Balance. Another term related to nutrition that's been hijjacked by diet culture. What does balance mean to you? Is it a feeling? A vision of yourself? About what you can do? Diet culture has us positioning balance when it comes to the way we eat as another rule i.e. 80/20.
So what is a balanced diet?
I invite you to consider the individual aspects of your life that need to be factored into this idea of balance. Because a balanced diet that does not consider these individual aspects is inadequate. Aspects such as culture, moral and ethical beliefs, religious beliefs, hobbies, access, budget, knowledge, time, family considerations, medical conditions, preferences.
There is no one way to eat for every human. No best diet. No headline so important to change your eating habits. No need to compare ourselves to others. And whilst food is largely socio-political, eating has been made complicated, largely burdening us as the individual and adversely impacting our relationship to food. Consider all of these forces at play in your world.
Put another way, we do not need to restrict or remove anything "just because."
In terms of where nutrition science is at on this topic, the inclusion of all foods can support a balanced diet. Put another way, we do not need to restrict or remove anything "just because." It's also important that we look to our dietary pattern and therefore what we eat most of the time rather than meals in isolation. When it comes to a balanced diet, it's also important to consider that our relationship to food matters. So if eating a particular way is stressing you out, it's not balanced.
How do you get to balance?
- Define what version of balance you’re seeking and what that means to you
- Ongoing rejection of diet culture and recovery from it
- If you’re straight off a diet, considering your nutrition specifics may be harmful. Do you have support? Can you give yourself compassion?
- Ongoing practice and discovery - each time we eat is an opportunity to learn something
- Questions to consider for yourself if you're ready to explore:
- How does that food feel in my body?
- Do I feel satisfied?
- Is this another rule?
- Do I like this food or do I think I should like it?
- What happens when I eat this, like this and at this time?
- Can I sustain this inclusion in my life?
Over time and with curious discovery, body trust is built, and empowerment in food choices that honour your various needs as a complex human are the result. Acknowledge the time and patience required on this journey. Seek support. Know that it is there from professionals like myself who care for your whole health and want to support your own valid version of balance.
To learn about working with me, head here.
For more, listen to this episode of my podcast that I recorded with Shana Spence, RD.