By Kim Guenther
March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.”
How appropriate that message is for those struggling with eating issues.
I feel this motto is more appropriate today than ever before as I learned during National Eating Disorder Awareness week and the NEDA website that:
●An estimated 30 million men and women in the United States suffer from a clinically diagnosed eating disorder.
●The rate of newly diagnosed eating disorder cases has increased yearly since 1950.
Having been in the eating disorder field for 17 years, this still just blows me away. Yet it keeps me focused on the goal of reaching out to all and demystifying all the nutrition information we receive on a daily basis.
So what does “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day look like? How does this translate into your dietary practices?
Often times we get caught up in what a blogger, book, website or infomercial tells us is a healthy diet.
This should be a red flag because we cannot depend on external sources to tell us exactly what our body needs.
Bodies respond differently to different foods; the body’s ability to breakdown and absorb nutrients is different.
Did you know that if a certain food sounds good to you that that could be your body telling you that there is something in that food that your body needs or is lacking?
The answer to what a healthy diet looks like is actually the second part of the slogan- Your Way!
Healthy eating is defined differently by each person based on the foods that we love, lifestyle, traditions, and health needs.
Some of us have tastes for sour or salty foods, others love their sweets or foods that crunch. Our individual tastes and preferences are an important part of the foundation of a healthy diet.
Experiment with different foods to find new favorites!
Remember you’re never too old to discover new foods as our taste buds change about every seven years! So don’t limit your diet to what you think you like, get out there and do some taste testing – you may surprise yourself.
Lifestyle also plays a factor in defining a healthy diet. You may have a job that has you on the road a lot and so your meals will look differently than that of a stay at home mother who has her own garden.
Someone who is working on improving fitness or someone who is building health back up after an illness, are also situations in which lifestyle affect dietary intake.
Lifestyles change over time and can even change drastically from one month to the next. Honoring our bodies by matching our food choices with our lifestyle creates an overall healthy person. What changes could you make today that could better your health in this manner?
Our ethnic background and/or traditions also play into our individual eating patterns and food choices.
A Mexican fiesta is going to have different foods than that of a Jewish wedding. Embrace those differences and find joy in your specific ethnic foods and when the opportunity presents itself partake in dietary ethnic diversity. What a great way to spice up your intake and exercise your palate of tastes.
And the final part of the slogan- Every Day; consistency in our eating patterns is the best way to communicate with the body.
In order for the mind and body to work in synergy there needs to be trust. Trust that when the body sends a signal of hunger that the mind works to make eating a priority. This is the cornerstone of true health. Examine your eating patterns; do you see your responses to your body as honoring and creating trust?
Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day slogan hits on all the major points when defining what a healthy relationship with food should look like. I encourage you to use this phrase to keep centered by what sometimes can be chaotic and convoluted by eating disorder issues. Keeping things simple sometimes is the easiest road to take.