Say Yes to the Diet?

We are in the thick of the “–ember” months, my favorite time of year (my birthday today certainly helps!). And like fire embers, we are burning a beautiful glow before winter’s darkness envelops us. On a personal note, I felt that glow when I found my wedding dress while home in Pittsburgh.  I wasn’t “Say Yes to the Dress” (SYTD) hyper-ventilating, but I felt a very contented, “This is it”.

Before finally settling on a dress, I had found a couple of maybe’s. None of the dresses, even the one I finally chose, made me light-headed or demanded that my Mom sell her kidney on E-bay so we could afford the dress. I called already-married friends and inquired of them, “Did you have some sort of out-of-body experience when you found your dress?” No one had. Somewhat embarrassed, I realized I had mistaken TV for real life.

Cream-puff-dress-xl-78924472

I tell this story because it parallels the on-going debate about what we should be eating. With today’s A-list “super foods” becoming tomorrow’s “D-listers” and with nutrition consultants providing contradicting information, how do you know what you should be eating to feel that radiant, “this-is-it” glow?

I often ask my clients, especially the ones who’ve tried lots of diets and read hundreds of books, articles and web-sites on nutrition, “How do you know what you know about nutrition?”. I get a variety of intelligent answers. From mayoclinic.com to the Hip-chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics, my clients are savvy. The one diet they’ve usually never tried is the “how-does-this-work-for-me?”

As nature has us turning more inward with the coming winter, it’s also your turn to reflect. I have a “Say-Yes-to-the-Diet” challenge for you:

For one week, don’t read any nutrition information.  Take existing thoughts you have about food, delve within, and think about how you are being affected by various foods.  For example, today coffee is touted as great for preventing Alzheimer’s disease, but in November, for National Diabetes month, it may be considered not so good. As you toss around these ideas, you might experiment with yourself.  Try having coffee one day.  Replace with green tea one day.  Is there any change in your body?  Do you get a 10 a.m. slump with either? Did the effect on your blood sugar from the caffeine have the M&M dish taunting you at 3 p.m.?  How did you sleep that night?  Notice your body-feedback, if any, from small changes like these.

Continue to repeat this for any nutrition advice and/or habit about which you are curious, including mine.

Is breakfast really that important?  Experiment and see (note: make sure you are eating real food and not cereal when you try this).  Start to find out.  Is this the “diet-for-me” or even “super-food” for me?

Once you experiment with the rules and the advice, you’ll have an idea of what is working and what isn’t.  At times, we ask for advice about nutrition but don’t follow it, because it didn’t come from within.  However, once we internalize how our body reacts the muscle memory of feeling fabulous keeps us steaming our greens and scheduling our time for farmers’ markets.

It’s a contentment, a wisdom that says, “This is it.” Just like knowing when you’ve found your wedding dress. With or without the fireworks, the point is that it speaks to you.

To a stunning fall.

Image via Delish.com