Paralyzed by Food Rules? Read on...

I don’t know about you… but I’m a little overwhelmed with all the movements. It feels like even though as a culture we are moving farther and farther away from fad diets, we are still finding something else to replace them with.

Lose weight! No wait, Love Your Body! No wait, Heal Your Gut! Eat Whatever You Want! Except Gluten! Or Dairy! Or Meat! Unless it’s Grass Fed! Even a professional BS-sifter like myself gets overwhelmed by the amount of information out there.  

But now, in the midst of a new project (that I can’t wait to share with you) I’ve been challenged to take a closer look at the gray, which can be extremely challenging in our black and white extremist culture.

This gray area… it’s more still. Less knee-jerk. A little uncomfortable, but at the same time, familiar. Like, nostalgic. Maybe this is how that whole eating thing worked before we had a world of nutrition knowledge and a diet dictionary at our fingertips? Before there were food rules that we had to abide by.

A few months ago I was at a wedding. I was talking to a couple about the things you talk about when you first meet people. Where you’re from and what you do. Naturally, the fact that I’m a dietitian came up in the conversation, followed by a series of questions that begged “What is the truth? How should I eat?!” Before I could even open my mouth, another guest came over to the table as he overheard the question.

“I’m 40 years old and in the best shape of my life. I switch up my workouts every 90 days because… muscle confusion. And I graze. That’s the key… Grazing. Eat constantly throughout the day to lose weight and keep your metabolism rev’d up.”

I caught myself holding my breath, as the girl I was talking to glanced over and gave me a wink. Even she wasn’t buying it. Now I’m not saying what he said isn’t true. It’s very possible that switching up his workouts and grazing and yada yada work very well for him. But it might not be true for you.  

The black and white feeds our ego’s desire for concrete facts. Our ego’s desire to check a box in order to create the illusion of identity. To latch onto something that works so we never have to feel our way through anything ever again. Want to see this in action? Look at any Instagram profile and the description under the username. You can start with mine.

Registered Dietitian + Personal Trainer.

Mother. Wife. Dog Lover. Cross Fitter. Vegan.

Writer. Activist. Photographer.

Foodie. Lover of Cooking. Nature Junkie.

Identity. Identity. Identity. Identity.

We are all children with an identity crisis.

Our ego perceives this black and white as stability. We hold on tight in an effort to anchor at one end of the vast black and white ocean because if we let go, we have to swim. We have to navigate the choppy gray waters of what it’s like to be a human with ever evolving needs and wants. But if you stop for a second and float, you notice that there is so much more depth in the gray. The the deeper you go, the harder it is to hear the white noise of society “shoulding” you to the shore.

If the black and white challenges our ego, the gray challenges our intuition. Our body and mind work in sync and together, decide when we need to work like hell to swim to shore and anchor, and when we need to let go and float. And maybe the answer isn’t always the same. Which is more interesting. More nuanced. But also, more uncomfortable.

I’m not suggesting to reject the black and white.There’s space for that. I’m suggesting to find your own way there. And most importantly, don’t get stuck. Don’t be afraid to let go, swim, float, go deep. Be open to the possibility that you’re still learning and growing.

Right now this is just food for thought. But if it sparks your interest, and you want some specific tools to find your way through the gray, make sure to sign up for email updates. This fall I'll be hosting a podcast series about tapping into your intuition (especially when it comes to eating) and I can't wait to share it with you. 

In the meantime, share some thoughts in the comments below!