I believe that learning to take ownership for the things that we’re at fault for, that we’re wrong about, or that hurt others is a huge part of life. Generally speaking, we have to learn to take ownership for all of our actions.
I certainly don’t like to be wrong, but I know I’ve messed up enough times, and have been hurt enough times, too, to learn the importance of this ownership.
And, at the same time, there are some things that are legitimately NOT our fault, that influence our choices daily.
Although it’s not necessarily fair to have these beliefs and perspectives ingrained into us, many of them are things we have the power to re-learn and do something about.
Let’s talk about a few of those ingrained beliefs, and diet culture byproducts, that influence us, and what we can do about them.
It’s not your fault that you gravitate towards Fat Free items, the 90s taught you that.
Eating fats do not make you fat. Thanks for that misconception, The 90s.
Hopefully this trend doesn’t make a come back like 90s fashion seems to be…
We need fats! Calories from fats should actually make up about 25-40% of our total caloric intake, depending on tastes and goals.
In truth, “Low fat” products are not necessarily better for us. “Low fat” tends to equal “more processed,” and potentially more sugars depending on what foods we’re talking about.
Fats can also be satiating and can keep you fuller longer. So, in opting for low fat options, people may also end up eating more of them because they are less satiated. There are also benefits to ingesting high-quality fats too! Fats provide cushions for organs, cells, and joints.
Yes, lower fat does tend to mean lower calories, but eating fewer calories is not always conducive to meeting your goals.
Generally speaking, we want a relatively balanced mix of fat types, even saturated fats! As you may know, these get a bad name because of their association with raised cholesterol, but we need some cholesterol to live! In reality, a lot of unsaturated fats combined with increased sugars/processed foods is unhealthy.
What you can do about this: Practice including some full fat options, where you may have otherwise opted for their low-fat counterparts, and see how you feel! I imagine you’ll feel fuller longer, and although you may not feel it, you’ll be supporting your joints and cells, too!
It’s not your fault that you feel like you have to finish everything on your plate even if you’re not hungry, the “Clean Plate Club” taught you that.
I grew up in a “Clean Plate Club” house.
I know my parents meant well, and they didn’t want to waste food… understandable!
However, this mindset can stick with us even past those childhood ages. We might find ourselves forcing food into our mouths just because it’s still there, far past the point of feeling hungry for it. This can be tricky because it may lead to overeating of overall calories, stomach discomfort, GI issues, and trouble sleeping!
At the same time, if we think back to where this “clean plate club” messaging came from, we can likely trace it back to some level of food scarcity. Chances are, somewhere along the line, families may have experienced food scarcity and wanted to make sure that everything they served was eaten. Maybe they didn’t know where the next meal was coming from. Generationally speaking, some families may have experienced war-time rations and food shortages. Maybe some couldn’t afford fuller meals. Any number of reasons could be behind it.
There were also legitimate ads that looked like this:
Woah… Talk about a guilt trip…
What you can do about this: Check in with yourself and aim to eat until you feel about 85% full. Remember that you can save food that you don’t eat for future meals or to share with others. Aim to cook/buy just what you need to limit waste. Teach your children to listen to their bellies and eat what feels right for them. Understand that the origin of this sentiment was rooted in love and safety, not trying to harm you in any way! And, of course, forgive those who taught you this way if needed… recognize they meant well and were incidentally perpetuating what they had been taught. You can recognize this reality and re-learn for yourself and for subsequent generations.
It’s not your fault that you feel the need to be smaller, magazine covers, celebrities, and social media taught you that.
Maybe diet culture, in general, taught you that. Regardless, this is a big one. I wonder if there was ever a time period when people didn’t compare themselves to others?! Likely not.
But these days, what other people look like is thrown in our faces and put on pedestals.
I’ve written about this before, but the glorification of losing weight or looking a certain way is just unavoidable… not wonder people continue to try to fit into certain molds or feel like they’ve been on diets for years. Because we’re constantly told that we’re not good enough and it after a certain point, we may start to believe it.
