Diet can definitely be a four letter word. Just hearing this word can produce tremendous anxiety for some.
Many people turn to diets to provide some structure to their eating. You don’t have to think about which foods are ok and which are supposed to be avoided because guidelines are generally provided. This can be a positive for those unsure about nutrition or struggling with making healthier decisions. However, there are many downsides to diets.
The biggest problem I’ve seen with diets is that they generally aren’t sustainable. Most diets are so difficult to follow that, despite the benefits, people struggle to maintain that lifestyle of constant restriction. And for those like me with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a diet can create even more food fear. They can limit people in a very negative way. I’ve spoken to so many people that have attempted some sort of “gut healing” diet only to find they have even more issues with food as a result. They tend to become even more afraid of the foods not allowed in the diet, even if those particular food items aren’t triggers for them. Not to mention the issues they face when the short list of approved foods are mostly their trigger foods.
Diets also don’t address the psychological issues we have with food and eating, ask anyone who has tried over and over to diet as a means of losing weight. Diets really don’t address the reasons why we overeat or restrict ourselves.
So many people with IBD will go on a liquid diet for several days in an attempt to calm a flare. And then what? Right back to eating the same things they were eating before. Often the same things causing them inflammation in the first place.
When people hear that I’m in medication-free remission from my Crohn’s disease, the first thing they usually ask is which diet I follow. I don’t follow a diet, I eat for my body. Years ago, while struggling to find things to eat that didn’t feel like they were killing me, I began keeping a food journal. In this journal, I tracked how my body reacted to the foods I ate. Some foods felt worse than others. I eliminated those trigger foods and gradually eating became less and less painful and stressful. Now, I have basically no food restrictions and enjoy trying new foods, especially while traveling.
I recommend food journaling to everyone, not just those suffering from IBD. We all have food sensitivities and would benefit from observing how our bodies react to what has been consumed. If we all figured out the best way to eat for our individual bodies, there would be no need for diets. If you would like to start your own food journal, check out my blog about food journaling.
Learn to eat for your body. If you would like some help and support on your dietary journey, schedule your complimentary life coaching consultation and let’s talk about how you can start improving your health today!
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