Wednesday, 1 July 2015

progress not perfection...with diet

We are after progress not perfection, do a little bit more each day & that's how we get results & make a difference in our life, in ourselves: Kathy Smith, American fitness icon extraordinaire.

Kathy is talking here about fitness, but what she said applies to all areas of life, & I think that it especially applies to finding & expressing our own uniqueness. And when we start doing little things here & there, via our daily habits, & work out our own effective "systems" we start to create an energy, a momentum, like a "quickening". On some levels things start to speed up, we start to look, feel, be, better than we were. With this momentum, it won't be such a major if we miss a day here & there, because we will have created a progressive system that we can return to without feeling that we can't keep going just because we missed a day, or ate the wrong thing at a meal.

Suppose we are trying to find a way of diet, or eating, that suits us. We will already know lots of things that do & don't suit us, so we can use this knowledge to start the process. For example I have a major tomato allergy, so that means I have to be careful when I eat out. For example, at Subway, (I eat from there 1- 2 x per year), I always request that the food server change their gloves & use clean serving equipment & of course I explain why. And I love potatoes! & spinach! But...they are nightshades, & the next day after eating them, my joints will be stiff & swollen. So I seldom touch them, but sometimes....I consciously do. And strangely I get a bit freaked out around red food (tomato association) but I do sometimes have red lentils...even though I know they don't sit well with me, too acidic.

But, continuing with what suits, & using myself as an example.....I'm not too fond of eating animals. So I seldom do. Fruit, especially dried fruit, doesn't suit me too much, so I don't eat much of it, despite what nutritionists say. And some nuts don't make me feel good. I love pumpkin, beans like haricot beans, milk, porridge, cheeses, eggs, greens, soups. And I get unhappy eating salad when the weather is cold.......so now I have a framework to loosely work on for my own unique dietary needs.

Suppose you want to tweak your own diet so that it's more suited to you? Remember, if we work on progress, not perfection, it would be both a learning & a gradual process. Why not start with a list of what you do & don't like. Then a list of foods which do & don't suit you.

Now try to work out your unique existing dietary tendencies & habits. You might know that you are grumpy in the mornings until you have a coffee, or cup of tea, or food. I know that at 11.30am I will be hungry! And if I don't eat enough of the correct food at that time...I will stay hungry. I also know that if I eat mainly carbs, or even eat too much, at this time, I'll be drowsy within the hour. You also will have tendencies depending on what you do & don't eat or drink, at particular times. You will be hungry at certain times too. One of my sisters, very slim, eats very little during the day because she doesn't feel good eating then, but she eats 1 very healthy meal at night, & sleeps well.....she sleeps well because she sleeps better with a full tummy. You might be just the opposite. Sleeping with a full stomach is uncomfortable to me, but works for her.

Eat real food, at roughly the same times around the clock. Think of variables for difficult times to do with food & hunger & try out different things to see what suits you best. Work out what those times are! If, say, you are starving & a bit woozy at 5.30pm, but you are driving home from work then....have a banana whilst driving or before you leave work, to tide you over, or an apple, or something like a piece of cheese.

Look at other unusual associations you have & do with diet. My tendency is that I always, absolutely always, get seduced by the latest "health food" claims, even though I know that they differ from decade to decade. I can remember that granola (baked muesli) was big once, oatbran, no fat, all those unhealthy no/lo fat pseudo foods that made many people pile on weight, atkins, hi-protein, eat 6x a day...no, wait, eat 2x a day...no, hang on eat....x a day...polyunsaturated oil (like seed oils eg safflower)...no, no, now avoid them, have mono-unsaturated oil, eat Mediterranean, Greek, Japanese, French, eat eggs...for god's sake don't eat eggs, soy foods, no, now soy is bad........the latest 'rules' are endless & constantly changing. Now it's pulverised food made into a liquid. Try whatever new finding appeals & if it doesn't suit you...don't continue. This is about you, being your most unique, it's your own journey. I still love granola, oatbran, & eggs, so I include them all in my diet.

Keep in mind: progress not perfection, a bit at a time, working out what is best for you, within your own life situation. You will find that this will keep the body/mind connection working, & if you don't have that connection, it will emerge as you observe & feel, how your mind, & your body, work with certain foods & drinks. Even better, it will set up a "quickening" in this area. These quickenings give real energy & happiness, they spur us on to keep doing more.

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