Sunday, April 23, 2017

I'm not trying not to be supportive

I am a natural-born skeptic.
The older I get, the more skeptical I become.
Whether you believe humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years or three thousand years, I suspect that if there was a simple answer to things, we would have already figured them out.

As Trump has discovered about health care and North Korea/China---it's all complicated.

Ultimately, I think people have to do what is right for them regardless of what I think.

But sometimes I find it difficult to support them in the things they do because I inherently disagree.

Like diets.

I do not "diet."

The word connotes a temporary, strict way of eating that in many cases cannot (and possibly should not) be applied to one's entire life.

I don't care what the "diet" is, but I am always suspect of diets that eliminate certain types of food unless there is a diagnosed medical condition under the guidance of a physician that makes such elimination necessary.

A diet that cuts out whole grains is suspect.
A diet that cuts out nuts is suspect.
A diet that cuts out legumes is suspect.
A diet that cuts out potatoes and carrots is suspect.
A diet that urges you to eat loads of one particular food group is suspect. The all-kale diet is a bad idea, even if kale is a superfood.

Diets often make us feel that foods are either good or bad, and mixing emotions and judgment with food choices is often a very dicey mix.

I am also not a proponent of out-and-out denial because that backfires, and I know this from experience.

When I was pregnant with N and developed gestational diabetes, I was put on a strict diet and I followed it to the letter.  I weighed my food. I did not eat anything with sugar, including cake at my own freakin' baby shower.  I walked 45 minutes every night on the treadmill from week 28-41.

Between my 28th week of pregnancy and my 41st, I lost 7 pounds of the 18 I had gained.  I should have been allowed to gain 20-25 lbs, but I only had 11 extra pounds of weight on me when I delivered.  N weighed 7.5.

My strict adherence to their "DO NOT EAT SUGAR" dictate resulted in me gorging on sweets for a very long time after delivery.  I stuffed so much sugar into my mouth it was ridiculous, and I don't see how that was healthy.

So what I learned from this experience is that for me, being an obsessive person, following a diet that restricts my food choices is a bad idea.  I really need to strive for a balance. Eat as much fruit, vegetables, healthful meat, whole grains, legumes and nuts as possible but don't freak out if I want a handful of chips.

I had a very poor experience with a "diet" and so it makes it difficult (if not impossible) for me to get on-board with friends and family who adopt "diets," especially if those diets are super strict or restrict certain food groups.

I support my friends and family in their efforts to be healthy, to reduce eating out, to exercise more, to eat as much whole foods as possible and cut back on processed foods.

But if your diet begins to rule your life or make you a little bonkers about food, then it probably isn't sustainable to your life and your mental health.

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