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"Nutrition is the hardest part for me."

Countless people have said those exact words. Have you?

We live in a time when we can get any food we want, almost immediately. Our grocery stores are packed with towering shelves and freezers. There are food delivery services. Streets are lined with restaurants and convenience stores. Heck, I live in the city that's been called "the fast food capital" in the USA; we have the most fast food restaurants per capital.

This surplus of easy-access food is a privilege ... but it can also be a burden. This is partly why, for many, nutrition is the hardest part of building a leaner, healthier body. We are constantly surrounded by hyper palatable, easily-accessible, high-calorie foods.

Then there are the problems created by the diet culture. Thanks to savvy marketers, fad diets, and social media, it's no wonder so many people have issues with food. Most diets restrict, or outright condemn, foods or entire food groups (and the reasons are false, except for certain medical conditions). 

Instead of just seeing food we see good and bad foods -- we see foods that will make us fat; foods that will make us burn fat. (Again, all of this is utter nonsense perpetuated by the industry.)

There's no shortage of detailed meal plans, diets, detoxes, and other "tricks" and "hacks" to help you whittle down your waist and shrink your bulges.

Combine these things -- the surplus of food and the ease with which we can get them and the rampant diet culture that doesn't hesitate to use fear to sell their products (Avoid this food group because it causes instant fat gain!) -- and it's no surprise many of us struggle with nutrition.

These two things clash with a bang! and we're sandwiched in the middle of the chaos.
But nutrition doesn't need to be complicated or stressful or the hardest part of a healthy lifestyle.

You can make it easier by ditching the diet mentality and creating a sustainable lifestyle that includes all your favorite foods.

Most people begin a diet or alter their eating choices under the premise of I need to avoid/eat less of certain foods. But that's all wrong. It creates a self-defeating mindset. It puts certain foods on a pedestal. It can lead to disordered eating habits.

Following a rigid diet that uses dichotomous language (having "good" and "bad" foods) has been shown to lead to higher body weight, negative self-image, and disordered eating habits. Sadly, following these unsustainable diets is a common mistake made by many because they received incorrect information.

What Should You Do to Simplify Nutrition?

Focus on the wide variety of foods you should, and can, eat. Embrace the "more" mentality with food:
  • Eat more filling lean-protein sources
  • Eat more whole foods
  • Eat more high-volume, fiber-rich, lower-calorie foods that keep you satisfied while allowing you to eat a larger quantity of food
  • Make room for your favorite foods and enjoy them guilt free, because no food or food group is "bad" or off limits or solely responsible for fat gain (or fat loss)

Want to lose fat? Ditch the avoidance mentality ("I shouldn't eat that") and think more. Eat MORE high-volume, lower-calorie foods (whole grains, fruits, veggies) and more lean-protein sources (poultry, lean meat, fish, dairy).

(Nia Shanks)

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