think you may have a food addiction, you are definitely not alone. Learning to choose health first is a process, albeit a rewarding one.
Words of Advice For Disordered Eating
There is an excellent book called Brain Over Binge.
In this book, the author Kathryn Hansen details one significant idea.
The oversimplified takeaway from the book is that the subconscious mind picks up any repetitive activity, makes it compulsory, and forms a habit. Therefore, one can use conscious thinking to overcome subconscious patterns and addiction by creating new neuropathways and good habits.
That sounds way more effortless than it is, but the concept is simple and easy to understand.
Brain Over Binge discusses the science at length, and I would highly recommend reading it or downloading it on Audiobook if you think you have a food addiction.
I'm not an affiliate for Ms. Hansen or the book by the way.
I believe we are coming to a day and age where if we don't start taking responsibility for our own lives, we will not truly be living at all.
Letting others have complete control over your health that is not invested in your body may not be the best choice.
Let us build wellness rather than treat disease. 😊