This topic is another one prompted by my request for posts you’d like to see on here.
If health and nutrition are of interest to you, then you’ve no doubt been inundated by the 2125457 different diet trends and “advice” from people on Instagram and other social media avenues. It can be hard to know if you should be intermittently fasting, only eating a majority of fat, or any number of the conflicting messages that we see 24/7.
I’ve obviously had my own struggle with these things and I finally reached a point where I realized that I needed to make decisions based on my own values and understanding of my body instead of what other people were telling me. I’m always willing to listen to information and evaluate it, but ultimately it’s about finding what works for me.
To help you try and stay above the water in a sea of information (some good, much bad), here are some questions to ask yourself the next time a trend is advertised to you.
Do they have credentials?
At this point, the only people that I seriously take food and nutrition advice from are those who have gone to school expressly for that purpose. Dietitians, and to some extent nutritionists (there’s a difference), have gone through extensive schooling to be able to provide this type of information. Just like I wouldn’t take medical advice from someone who loves reading medical studies as a hobby, I’m not going to put a lot of weight on what you think I should be eating because you really like doing whatever workout fad is hot and also comes with a “meal plan”.
What is their motivation?
What’s interesting is that many people who appear to be hyper focused on what they eat for each meal or snack can also be disordered themselves. Obviously this is a generalization and absolutely doesn’t apply to everyone, but I’ve followed people who have talked about little else besides self-love and what they eat as snacks only to see them later being hospitalized for eating disorders.
Remember that you don’t know what is going on behind someone’s “highlight reel” and that what they may be doing might not be healthy after all.
Will it work for everyone?
It can be hard to deny the appeal of someone who emphatically promotes one type of eating philosophy as the BEST — especially if you can see improvement in their results. The easiest thing to remember here is that what works for one person may not work for another. Someone with celiac disease who cuts out gluten will obviously have an improved quality of life, but if you don’t have celiac disease, you’re not going to experience the same radical transformation, or any transformation at all.
If it’s someone who has gone from eating an abundance of processed foods to more whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, then that’s a more universal plan that can work for many more people. Most people don’t need super-strict eating regimens, but we can all benefit from more fruits and veggies.
Why do you care?
Are you looking to jump on the bandwagon simply because everyone else is or do you have fitness/health goals that require you change the way that you eat? Often times others can make us feel like we should be doing things differently when there’s really no reason to at all.
If you do have fitness or health goals that require a healthier approach to food, then I can understand how overwhelming the breadth of information can be. My advice would be to consult a professional in the field to ensure that you’re not going to get swept up in the fads of the internet.
You do you
I love experiential learning. I feel that the best way for me to understand something is to try it, so I absolutely understand wanting to try out new fads and products. Over the years, my stomach has given me issues which I’ve tried to narrow down by cutting out gluten, dairy, and sugar, but ultimately what I discovered was that it only seemed to happen when I was running or training more than what my body liked. Once I changed the way I was exercising, many of those issues resolved on their own.
If you want to try out intermittent fasting or ketogenic diets, by all means do. Just don’t do it because someone else tells you to. Listen to your body and pay attention to what it needs. If you try out something new and find yourself chronically tired or always hungry, those may be signs that it doesn’t work for you. I’m all for trying something new, but do it because you’re interested in it and pay attention to the results.
Ultimately, you’re living your life for you. No one else needs to tell you what decisions you need to make and you absolutely shouldn’t let others make you feel negative about living your life the way that makes you happy. Actually, just remember that no one can actually make you feel anything — you’re completely in control over your response to them.
In case you want more reading about my social media opinions (ha), here are a few links that may help you out:
- A Reaction to Food Influences and Getting Back to Center
- Our Responsibility As Influencers
- It’s Your Responsibility
As always, if there’s something you want to see more of on here, let me know in the comments!