What you can do about this: Although it is my hope that this inundation is starting to shift a little bit, in the meantime we can make sure that what we are working towards is actually important to us and not just some societally influenced trend. Equally, we can work on loving ourselves at all times and throughout the process! If you spend 3-5 minutes writing down things that you LOVE about yourself, no negatives allowed!, I imagine you’ll start to notice more and more of the amazing things about yourself as you’re working towards the goals that really matter to you!
It’s not your fault that you don’t know what your food plan should look like, the endless amounts of conflicting information posted everywhere is confusing you.
Should you fast?!
Should you do Keto?!
The other day, a client I have worked with for over a year sent me a post from the @CarnivoreMD2.0 on Instagram. The post shows him, shirtless, in a supermarket, walking up to someone and telling them the veggies they had in their cart were the worst things they could eat.
This guy preaches an animal-based diet, primarily consisting of “Organs, meat, fruit, honey, raw dairy.”
I have nothing wrong with eating those kinds of foods, but imagine demonizing vegetables and making people question whether they should eat them at all?!
Seriously, no wonder people are confused. For the record, I DO recommend eating significant protein portions, AND fruits and veggies! And I DO NOT recommend listening only to this guy for your nutrition information.
What you can do about this: Question it!
Here are some tips and places you can check to verify or further learn about information you may be seeing or hearing:
Read past the “headline.” This is a big one. People want to grab your attention and can conflate the facts to do so. Keep reading.
Check the sources. Do the articles/posts you’re reading have reputable source material attached to them? If not, keep moving until you find some.
Are there quotes from doctors or other experts? Make sure that before you change your whole life around something you read online that it’s been verified by someone, or ideally multiple sources, that you trust.
Is this being reported elsewhere? Search for other sources to learn more or hear a differing viewpoint. One source is almost always not good enough.
Who is publishing these facts or telling you about them? Understanding the inevitable existence of biases and the fact that people get paid when you click on their things should make you think twice about them.
Are they trying to sell you something? If you read a whole article about how good the Carnivore Diet is for you and then see that they’re trying to sell you the Carnivore Cookbook or beef organs, stop reading.
When in doubt, ask your doctor or a reputable resource.
If you want to check facts for yourself, aim to use sites that publish real studies and/or do not receive funding from anywhere that will sway their biases, like Examine.com, Google Scholar, or PubMed.
It’s not your fault that you suddenly want to be vegan, that Netflix documentary taught you that.
Isn’t it interesting that this point literally defends the EXACT OPPOSITE of the example I used above?! That’s precisely the point.
Understand that there are biases everywhere, and this documentary, and others like it, are looking for ways to convince you of their belief system using information and cases that defend it.
I have nothing against a vegan lifestyle at all. I understand it can be beneficial for some people and also respect the belief system that is behind it. But changing your whole food plan based on one movie?! I don’t believe or recommend that.
What you can do about this: Question it! (See note above on how to do that!)
I imagine we can find endless “not your fault” examples.
What am I getting at with all of this?!
First of all, there is NOTHING WRONG with eating fat free items, with finishing your plate if you’re hungry, with wanting to change your body composition in a healthy manner, with questioning your food plan, or with being vegan.
However, I want us to acknowledge that we’re being thrown information all the time and if we don’t do some digging, look for more actual research, or talk to people who we trust on the subject, then we can constantly be pulled down different rabbit holes and seeing if this next thing is finally the magic pill.
The message here is also NOT that we should let ourselves off the hook for everything that plagues us, but instead empower us to analyze where some of these ingrained beliefs may have come from, and re-learn what we want to move forward with.
Take ownership for your health, your goals, your progress despite all of these underlying influences.
What other things like this are realities in your life?? What were you taught that you want to re-learn?! Tell me in the comments!
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As always, thank you for reading!