I saw a post on social media that read, “If you’re wondering if you’re *allowed* to eat a full banana then you’re on the wrong diet.” This particular post caught my attention because I had just been realizing how many smoothie recipes and meal guided plans include a half banana. I was struck with a little surprise by this because who eats the other half? How do you save it from getting all brown and nasty before you are allowed to eat the other half? Seriously, what’s wrong with bananas anyway?
I love bananas. When I was low carb dieting I still ate them to help with leg cramps and because I love them. It was my “splurge” in the low sugar eating method I used at the time. There are reasons we may refrain from eating certain foods for a short time, like bananas, but I have to wonder why we would ever want to stop enjoying real foods; too many of us don’t eat enough of them as it is. As we are retraining our mind and body to see food differently why would we not enjoy the full banana?
There is a fundamental error I believe in our diet culture. Namely that it is supposed to be restrictive, inflexible and good for you at the same time. We must however endure being hungry, unsatisfied and manhandle our cravings with pure willpower to show we are worthy. I call bs on all this namely because I believe this is the top reason most of us fail at our diets. Then we feel like failures walking around beating ourselves up over it and soothing it over with a Krispy Kreme donut. Getting fit and losing weight have become a societal version of winning the lotto that only a few can actually ever achieve in their life.
I choose differently. I choose to not let the goal of losing weight or getting stronger be some far fetched dream driven by half eaten bananas and impossible amounts of burpees to try to do in my workouts. I’m quite frankly tired of feeling like a failure in accomplishing these goals and realize that is the result of measuring myself against someone else’s standards for how it gets done. The truth is it isn’t natural and it isn’t working for me or you most likely. So what do we do about it?
As I have journeyed deeper into what it means to live naturally I find too there are traps of these crazy ways of thinking people should lose weight and get fit. Some of that is simply carryover from mainstream thinking and marketing. Oh yes don’t be fooled, clever marketing has imbedded itself on the natural living landscape because they know people are gravitating there to find real solutions. We have to look past those gimmicks and get at the real stuff for figuring this out. Unfortunately, it is a buyer beware situation even here where it is colorful, fresh, feels good and has people doing yoga in cute outfits out in the park.
When you are really interested in finding a better way to eat it starts with what you already know. We have to first change how we think about food including where it comes from literally in the store, how it is made and what’s in it. This is about rebuilding our connection with natural foods. This is where we get a fresh start in finding things we like and that taste good to us while being natural. Really natural not just claiming to be simple ingredients because that’s where the clever marketing gets you again. We have to be curious about what things taste like and explore our grocery stores with renewed interest in every aisle.
Filling our cart with good ingredients then leads to the next step of actually figuring out how to cook, chop, season, saute and bake. It is using what you bought and loving the process of turning those ingredients into meals that are going to sustain you throughout your day. They are fuel and they bring energy, vibrancy, clear thinking, motivation and encouragement with every bite. There should not be a limit or restriction on things that make us feel that way. If you want more of it, eat it! If you’re still hungry after your salad, make another or have a protein! There is absolutely no reason any of us should be hungry and miserable on this journey. If we are then we are likely to not keep up with it.
I loved low carb and had lost a lot of weight at one point on it. I thought it was sustainable and for many years is was for me. Then life happened. We lost a baby, my job was going to shit and I was in grief. I packed on pounds with no way to stop because years followed with more bad jobs, more trauma, more drama and more of what I couldn’t control. I tried along the way to get back to low carb living but never found my momentum. Maybe it wasn’t going to work for me anymore. When that thought occurred to me I knew I had fallen into the diet culture thinking that I was what was wrong and reason I was not succeeding. It was me.
The truth is it is not you but rather it is about you. Losing weight is more than just losing weight. It is about getting your life together in all areas and finding the grace to deal with it when it isn’t in balance. Dieting is simply what we eat. It is being good to ourselves with foods that feed our body and mind. Sometimes those foods even comfort us and that’s alright too. When we choose to build our strength and change what comfort foods mean to us the relationship with food also changes. It becomes more controllable by us and we drive what that feels like not a prepared diet plan with half bananas left on our counter to turn brown.
Dialing in our nutrition and loving the effects it has on our body and mind is where dieting culture thinking fails us all. The focus is more than losing weight per the scale but rather how it leaves us feeling. Are you energetic? Did we sleep well? Are we regular in the bathroom? Did we eat enough and are we full? Knowing if we are really hunger and understanding those cravings also gets easier when we listen to our body. This all ties together and it is all the effects of eating in a way that serves us well.
I started by finding real food that satisfied me, tasted good and helped me with cravings. In many ways it was still low carb too which made me happy. However, I made room for exploring other things that also gave me freedom rather than restrictions. I made my own rules on this because I was not going to be hungry on a diet any longer. It was no longer serving me to work that way because I knew it would end in me not succeeding so I changed how I did it. There was room for me to have an ice cream and not want to wallow in guilt for failing that day. There would be no failing on this journey, that was a rule I wrote down.
Cleaning up our grocery cart is still a work in progress but it is improving. There are packages of coconut flour and hemp seeds alongside cereal and applesauce our son loves. There are weekends making our own granola bars and snacks too filled with raisins, peanut butter, oats and even mini M&Ms. We’re making food fun just like it has always been but only the ingredients are different. They are more natural and we’re honest about how they taste. If we don’t like it we find something else.
I have also been using the doTERRA Nutritional products and have been very impressed with how well they taste. With 100% all natural ingredients they are a wonderful filling way to start my day. I make mine using 1 scoop of Plant Protein, 1 scoop Fiber and 1 scoop Greens together with 8 ounces of Oat Milk and top the rest with some crushed ice. I also if I’m still hungry have a whole banana. This has been a good foundation for me to start my day because I’m finding I’m not hungry on schedule like I used to be and when I eat I want something nutritious like scrambled eggs or soup for lunch. Building nutrition into our day has been easier for me when I start out strong this way.
Eat my friend. Enjoy what you eat. Stop letting people tell you whole bananas are bad! That’s bananas! Get to know yourself and let it be a journey you look at with fresh eyes for what is meaningful in your life. Make the rule that there is no failing this time because it is not a win-lose game. It is about you and how you feel every day while finding ways to make that the best day you can where you are. Losing weight, getting fit is a journey that is deeply personal so why not make it entirely custom for you?
Eat the whole banana too.
Leave comments about your strategies for finding your way out of the diet culture and on your own path to feeling fit!
For information about the doTERRA Nutritional products I’m using to help me, check them out here: https://doterra.me/pNgDu59d