Choosing the right diet for you can be a big challenge. There is a lot of pressure out there to find the “perfect” diet. From vegetarian, to vegan, to paleo, to high carb, to low carb… how do you know which way to go? It’s easy to fall in to the trap of identifying with a protocol and losing sight of your own needs. And sometimes we become so committed to a thought that we don’t even realize we no longer benefit from that ideology.
I was asked recently by a friend if I thought there was one perfect diet out there. My friend is a beautiful young mom who has dedicated herself to raising her young family in the healthiest way possible. Frustrated by the forward-backward progress she was experiencing, she just wanted to know that she was going to feel better, that her kids would feel better, that things would just be … better.
I completely understand. I have been right there, in that moment too. I want there to be an answer to what we need, too. And there is an answer, it’s just not an easy one. And it is different for everyone. Though I attribute adopting a paleo lifestyle to much of my healing, I have changed my dietary approach over the last few years. I found that the basic concept of Paleo eating fits me very well, but I needed a few extra foods in my diet to keep me at my best. There are also several Paleo items that just don’t work for me.
It’s easy to be frustrated that one person has absolute success with one way of living, yet when you try that approach it doesn’t work for you. But you shouldn’t give up. You should just cross that option off the list, and know that you are one step closer to finding what does work for you! And now is the time to pay attention closely. Check in with how you feel when you eat certain foods. If you felt pretty good, but maybe you weren’t meeting other health goals, perhaps this diet would work better for you with a few small changes. If you lost weight like you wanted but you didn’t feel better physically like you had hoped, maybe there are other underlying things to be addressed. The thing is, only you know how you truly feel. No one knows you (and your needs) better than you.
Diet is just one component. So many factors play in to our wellness. Genetics, lifestyle behaviors, environment, exercise and physical activity, current health concerns,… all of these can have a role in our health success. And it is important to recognize that our needs will continue to change over time. What worked for you yesterday may not work for you in a month or two. That’s ok! Think of this as an opportunity to really get in touch with your body. When you are really listening, it will tell you. You will know in how you feel when you wake up, throughout the day, or during a stressful situation. How does your skin look? You hair and nails? How are you sleeping? And when you start thinking about this, you will start to answer the question about what is and what is not right for you. Remember, you are the best expert on you.