The other day I opened my Instagram and as soon as I started scrolling down, I saw: “Don’t forget, our 30 days challenge starts tomorrow”, “5 more days to sign up for a special nutrition challenge”, “the diet of your life starts today”. Ugh, I’m sick of it… I guess the only positive thing about this, is that it helped me considerably reduce my time on social media (thank you challengers!).
Food is easy people! “Eat real food, not too much of it and mostly plant based” BOOM! That’s it!
Making it complicated helps “influencers” bring in moneyyyyy! That’s why everyone makes you believe that it’s so hard to eat healthy and that you need a “special diet” => it pays the bills! There is enough lies out there; by the government, the food industry, etc, to listen to other lies about what you should and shouldn’t do. “How to confuse people about their health” is the 21st century new fashion!
Remember: Food can be as simple, or as complicated as you want it to be. Stick with the basics, and if you don’t know what basics are, ask yourself this question: “Did Mother Nature, God, ( or whatever you believe in) make this, or did humans make it?” Society has done wonders in technology but in term of food, they’re pretty much serial killers (next true crime podcast?). In case the answer wasn’t obvious to you: go with Mother Nature!
One of the biggest lies in history is diet. Read this again die-t… Diets don’t work (so glad this is internet and no one can actually physically punch me). Diets just send you to an early grave. Find a sustainable way of eating that works for you. A way of eating where you never have to say “it’s starts on Monday”, one that makes you feel good, strong, 10 years younger, and especially that you enjoy!
Find a way of eating that is so nutrient dense that when you see crappy food your body and mind automatically rejects it. And if you’re not there yet, that’s fine, it’s not a race, it’s about the journey! Keep in mind that consistency compounds!
As good and well intended a challenge might be, everybody is different! Literally every body is different. Read this again! What works for me might not work for you, might work for your friends but not your mom or for your kids! If you are going to do any “Nutrition Challenge” or “diets” out there, you have to acknowledge that it may not work as you’d like!
Let’s illustrate this by getting a bit more personal:
· How old are you?
· Are you a guy or girl?
· Are you physically active?
· What’s your blood type?
· If you’re a girl, how’s your menstrual cycle?
· How well do you sleep at night?
· How tired do you feel waking up?
· How energized/tired do you feel during the day? What time?
· How active are you?
· How often do you go to the bathroom (the more details the better, I like it gross)
· Do you have cravings? If yes, what kind?
· How many pairs of shoes do you have? (what?! I’m wondering if I’m average!)
· What’s your number? (okay I’ll stop! ;-))
Okay now… Find someone who has the exact same answers!
And if you can find someone with all the same answers, then I’m afraid you’re a pretty liar liar pants on fire. But you get what I mean… No one is the same.
However, everyone would agree that the foundations of a healthy lifestyle are the same for anyone:
1. “Don’t eat processed food” (have I said this enough already?),
2. Mostly plan based (well there are actually a lot of debates on that, but that’s a subject for another day),
3. Drink more water,
4. Move your body (twerking is good too if you’re into that), and
5. Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
From those basics, you can take it to the next step based on your body’s individual preferences: some people will benefit from mostly healthy fats, others will thrive on healthy carbs while a vegan diet may work miracles on other ones. Keto, paleo, vegan, you name it! All of those diets you see out there will have pros and cons, but it’s all about how your body react to it. All the components that make you YOU, are to be taken into account.
Now, for my badass girls out there, here is a little insiders fact tip: all diets are studied on men! Why? They don’t have a menstrual cycle like we do! Easy peasy, they are “the same” 24/7, we are not, and we need to take this into consideration when choosing the best food plan.
Best example of this is intermittent fasting. It’s a recent trend that a lot of people seems to be adapting which is awesome because it’s a great method (before everyone yells… Yes, agreed, intermittent fasting is not recent, the trend is!). Science has discovered many of the benefits, from improving cognitive function, autophagy, lowering cortisol, improving insulin sensitivity, getting into ketosis, Alzheimer prevention, beneficial for the gut bacteria therefore improving the immune system… ect, it is great! There is no denying that. But hey girls, did you know that if you are doing intermittent fasting during your luteal phase (the phase after ovulation), you will actually reverse the effect and store more fat? Oops… Not cool! First of all we have be careful not to wear white during Red Week but on top of it, we can’t even take that cool challenge we saw on Instagram without feeling miserable (girls’ power my ass!).
And this is just an example among thousands of them.
The bottom line is, whenever you are about to sign up for a challenge, make sure the coach is ready to answer your questions, make sure there is an “after challenge”. Do they provide you with the tools you need once the challenge is over? If the coach cannot answer your questions, do your researches, read a book, listen to a Podcast, ask Google (check the source!). Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of amazing health coaches out there, but there are also many “wanna be” without any background and/or training in nutrition and you have to make the right choice. It’s easy to have a pretty Instagram page! Pretty sure my 18 years old cousin with no knowledge whatsoever in nutrition would make a fortune as a “wanna be health coach”. (Why in the world are some of us studying?).
Last words on challenges: Is the challenge sustainable or are you counting the days? If you are counting the days, stop right now! You’re wasting your time! I can’t count how many times I heard people doing whatever type of challenges, counting the days until their next scheduled night of “let’s get wasted” (Geez, if you want a glass of wine take it already!). Don’t start something you’re only looking forward to finish. If you are wired like 99% of the people, a challenge means big effort, it’s hard, it’s temporary, and you’re happy when it’s over. Is it the way you want to live your life, and your relationship with food? I would hope not.
To sum up, the key word you want to look for is
CHALLENGE -> Experiment! If you want to try some different ways of eating, go for it! See how you feel. If you feel great, keep going! If not try something else. Your best way of eating may be a little bit of different trends, take the best of them, mix it up! Or it might be strict keto, only you will know, it’s your body! And when you feel like you’ve found what makes you feel like Wonder Woman and Iron Man, don’t put a label on it! Your needs might change down the road, keep on adapting!
Don’t stress out too much about food, we wouldn’t have evolved so far if we didn’t know how to listen to our bodies. If your great great great grandma could, you can too!
I’d be happy to keep the conversation going with any comments, questions or feedback.
Bisous, bye bye!